March 28, 2012

Drew’s Brews: Old Rasputin Imperial Stout

Editor’s Note: Somehow, the Spiked Punch HQ was broken in to recently, and the whole staff was taken hostage by a thirsty beer-monger named Drew. He wasn’t looking for money, but did demand I let him write about beer on the site. Beer? I like beer! Really, not such a rough demand. The fact that Drew (Webster) knows a heaping hop-full about the beer, and writes in a way that will make you want to drink more (which is another thing Spiked Punch is all about) made relinkuishing some posts easy. And yes, I said “posts,” as the plan is for him to stop by to talk the beer with some regularity. So c’mon back.

My good friend and drinking companion A.J. Rathbun has decided to allow me a forum to vent my love of my drink of choice. Drew’s Brew will be a blog feature for beer news, drinking locations, beer reviews, and events. It may not be as glamorous or elegant as some of A.J.’s fine cocktails but beer has grown up a lot since the days of mass produced gallons of watered down knock off Pilsners and Lagers drowned this country in bland mediocre beverages.

Homebrew, craft breweries, and micro brews are growing faster than ever and we, the people, benefit. I want this blog to speak to you, for you, and with you, beer lover. Let your voice be heard! Post comments and leave suggestions and responses to the beers we discuss. Beer is truly the drink of the people (Editor’s Note: Drew does not speak for the editor). People love to drink cocktails and wine but unless they are well versed in mixology or have earned their Sommelier accreditation they are hesitant to tell you what they enjoy and why. Beer drinkers will happily tell you what they love to drink and why. Everyone’s opinion is valid in beer tasting, if you don’t believe me just go to Rate Beer where anyone can sign in and rate a store, beer or brewery based on their experience and pallet.

We are so fortunate to have so many great beers at our fingertips in the great Pacific Northwest. Because of this, I will offer up local digs in Seattle, but also (when I’m on the road) other locales, to point you toward bottle stores, breweries, or eateries with great taps. But I also want to hear your voice. And, in true Spiked Punch fashion, I will also include what I am drinking. A.J. turned me on to one of his favs, Hilliard’s, earlier this month but tonight I am in the mood for an “old reliable,” one of my all-time favorites: Old Rasputin. I enjoy this beer so much I stopped by the North Coast Brewery where it’s made in Fort Bragg, California on my road trip back from Big Sur last summer. Tucked in a sleepy coastal town outside Mendacino, this brewery makes some of best beers you have never heard of. Old Rasputin is an Imperial Stout that drinks smooth. It has a roasted malty flavor with hints of chocolate and coffee hidden in the aroma that rises into your nose as you take that first sip, breaking the surface tension that separates the dark black liquid and the tan creamy foam that sits thick on top. There is a great balance between sweet and bitterness in this complex but smooth sipping beer. A must try for anyone who loves a tasty stout on a cold dark night. You can find it at most quality bottle stores—in the Seattle area, for example, you can pick it up at Bottleworks in Wallingford, Beer Junction in West Seattle, or my favorite, Chuck’s on 85th (in the N. Ballard area).

–Drew Webster

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