Beer Dinner and Tasting: Pliny, Sculpin, La Chouffe and Baltika

Upon the gracious invitation of Atty. Con-con of Misshapen Identities to share a bottle of fresh Pliny the Elder and a couple of other beers with myself and another beer geek, I hastily organized a simple beer dinner. I invited Nicole, the hophead philosophy professor who introduced me to IPAs in the first place. Of course, she jumped at the opportunity to finally try the elusive DIPA and offered to host us at her house. Con-con brought the Pliny, Baltika No. 6 Porter and Petit La Chouffe with the requisite snifters for tasting. I contributed a bomber of Sculpin, anchovy pizza and mojos from Shakeys, and Nicole took care of the venue and some fantastic beef bulgogi.


The La Chouffe is also available here, but in different packaging. It is brewed with spices – coriander, according to the website – and this is evident in the nose. The coriander seed and pepper aroma was promising, but the beer itself was a bit dull. Other than a subdued repetition of the nose and a slight, almost negligible hoppy finish, there was not much else in terms of flavor. I was expecting more malt, as is the case with most Belgian ales, but this was mostly overpowered by the spice character. Nonetheless, this went well with the Beef Bulgogi.

The Baltika No. 6 is a Baltic porter from Russia. It was around a month after its best-before date. Thus, the beer fell a little flat, with hardly any noticeable carbonation. It tasted and smelled of coffee, raisin and prune. This was much more flavorful than the usual American-style craft porters I’ve tried, and should be even better when “fresh.”

Sculpin was Sculpin. It was grossly unfair to put this up against the Pliny the Elder, but being the best IPA available in the Philippines, and not that far off in terms of ABV (7.0 to 8.0), I figured, what the hell. That familiar grapefruit, lemon, mango aroma filled the room from the moment the cap came off. In this regard, at least, the Sculpin beats out Pliny – especially considering that the former was at least three months older than the latter. I still think that Sculpin is the most fragrant beer I’ve tried yet, with Central City Red Racer IPA coming a close second (an aside: Central City has some really aromatic fruity brews). I featured Sculpin in my first ever entry, so I don’t need to repeat myself as to how much I enjoy this beer.


Much has already been said about Pliny the Elder, and I put in my two cents worth in the previous post.


Both a toast and a comparison of the appearance of two beers that really define their styles – Pliny (L) and Sculpin (R)



Con-con posted an entry on the night’s revelry in his blog as well. View the post here.

Here’s to old friends and new, and the appreciation of well-crafted brews. I look forward to more tasting sessions and dinners in the future. Cheers!


The philosophical hophead and her beloved IPAs

Con-con was supposed to sell me a bottle of BeerAdvocate-favorite Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing, but he graciously gave it to me instead. I’ll age this a bit, and probably plan an Imperial Stout tasting in a few months. The lineup of imperial stouts here in the Philippines has become quite formidable. I’ll likely put this up against the 2008 Stone IRS I’m aging, a younger Stone IRS (or their disappointing Belgo-anise IRS just for comparison), Ballast Point Sea Monster, Victory Storm King (my new favorite), Rogue’s XS Imperial Stout, and maybe Southern Tier Javah or Creme Brulee (before they vanish from the Philippines forever). An appropriate time would probably be next year’s Stout Day on November 3rd, or maybe, if I get impatient, when the Russian protests are resolved.

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