Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beer Quest (the conclusion, part 1): Bell's Expedition Stout

December 18th has come and gone.  Yes, I went to Union Jack’s for the 12 Bell’s of Christmas, as I mentioned here.  And yes, the whole purpose of going to this event was to complete my epic beer quest for Bell’s Expedition Stout.  And yes, I threw the menu off the table and buried my head in my hands when the waitress informed me that Expedition Stout was the one keg that they weren’t able to get.  And yes, a very large and heavy Acme safe fell on Wife’s head right after she admonished me with the words “I told you, you should have called.”  And yes, I morphed into Randy Quaid and immediately came up with several conspiracy theories to help me cope with the horrible direction my career, I mean my life, has gone. 

Number 1:  The people at Bell’s read my blog and it filled them with hate so they have been using all their power in the craft beer world to keep this beer as far from my lips as humanly possible.

Number 2:  The people at Union Jack’s read my blog and it filled them with hate so they lied to my face and said they didn’t have a beer that they actually had.  This theory also  explains all the laughing and good times happening around me.

Number 3:  I am a government cyborg in training and this is just a test to see how I handle adversity. 

Number 4:  I am a civilian cyborg suffering from the cyborg equivalent of a venereal disease - half syphilis and half computer virus - and Expedition Stout and this beer quest are merely my way of coping with my ever-loosening grip on sanity.

So they didn’t have it.  I should have known.  Earlier in the week, a Tuesday, I went to the Tap n’ Table under the premise (it was posted on their bullshit Facebook page) that they were tapping Nebraska Brewing Company’s Hop God.  When I got there - no Hop God - just a horribly disappointing meal that I finished with a Southern Tier Oat, an imperial stout made with oatmeal (obviously) that I just didn’t care for.  The sweetness from the oatmeal was just too much, at least I think that was what the strange flavor was from.  Maybe someone with more experience in the oatmeal brew realm could leave a fucking comment so that I might gain some insight.  Either way, whether it was from oatmeal or goat nuts it made me grimace in the same way the Lancaster Milk Stout did (such an unsettling foreign sweetness) and I didn’t even finish it.  Later I found out that they didn’t tap the Hop God until that Friday.  Dickbags.

Anyway, the 12 Bell’s of Christmas at Union Jacks did have some other wonderful brews from Bell’s - my favorite being the Batch 9000 (12.5% ABV).  This was awesome.  Dark like a stout with some real nice roasty tastes to it.  It smelled like a roasted black licorice caramel coffee, if such a thing existed.  I don’t like black licorice but the roasty-ness of it made it smell very appealing.  The taste was similar to the smell, minus the coffee, and finished with the fruity heat of a wine.  This beer made me forget all about my disappointment.

I also tried the Batch 10,000 (9.2% ABV), which is the last of the Batch series from Bell’s.  The description of this beer on the Bell’s Website makes it sound like a hodge-podge of whatever ingredients were laying around and then thrown together - in an artful and deliberate way of course.  And that’s what this beer tasted like.  You could pick out different things in the flavor and feel that reminded you of other beers you’ve had.  It had a nice brown color and what seemed like an easy-drinking feel to it compared to the 9000.  In retrospect, it may have been better to have the 10,000 first and then the 9000 (even though that makes less sense than the movie title “Back to the Future”); I think I would have appreciated it more.  Definitely worth trying if you see it anywhere. 

Basically, everything I tried that evening was pretty dang good, with the exception of the porter - just kind of watery and bland - but even that I would give another try because it is Bell’s and Bell’s makes really good beer.  Smoke that, pipe face.


  1. Man, this is killing me. We get tons of Expedition here in Missouri. I feel for you, man. Of course, you had the 9000. Believe it or not, it will give you some idea of what the Expedition is like. The molasses comes through, but the 9000 is way bigger, sweeter.

  2. Not to give away part 2 of the beer quest conclusion, but you are right - it is like a milder version of the 9000. Good call. The conclusion of the conclusion should be up in a day or 2. Love your blog by the way.

  3. Ditto, man. I'll have to find some reasons to link back here.