The Story of Hard Core Gore (2014)

Each year NABC celebrates the life of the late Jason Gore — a colleague, friend and co-conspirator – by brewing an ale named in his honor. It’s called Hard Core Gore, and it’s a unique beer for a unique man, who would have been 31 years old on March 21, 2014.

Jason’s motto was “Live life to the fullest and learn as much as you can,” and these words are forever worth remembering. When he died after a courageous fight with cancer, there was grieving and sadness, but the NABC family refused to lose sight of the joy Jason’s life brought to all of us for so long. We never will.

At the time of Jason’s death, a Bruce Springsteen song came to mind, and it still aptly conveys what we’ll always feel about Jason. Here are a few chosen stanzas.

They built the Titanic to be one of a kind,
but many ships have ruled the seas
They built the Eiffel tower to stand alone,
but they could build another, if they pleased
The Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Egypt are unique, I suppose,
but when the built you brother, they broke the mold

When they built you brother
they turned this dust to gold
When they built you brother
they broke the mold

They say you can’t take it with you
but I think that they’re wrong
All I know’s I woke up this morning
and something big was gone
Gone in to that dark ether
Where you’re still young n’ hard and cold
Just like when they built you brother
and broke the mold

When Jason left us, they broke the mold, but he left a beery legacy in Hard Core Gore. It has slightly differed in composition over the years, but remains at heart a rambunctious Belgo-American IPA, as crafted by Ben Minton at NABC’s Research & Development brewery. For 2014, Ben has referred back to the original Jared Williamson formulation for inspiration.

2011: 9.5% ABV, 120 IBUs
2012: 8.1% ABV, 156 IBUs
2013: 11% ABV, 135 IBUs
2014: 9.5% ABV, 195 IBUs

Hard Core Gore is a very limited, draft-only release, and can be enjoyed at NABC’s two New Albany locations beginning on Friday, March 21.

Hard Core Gore 2014

Belgo-American India Pale Ale

ABV: 9.5%

IBU: 195

Color: Golden-hued amber.

Flavor: Highly hopped in all known ways, and full-bodied with a fruity Belgian character.

Compare to: Stone Cali-Belgique, Houblon Chouffe.

Description: A unique beer for a unique man.

Recipe Suggestion: Trevor Gore reveals his brother’s favorite tricks while working in the pizzeria kitchen:

“He would take the buffalo sauce and barbecue sauce and mix them together to make a hot ham and cheese sandwich covered with this combined sauce, or use the sauce to make a buffalo chicken pizza topped with ranch dressing.”

Hard Core Gore’s hybrid Belgo-American international character paired alongside spicy Buffa-BBQ sauciness; we’ll say only that it’s fully appropriate. Concoct with creativity, and eat as much as you can.

The Story of Bonfire of the Valkyries (2014)

Bonfire11x17smallBy Roger A. Baylor

Those of us still prone to reading books in a tactile sense, without electronic assistance, probably remember “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” a novel by Tom Wolfe. It first was serialized in Rolling Stone magazine, and then published in its entirety in 1987. The novel is set in raucous New York City during the 1980s, and when later released as a motion picture, bore a highly descriptive marketing tagline:

“An outrageous story about greed, lust and vanity in America.”

Bonfire of the Valkyries, a seasonal release from the New Albanian Brewing Company, is brewed far from the Big Apple’s cosmopolitan tumult, in the quaint Ohio River town called New Albany, which celebrated its bicentennial in 2013 by purposefully ignoring the bulk of its caterwauling civic history – to such an extent that the real 200-year birthday milestone doesn’t actually come around until 2017.

Accordingly, Bonfire of the Valkyries is a satisfying beer about mythology, pyromania and forgetfulness.

More importantly, Bonfire of the Valkyries is NABC’s annual and respectful winter’s nod to our brewing forbearers in New Albany. From the mid-1800s, these mostly were transplanted Germans with names like Reising, Buchheit and Nadorff, who brought with them from the old country a taste for then-revolutionary lager beers. Did some of them recall more archaic fermented delicacies, perhaps black, smoky and strong concoctions pulled from icy cellars deep in the Franconian countryside? We can only guess, but it seems entirely possible, and we’re eager and able to close the circle by making their beer dreams into reality.

According to NABC’s informal house style guidelines, Bonfire of the Valkyries is considered an Imperial Smoked Black Lager. At 8% abv, it is almost double the alcoholic potency of standard Black Lager, as codified by the “official” Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) playbook. Moreover, there is a healthy percentage of Weyermann Rauch (smoked) malt from Bamberg, Germany.

Bonfire of the Valkyries is full-bodied and clean, with medium but assertive smokiness. In the sovereign territory of New Albania, it’s the ideal accompaniment to smoked meats (especially when it’s been a good year for deer hunting), oysters, cabbage soup, kielbasa, sauerkraut and freshwater trout, although to be honest, we’re purely guessing about the trout. While there is no known instance of someone pairing Bonfire with river catfish or carp, we’re open to the possibility.

You roast them, and we’ll toast them.

Conversely, as we’ve been known to do in New Albania, you might just enjoy a few glasses of Bonfire of the Valkyries while burning away the long hours until Ragnarök, the forthcoming, epic struggle that will make Wolfe’s milieu look like a serene walk in New Albania’s famous Rent Boy Park.

22-oz bombers of Bonfire of the Valkyries will be available in Indiana and metropolitan Louisville on the Kentucky side of the Ohio. A limited amount of draft will be allocated, and of course, it can be enjoyed in all forms at NABC’s two New Albanian locations.

Bonfire of the Valkyries

Imperial Smoked Black Lager

ABV: 8%

IBU: 10

Color: Very brown to pre-black.

Flavor: Full bodied, with strong, clean dark lager malt character and ample smokiness.

Compare to: Bonfire is an utterly unique Imperial Smoked Black Lager, but it compares with Smoked Porters from Alaskan, Stone, etc.

Description: We start with German-style Black Lager, brew it to a higher than normal strength, and use a proportion of beechwood-smoked barley malt. Bonfire demands: “Give me bacon.”

Recipe Suggestion: Begin by ordering carry-out from your favorite barbecue purveyor (ours is Feast BBQ on West Main Street in New Albany), remembering to keep the sauce on the side; what you need is a plate of delicious smoked meat. Decant Bonfire of the Valkyries from a growler or bomber bottle into whatever clean glass is available. Get down to business; we’ll come back later to check on your progress.

NABC’s Tony Beard profiled in “The People and Stories Behind Craft Beer Art”

Tricentennial Ale

The topic is imagery, and our own Tony Beard is profiled along with Shane Brown (Sun King) and Jim Zimmer (Three Floyds). Perhaps a three-way beer and art collaboration?

Graphic Content: The People and Stories Behind Craft Beer Art, by Emily Taylor / IUPUI

The next time you are at your favorite tap house, pause and look at the detail on some of the bottles, posters and handles. Each one ties in the taste and a story. The imagery has become as much a part of the craft craze as the brews themselves. Even though these artists are pushing themselves to new levels and directing the flagships of their own breweries, there are only a handful of breweries in the United States that employ them full-time. Two are right here in Indiana. The Midwest has turned heads from craft industries across the country. The quality brews are blazing trails, but so are their labels’ unique artistic designs. For the artists creating them, the process remains in constant motion.