Two beer notes because, like the logo says, this is “a blog about beer.” At least sometimes.

Stone Brewing Old Guardian 2012 will officially be released tomorrow but is being previewed at the Stone World Bistro & Gardens today, so I don’t think I’m jumping the gun here. I am quite fortunate that the brewery sends me a bottle of virtually every beer it releases. Usually these arrive right at the release date but this one came early. As you probably know, they tweak the recipe each year and this time around it was pretty big one, replacing the British hops of recent vintages with American ones.  I have to say that the Chinook, Calypso and good old Cascades provide a really night fresh and sharp flavor and a great flavor profile. It’s 11% but drinks might lighter than that. Well worth seeking out.

The little devil in the right corner there, by the way, is what my father used to call the “family goat” and has to be at least 75 years old. It is one of my most treasured possessions.

On Friday, I hied myself out to Downingtown to check out Victory Brewing’s intriguing Terroir des Tettnangs beers (go read my earlier post of  Richard Ruch’s lengthy treatment of their debut at a beer dinner I could not attend so I don’t have to repeat the whole story–I’ll wait). There’s not much to add to that except that the bar presentation was a bit weak and I now regret more than ever missing the official event. Excellent beers, as you’d expect, much the same in many ways but each with its own characteristics. Like Richard, I was most taken with the two Missenhardt samples using the same hops picked three days apart (I wonder if he or I would have focused on these without that information, though). It was certainly worth the trip and amazingly inexpensive; I bought a growler to take home (Smokin’ Oats) and my total bill was $14.95, meaning the five six-ounce pours cost me either $7 or $8. Wow.

This experiment impressed me a great deal and I’ll be doing a lot with it in print the next time around (April issues) to further the argument that Victory is an exceptional brewery which doesn’t get enough national attention and that this region is still the best beer making and drinking part of the nation.

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