A few weeks back, I was sitting at home on Thursday night. In fact, I had really just walked in the door and was sitting down to check emails when I get a text message: "done with poker, want to get a drink"
It's 8:45 on a Thursday night. I have work the next morning. I, literally, just walked in the door from a long night. I hadn't seen Mrs. MBR since waking up early that morning. F-it. Sure. What the hell. So, I call my buddy who had texted me to find where he was. "Vintage." Damn you. Damn you straight to hell.
I figure, after my little outburst a few months back, that I'd be thrown out of the place before I even walked in. Of course, in my own mind I have a vastly overrated sense of people caring about what I write. Nonetheless, it was reasonable to suspect that I would be persona non grata round those parts.
But, what the heck? I hadn't had their own beer yet. They'd been brewing for a few weeks at this point. I figured, I'll give it a shot. And, perhaps the Beer Talk guys had smoothed things over a little for me.
So, I agree. I went up and met my friend who was talking with a friend of his who happens to be an employee there. Turns out it an employee night for drinking. So, I ask if Scott Manning, the brewmaster is around. Better to just introduce myself, say hello, talk to him a bit, and see where he is. For the better part of the next 3 hours I sat and talked, and drank, with Brewmaster Scott and some of his Vintage cohorts. I have since been back once to have a beer.
And, I've got to say, the beer is pretty damned good. The star, in my opinion, is the Better Off Red, a West Coast Amber/Red Ale that, if you like hops, will blow your socks off. Hops come at you from all directions, but with a good, solid flavor and not just bitterness for the sake of bitterness. For 6.9%, it is dangerously drinkable.
I really enjoyed the Dedication as well. Similar to a Belgian Dubbel, it warms up well and has the typical sort of plum, raisin and fig flavors that I love in big, complex dubbels. The Dedication also has a noticeable (but not overwhelming or even off-style) hop presence.
I was less impressed with the Trepidation Tripel; I thought the alcohol was too strong of presence and that as it warmed up it got a little syrupy. As Scott pointed out, being in a brewpub prevents the kind of aging that make these styles really shine. Which, I believe is a fair point and given such a limitation makes it a relatively impressive offering, provided you drink it relatively quickly.
When I spoke with Scott he mentioned a new beer that he had in the fermenter that was more of a blonde-style but brewed with this crazy, Japanese hop (can someone help me out on this, the name of the hop is escaping me). When I was at Vintage earlier this week, it was finally on-tap and the beer is awesome. The hops give it an off-kilter, but fun and interesting flavor for a moderately hoppy Belgian Blonde-ish sort of thing.
I won't comment about the food because I haven't eaten out there since my original post. But, the beer itself is quite good, if a bit pricey ($4.50 per pint), but I think they have a beer special on Thursdays for $3. So, go on Thursday.