Sunday, February 12, 2012

Meadowlands Int'l Beer Expo - Part 2

I recently attended the International Beer Expo at the Meadowlands Expo Center with my brother and our wives.  In Part1of this review, I described some of the first beers we tried.  Now I'll describe some of the best. 

The brewery with the longest line by far was Innis & Gunn from Scotland.  This is one of my wife's favorites and we repeated on the line just to get a taste of the all different selections they were pouring.  I have reviewed their beers in the past, and still feel that the original with its strong vanilla notes is my favorite.  The others were impressed by their beer stored in rum casks.  Either way, we were not alone in our love of this complex Scottish brew.
The second longest line was in front of the Unibroue table.  Unibroue is located in Quebec, Canada and claims to be the first brewery in North America to use the brewing methods developed by the Trappist monks in Belgium.  This was in 1990 and since then, they have been aquired first by Sleeman Brewery in 2004 and then by Saparo International in Japan.  This change of ownership has not dampened the views of beer geeks who sing the praises of Unibroue beers up and down the internet.  
 They were pouring two of their most popular offerings La Fin du Monde and Maudite from their distinct 750ml bottles.  La Fin du Monde translates to "The End of the World" which is what European explorers thought they saw when they arrived in America for the first time.  This bottled conditioned Triple Style Golden Ale carries a 9 % ABV and a nice golden color.  The alcohol bite was slight and the taste was sweet and spicy.  Maudite is a Strong Amber Red Ale (8%) which smells of coriander and has a nice malty taste. The bottle sports a picture of a flying canoe which refers to a myth of voyagers who made a deal with the devil in order to make it back home.  One of them changed his mind mid-way and they were all plunged down to hell.  Hence the name Maudite, which in the local Quebecois language means "damned".
Though we were focusing our efforts on foreign beers, we did come across some domestic craft beers that were standouts.  This being the Tristate Beer Blog I'll focus on the local one's that turned our heads.  New Jersey Beer Co. located in North Bergen, NJ was serving their Hudson Pale Ale which was light and refreshing with a bitter finish.  The owner and brewer, Matt Steinberg, poured me a Scottish Style Ale called a Weehawken Wee Heavy.  I liked the maltiness of this beer and will add it to my arsenal of good winter ales.
 The most local of the bunch, too my home, was Defiant Brewery located in Pearl River, NY. Their flagship Muddy Creek Lager, named for the original name of their hometown, is very popular and consistantly delicious.  I have friends that are so smitten that they keep this beer on tap in their home bars to introduce it to friends and neighbors. 

Neither of these breweries produces their beers in 12 oz bottles yet, but Defiant puts out a Triple in a 750 ml bottle and both beers can be found on tap in their local bars.


  1. I attended the festival during the first session which started at 12:30pm and my favorite beer of the day was "OLD 38 STOUT" from North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg, CA.
    It was one of the first beers I tried and I used it as a comparision to everything else I tried for the rest of the day.
    YES, to INNIS & GUNN! They were a very close second. I tried all 3 that they offered & none disappointed.
    INTERESTING: When I first tried OLD 38 STOUT, it was properly chilled to about 55 degrees. Two huors later, I tried it again to confirm my opinion as the best at the festival. By this point, they had iced it down and now all I tasted was an "ICED DOWN STOUT". All the flavor & smokeness was gone. It was just ICE!

  2. Brian, I didn't get to try many stouts at the show. So thanks for reviewing a beer that I didn't get to. I agree that many dark beers taste better at a higher temp. I usually keep beer in the garage in the winter and that seems to be perfect for my taste.