On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of attending the Edmonton Beer Geeks Anonymous night at Wunderbar. If you are not familiar with either the EBGA or Wunderbar you owe it to yourself to check them both out.
According to the EBGA website the group was developed to “provide an outlet for craft beer enthusiasts and their passion – give them the atmosphere to actively taste, debate, and share all things beer. By doing so, this group will foster the growing sense of community within the beer scene in Edmonton. A growing number of individuals are turning towards the craft beer revolution, which prides itself on having standards on such things as purity of ingredients, care and attention when brewing, an analytical palate, but most of all a desire to learn and enjoy the company of fellow beer geeks.”
Don’t let Wunderbar’s sketchy dive bar appearance fool you. It’s a friendly bar with an incredible beer selection that destroys the terrible offerings presented by most bars and pubs in Edmonton. And I’m told they have some pretty great live music as well.
This month’s guest was Neil Herbst from Alley Kat brewing here in Edmonton. Neil brought three of his excellent beers with him; Ein Prosit!, Red Dragon Double IPA, and a very special Fresh Hop Full Moon pale ale. Neil gave us a bit of information and background on each beer, spoke about his brewery and passion for beer, and answered questions from the crowd. Did you know that Alley Kat is wildly popular in Seoul, South Korea? Me neither.
I had a chance to try the Ein Prosit! and the Fresh Hop Full Moon but by the time I was ready to go up and get a pint of the Red Dragon Double IPA it was sold out. I guess that must mean that the IPA was good, should have bought the IPA first. Oh well. I’ll have to pick up a bottle of the Red Dragon to try later. It’s part of Alley Kat’s new big bottle series. The big bottle beers are limited edition runs of 650ml bottles, I guess I’d better not wait too long or I’ll be out of luck.
The Ein Prosit! is an Oktoberfest lager. It’s made with six, yes six different types of malt, four of them being caramel malts so unsurprisingly it was very malty and caramelly. If you are a hop head you probably won’t like this beer as it had only a very light hoppy finish but it is an Oktoberfest lager and apparently they are all about the malt. If you want a hoppy beer look elsewhere, like maybe at the Fresh Hop Full Moon. This was a delicious beer, like a big glass of bread! I would definitely drink this one again. However, this is one of Alley Kat’s seasonal brews and it is only available until the end of fall. If you or I are looking at drinking this again, we’d better hurry.
The Fresh Hop Full Moon is a very special pale ale that Alley Kat is brewing in limited supply. Alley Kat has been brewing Full Moon for a long time so in one sense it’s not that special. What makes this one so unique is that Alley Kat used fresh hops. Normally brewers use dried hops but these hops went from the vine to the brew pot within hours (days?). I’ve never tried the regular Full Moon so I can’t say that the fresh hops made any difference. Some people swear that they do, Neil Herbst says he is skeptical. I guess I need to do a comparison of the two. I only had a small sample of the Fresh Hop Full Moon but it was a really nice looking beer, almost red. The sample was too small to talk about the head or any of that. I couldn’t place the smell, very distinct and unique but I don’t know what it was. Kind of a green smell I’d say. The taste was fantastic, very hoppy. I would drink this again in a second but I’ll have to be quick, it’s very limited!