Beer, Beer, & Better Beer

Unicorns, continued -- Check out these amazing beers at HopCat Lexington's Wood & Wild fest
Ciaran Fitzpatrick, HopCat Lexington Beer Program Manager | October 16, 2017
Wood & Wild, Barrel-Aged

As we continue the countdown to our Wood & Wild Festival -- taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location -- we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat Lexington's Ciaran Fitzpatrick suggests a few "unicorns" (beers so epic and legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at Lexington's W&W event:

Two beers that jump out to me from our lineup are Brasserie Saint Germain’s Armagnac Barrel Aged Barleywine and Cognac Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Armagnac and Cognac barrels for these big beers will be fantastic! Plus, central Kentucky doesn’t get much beer from northern France.

I love Sour Red Ales so I’m super excited for Country Boy’s Living Proof Series: Balaton Cherry Wild and The Bruery’s Oude Tart. Both breweries run such awesome sour programs, they never disappoint!

One more can't-miss beer: Saugatuck Brewing Company's Café Brown, a bourbon barrel aged American brown ale with coffee and vanilla. Are you kidding me? Sounds like Saugatuck came up with a killer!

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Unicorns Pt. 2 - Epic beers not to miss at the HopCat Indianapolis Wood & Wild Fest
Eric Duvall, Beer Program Manager for HopCat Broad Ripple | October 13, 2017
Wood & Wild, Barrels

We're counting down the days, hours and minutes until the Wood & Wild Festival, taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location. In anticipation, we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat Broad Ripple's Eric Duvall recommends a few "unicorns" (beers so legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at the Broad Ripple (Indianapolis) event:

Round Town - BBA Round Town Lager

Why I'm excited about it: First barrel aged beer available from Round Town and it's their flagship. Widely consumed style so I think this is the perfect entry level beer for someone looking to explore barrel aging. I specifically came to them and asked if they'd be doing a barrel aged variant of their lager because I thought it was such a great fit.

Avery - Nuttiest Professor

Why I'm excited about it: I love stouts and I love peanut butter. Besides the obvious bourbon from barrel aging, I'm sure the chocolate and coffee malt flavor will pair amazingly with peanut butter.

Central State - A Well Forged Sword

Why I'm excited about it: Farmhouse stout with orange. Central State are the premier funky brewery in Indiana. Focusing on brett, and using it in styles you don't expect. Lots of heat due to high ABV, little bit of brett funk, and orange flavor grows on the back end to finish this beer.

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Unicorn beers to try at HopCat Madison's Wood & Wild festival
Kyle Montgomery, HopCat Madison Beer Manager | October 11, 2017
Wood & Wild

As we continue the countdown to our Wood & Wild Festival -- taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location -- we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat Madison's Kyle Montgomery suggests a few "unicorns" (beers so epic and legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at Madison's W&W event:

Victory Brewing Co. – Java Cask 

As a Pennsylvania native very proud of the PA beer scene, including this 14.3% ABV bourbon barrel-aged behemoth of an imperial stout in my list was a no brainer. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because it very seldom makes it out into the market. It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s loaded with coffee. RateBeer Score: 99%. 

Upland Brewing Co. (Prairie Artisan Ales Collab) – Cursed Kettles

This beautiful little collab makes my list for several reasons. For one, Prairie Artisan Ales makes some pretty sought after stuff (Prairie Bomb! anyone?) and is not distributed to the state of Wisconsin, so collaborations like this are the only way we can get our hands on it for the time being. Also, if you haven’t heard, Upland has one of the most highly acclaimed sour programs in the country. At 6.3% ABV, this fig & black cherry-infused American sour ale is sure to quench your thirst without putting you on your back.

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery – Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. 

Not many people picture Akron, Ohio as a hotbed for craft brewing, but thanks to Hoppin’ Frog and a handful of other small breweries in the area, that is starting to change. Known for their big & boundary pushing brews, Hoppin’ Frog knocks it out of the park with this bourbon barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stout. RateBeer Score: 100%. 

Oskar Blues Brewery – Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy ‘16 & ’17 

Okay, so technically this is two beers, but that’s part of the appeal. Trying two beers of different vintages side by side (also known as a vertical tasting), can be a fun & rewarding experience. You can taste how the beer changes over time, and often how the brewer has tweaked a recipe from one year to the next. Oh, and I suppose it doesn’t hurt that they’re two vintages of one of the best bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout in the world. RateBeer Score: 100%. 

Lagunitas Brewing Co. – High West-ified

When it comes to the craft beer scene, a beer’s perceived value is derived in part from its quality and in part from its exclusiveness. When we talk about Lagunitas’ High West-ified, we’re dealing with a whole lot of both. Not only is it an incredibly smooth and full-flavored imperial coffee stout, but due a dispute with the producer of the bourbon barrels it was aged in, it is no longer produced. Drink it while you can, because once it’s gone, it’s gone. RateBeer Score: 100%. 

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