Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beer Quest (the conclusion, part 2): Bell's Expedition Stout

So this beer quest nonsense has been going on for nearly a month and I am failing miserably.  Shit is getting desperate.  Yes, drive 45 minutes to Bethlehem for a six pack desperate.  Actually, I was already headed that direction so it was only 10 minutes out of my way.  The place, Abe's, is pretty cool.  Lots of choices.  The guy was whistling and singing Christmas carols the whole time I was there so that prompted thoughts of the movie Gremlins and horrific chimney accidents.  When I asked if they had Bell’s Expedition Stout, the guy basically walked around the store with me and pointed out all the other Bell’s products they had.  Helpful?  Yes.  A picture perfect representation of the failure of this Beer Quest?  Yes, couldn’t have scripted it any better.  Mildly irritating?  An understatement.  Did they have Expedition Stout?  You’re a dick for asking.

Dear Beer Quest:  you suck, I quit.

Instead I got a bomber (beer geek talk for large bottle, like 25 oz. maybe a little more or less) of Rogue Ale’s Double Mocha Porter and Avery Brewing’s Dugana IPA.  The Double Mocha Porter I wrote about before and this bomber just reaffirmed that it is delicious and I love it.  The Dugana IPA I had never had before and it was honestly one of the best Double IPA’s I‘ve ever had.  Nice and hoppy with very clean, dry, and distinct flavors of citrus and pine that were well balanced.  Not a whole lot of sweetness to hide the hops like in Weyerbacher’s Double Simcoe IPA (another favorite of mine) but also not overbearingly hoppy like some double IPA’s I’ve had.  I will be drinking this again - it was awesome.

Now, fast forward to Christmas Eve.  I spent it with Wife’s side of the family and our tradition the past few years has been to pick names for a gift exchange.  They call it “Pollyanna”.  Unfortunately, this year when we picked names I was a bit drunk on the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and was unable to commit to memory who’s name I picked.  And I just so happened to have misplaced the slip of paper with said name written on it.  I won’t go into detail about how I rectified this mishap, but other than the family pictures that we had to take wearing red scarves, things worked out well in the end. 

During the gift exchange, my “Pollyanna” was revealed to be Wife’s Sister.  Wife’s Sister left the room, I think she went outside, and returned with two cold, heavy gift bags.  As I opened one bag I saw a six pack of Green Flash’s Hop Head Red and it was at this moment I realized that perhaps I had quit the beer quest prematurely.  I quickly moved on to bag number two and there it was - a mix and match six pack with 2 Expedition Stouts, 2 Celebration Ales, and 2 Racer 5 IPA’s.  A Christmas miracle - my beer quest was complete.  Thank You, Wife’s Sister.

Obviously, I poured myself a glass.  I was worried that no beer could live up to all the hype I have put into this so I tried to clear my mind and treat it like just another beer.  It poured out of the bottle like an overdue oil change and smelled like the movie Labyrinth, starring David Bowie.  And it was pretty darn good.  Coffee, chocolate, molasses, and hints of fruit blended all together in a beer that went down real smooth, tasting a lot like the song “Oh, You Pretty Things.”  And just like the chorus of that rump shaker, Bell’s Expedition Stout was worth the wait. 

And then things got weird…

Wife and I got home around midnight, so technically it was Christmas morning, to find, oddly enough, two empty bottles of Expedition Stout on our kitchen counter.  I had just woken up from an hour long nap in the car so I had very little understanding of what was happening around me.  I looked in the fridge to see if there were more Expedition Stouts but I saw nothing.  I asked Wife what was happening.  Apparently, Wife’s Friend came over to let out our dog while we were gone and brought two Expedition Stouts and drank them and left them as a monument to my wretched inability to accomplish anything.

Luckily, just as I was about to completely lose my shit, take off my glasses, and smash those two empties together and ram the splintered shards of bottle necks into my sleep boogered eyes, I came out of my nap fog and remembered that I had completed my Beer Quest just a few hours ago and that I had one more bottle of Expedition Stout to drink at my leisure.  So whatever, I thought, a dick move by Wife’s Friend, but I admired it for the way it went for the jugular of my soul on Christmas morning.  No holds barred, steel cage, ladder match, and I liked it.

It wasn’t until I was putting away the beer from Wife’s Sister that I noticed tucked way in the back of the fridge was a six pack of Expedition Stout along with another mix and match six pack that included Bell’s Two Hearted, something from Flying Dog, and some Acme IPA by North Coast Brewing.  Another Christmas miracle! 

And wait, there is more: my younger brother Joe bought me a Bell’s variety case!  Christmas miracle number 3!  I went through the six pack of Bell’s Pale Ale before Christmas was over because it was that good.  Nothing crazy hoppy or imperial or Belgian, it was just a good drinking beer that tasted great - like a fancy Rolling Rock that tasted more like beer than strange water.  This may be my new go to beer whenever I plan on putting in a solid shift of drinking.  It will definitely be the next case I buy. 

Well, obviously I had a very Merry Christmas and I hope you did too.  I could get all sappy here about how all the gifts I got really meant a lot and how I feel like I have some of the best family and friends anyone could ever have and how spending time with them was the best gift of all but it would probably come off as sarcasm or pussy-footed nonsense, so I won’t.  If you want sappy bullshit click here.

Quest Complete. No One Cares. (QCNOC)


  1. Listen bro, I'm going to ignore the fact that I wasn't listed as one of your "fans" and get straight to the point. You're looking at this Beer Quest in a far too negative light. A Quest isn't supposed to be easy- hence the name. (Besides Johnny Quest, who was a slut). In fact, if it doesn't take at least a month, I don't think you can even call it a quest. Keep your head up...mission accomplished! -Broseph

  2. Very good point. And "my three fans" would have sounded better and carried more of Nick at Nite vibe which adds credibility to anything. I feel oddly like the guy from "man vs food" now that the quest is complete. Except he is sweating from the food and I am sweating from the one armed push-up I just did. I get beer muscles. But only in one arm. And it sounds like someone still has a bit of a broken heart from the summer romance at the lake with JQ.

  3. I realy liked the Bells as well,Had one in your kitchen the other day. Have you tried the Stone impireal stoubt? I thought it was awsome. Also very nice use of stiehls blog, I hope you get many more miles out of it.

  4. Haven't had that Stone yet. I'll have to check that out. I'm putting together an all stout post - basically I'm drinking a bunch of different stouts. Hope to have it done by the end of winter.

  5. Expedition is easily one of my top-3 beers and we get loads of it every year. I usually make one or two batches of ice cream with it (half a bottle into the ice cream, the other half into my belly). I'm glad you were able to complete your quest successfully.

    So, what's next?

  6. I'm trying to ration mine out. I only have 4 left. Now that I've had it I will have to find a case. I think the next quest might be something by Russian River. And I haven't had the Ruination IPA ever so I'm going to pick some of that up next time I see it.

  7. Or trying to find more Undercover Shutdown by Lagunitas. That might be my next quest. That one might be impossible though - going to have research that a bit before I commit to it.

  8. this is a great post....whats your blog called again?....."nut on my shirt." ?

    god bless. dainty.

    this may be the beginning of blog wars...

  9. my new years resolution was to not engage in any blog wars. Good party last night. Thanks for having us.