I received an email a while back extending a special invitation to a tasting of Mountatineer Brewing beers distributed by Proud Eagle, formerly Central Distributing. Now to say the least, I was excited. I thought this blog was finally paying dividends and Ron’s dream had finally come true in the form of FREE BEER. So I spent a few minutes forwarding the invitation to the Fork You crew.
It seemed that everyone was either out of town or going out of town. So it left me to take one for the team. So after attending church on Saturday evening (a rare occurrence) I sped down I-64 to Mardi Gras Race Track for the Tasting.
As I entered the poker room I saw the sign for the event and my initial read on the invitation was off. The tasting cost $12. Now I thought that must not apply to me. I got a special invitation. I wandered down to the event to check things out. The host explained the event and failed to mention a special invite list. So I stepped back and took a walk around the poker room and decided that I should pay, because I wouldn’t want my culinary credibility questioned. Besides there is probably some obscure WV Code about giving beer away.
I have a prejudice against Mountaineer Brewing Company’s (MBC) beers. Their bottling operation started right about the same time Mountain State Brewing Company started filling kegs in Thomas, WV. I am friends with a dad of one of the owners and felt a certain loyalty to their brew. So I have never tried any MBC beers. This would be a perfect chance to get to try their all their flavors.
I paid up and got my over 21 wristband and went to “WORK”. I had missed the explanation of each beer and its food pairing so I was free to hit each station in whatever order I chose. I went from light to dark starting with the Blonde Lager.
The Lager is a clean, crisp wheat beer with a “peanut” finish. This is one of the hardest beers to make because you can’t hide the flaws in a dark color or lack of filtering. It was paired with a Jalapeno and Gouda soft pretzel. Beer Advocate rates this beer a B- (3.48).
The Red Ale was next on my “to do list”. I generally like the red ales that get their color from the toasted malts. Usually there are distinct caramel notes in these brews. I didn’t detect any in MBC version. If you like smooth mild flavor, the Red Ale is for you. It just happened to fall flat on my taste buds. It was paired with a natural potato chip dusted with red pepper. Beer Advocate rates this beer a B-.
The Nut Brown is MBC’s most popular brew. It has deep, smoky caramel notes. A dark brown color and lacy head make this one a winner. A spicy chicken skewer was paired with the nut brown. These were spiced with red pepper flakes and basted with the Nut Brown Ale. They served it on a full sized skewer. Beer Advocate gives this beer a B-.
The Pale Ale is my favorite of the Mountaineer Brewing family of brews. The bite of the hops goes so well with spicy eats and the hot kielbasa was no exception. This beer is refreshing and smooth. Beer Advocate gives this beer a B.
Mountaineer’s version of Stout is all about chocolate. It has strong chocolate notes with a caramel brown head. This beer is not as heavy as it looks. The Irish stout is light but full of rich flavor. It was paired with a roasted walnut truffle. Beer Advocate rated this beer a B-.
After drinking several more beers with Gary Brooks of Mountaineer Brewing any predudice is washed away. He told me about his background in the food business, and he thinks the best food is in New Orleans. His best travel food tip is to ask the cabbies where to eat. He thinks that every good restaurant has a burger on the menu, and he likes his ribs wet after being rubed with the dry spices (go figure). Beer fans will appreciate that Mountaineer is will be bringing a hefeweizen and an octoberfest to market in 2009.
Now I don’t fork beer so I have linked in what beer advocate thinks of these brews. I think you can’t go wrong putting a six pack of the Blonde or Pale ale in your cart at Kroger. Enjoy and just say no to diet beer!