Saint Valentine's and Beer!

Saint Valentine's Day may conjure up many options and the celebration may go back centuries to a Roman imprisonment. Most of us think of romance -- even if it might be the love of beer.

While there are a number of events and options on February 14, Indy Girl's Pint Out promotes a movie night at Scarlet Lane, McCordsville called "Labyrinth movie night!" A $30 ticket (click here) includes Punch Burger, popcorn, 4 Birds Bakery gift, & 2 pints of beer! Take your camping chair!

We found several early Valentine's gifts this week:
Upland (Bloomington) hosted a joint tasting with Jolly Pumpkin Brewery (of Dexter, MI). Upland and Jolly Pumpkin brewed a collaboration beer which ended up in the bottle as Jolly Pumpkin Persimmon Ship - a nice fruity & sour saison with dragonfruit and persimmon aged in French and American oak - delicious with nice pucker level. The second beer tasted from the two was Permission Slip under the Upland label, a blend of two beers: a blond wild ale aged on persimmon in oak + a lambic aged on dragonfruit in white oak barrels -- delicious and complex with notes of the fruit, but spice and lemon notes along with a slight pucker.

Upland offered two guest beers on tap from Jolly Pumpkin for that night only: the Fuego del Otono (Autumn fire) which is a wonderful complex spicy, caramel notes ale that is oh, so sippable. The other Jolly Pumpkin treat was Smoked Gose, a formerly rare German style brewed with wheat and this one with smoked malt. This was a delectable cross between a light rauch or lightly smoked beer and a slightly spicy yet lactic tart light ale.

Of course if you missed the tasting and just want to stop at an Upland location for a special treat, the Upland Barrel Chested Barleywine starts out with sweet vanilla from the Willet bourbon barrels, moves into caramel fig notes, and for us ends with a dry toasted oak from the barrel. I'd like to find each of these in bottles!

Dogfish Head stopped our way to not only remind us that the 90 is available in Indiana, but to bring some 120 continuously hopped-for-two-hours heavy ale that still is wonderfully balanced between malt and the hops (Sam Calagione talks about the beer here) But for me the "Valentine's Gift," which I had to get another small glass of on Feb. 13, was Raison D'Extra. Yep, I liked the original Raison D'Etra, and this Extra is a big Belgian Yeast ale brewed with lots of raisins and beet sugar increasing total alcohol as a huge winter warmer (small glass recommended).

Flat12 released their Bleeding Heart IPA this week, a big single hop IPA with zest of blood oranges and available only around Valentine's Day as well as Halloween.

Sun King
released the Ring of Dingle - and what better beer for this time of year than a nice, warming dry stout!

So.... wherever you are, check out the brewery or brewpub close to you for the special beer you might only be able to love this time of year.

If you need a Valentine's gift for your beer lover, why not plan a beer weekend on Feb. 20-21 and broaden your beer horizons at Tailspin Alefest in Louisville which not only features Indiana Breweries, such as Flat12, Tin Man, and New Albanian but allows you to sample beers from all over Kentucky as well as North Carolina and further. (TICKETS HERE)

Keep reading with more of Bob's Dribs and Drams (HERE) including news of Flat12's Flat Tuesday this week.

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