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Hop Notes: Two breweries place a wager on hockey's Stanley Cup

I’ve certainly been known to trash talk when it comes to hockey, soccer or any sport involving Notre Dame. I guess it only comes natural being a Michigan fan, and a Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Lions and Pistons fan living in Indiana.

So as a huge hockey fan, I was pretty excited to see two breweries trash talking each other about the Stanley Cup. And now that trash talk has turned into a nice little wager.  

This is what I found on Cigar City Brewing’s Twitter feed:


A post on the Tampa Bay brewery’s blog explains the wager:

If the Lightning win: the guys and gals from 3 Floyds will fly down to Tampa and bring a bunch of kegs with them so we can tap them in our tasting room. If the Blackhawks win: we will ship up a bunch of kegs with us to Munster and tap them in their pub.

We anticipate some pretty rare and awesome beer will be crossing state lines no matter who’s winning. Oh yeah, and no matter who wins, we will be collaborating. And the losing brewery has to wear the winning team’s jerseys while they brew.

Cigar City Brewing is in Tampa Bay, the hometown of the Lightning, the team that’s skating against the Chicago Blackhawks for the Cup.

I am torn on this wager because my Red Wings lost to the Lightning in the first round of play, but my second favorite team is the team that beats the Blackhawks.

And if Chicago brings home the cup, Cigar City Brewing is going to show up within a couple of hours of my home with some great southern beer. I guess I’m sitting pretty good, because I win either way.

So here are some of my favorites from each brewery. Since 3 Floyds is in my backyard, I have had many more opportunities to enjoy its beer.

First up is Zombie Dust (citra hop pale ale, 6.2 percent ABV, IBUs 50). I really love this beer, and because there is so much hype surrounding it, I do re-sample it from time to time just to make sure that it’s not just my imagination. It’s not. There is plenty of citrus hop character, and in true 3 Floyds fashion, it is just scarce enough that you only get to enjoy it once in a while; and when it’s here, grab it quickly.

My favorite and most memorable beer from 3 Floyds is Murda’d Out Stout (bourbon-barrel aged imperial stout, 13.9 percent ABV).  For Three Floyds’ 15th anniversary, the company blended Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, Surly Darkness, De Struise Black Albert and Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch and called it Baller Stout (13.8 percent ABV).

For its 16 anniversary, the company took the same four beers, aged them separately in bourbon barrels for 14 months and called it Murda’d Out Stout. It was quite boozy, with rich roasty flavors of chocolate, coffee, caramel and vanilla.

In general, I think 3 Floyds does a great job with hoppy beers such as Dreadnaught (imperial IPA, 9.5 percent ABV, IBUs 100) and Arctic Panzer Wolf (imperial IPA, 9 percent ABV, IBUs 100). 

Behemoth (barleywine, 10.5 percent ABV, IBus 80) and Alpha Klaus (porter, 6 percent ABV, IBUs 38) are hoppier versions of these styles than from other breweries, as well.

As for its most well-known beer, Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout (usually around 15 percent ABV) — well, I’m going to have to side with Cigar City on this style.

Each brewery hosts a huge event around the release of its big imperial stout — Cigar City Hunahpu’s Day is the release of Hunapu’s Imperial Stout, and 3 Floyds’ Dark Lord Day is the release of Dark Lord Imperial Stout.

I have had the privilege of enjoying both beers on numerous occasions from different vintage years. Each time, I prefer Hunaphu. Both are huge, thick, chewy stouts with notes of coffee, chocolate and roasted malt; however, Dark Lord is just a bit on the too sweet side for me.

A few other Cigar City beers that I’ve enjoyed include 110K+OT (imperial IPA, 10 percent ABV), Jai Alai (IPA, 7.5 percent ABV, IBUs 70), Muduro Brown (5.5 percent ABV, IBUs 25) and Marshal Zhukov’s Russian Imperial Stout (11 percent ABV, IBUs 80).

At a recent bottle share a friend brought a crowler of Cigar City’s Blueberry Muffin brown ale (English brown ale, 5.5 percent ABV). Growler Tuesdays at Cigar City Brewing mean there are small batches available in 32-oz. crowlers only. It was not one of my favorite beers, but it was fun to try.

After Wednesday’s game, the series is tied 2-2, and it’s my prediction that the series will go to a full seven games. One thing I do know for sure is that if there is a party at 3 Floyds, I will not be wearing a Blackhawks or Lightning jersey.

If the Lightning win, I’ll celebrate with a bottle of Hunahpu’s, and if the Blackhawks win, I’ll drown my sorrows with a bottle of Hunahpu’s — that is, unless someone has a bottle of Murda’d Out Stout they would like to share.

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