Session #44 — Frankenstein Beers

The Beer Wench is at the controls for this month’s Session. What is a session you ask? Its a way to bring beer bloggers together to blog about a single topic and collect everyones thoughts and opinions. I have seen a few go by and this month I want to hop on board and give my two cents.

This month’s session, led by The Beer Wench is Frankenstein Beers! (insert monster growl here):

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a blog post on “Frankenstein Beers.” There are no rules about how to write about this topic — feel free to highlight a Frankenstien brewer, brewery, beer tasting notes … or just your opinions on the concept.

What if there were a beer that could change men/women into beasts?

As brewer Tod Mott slaves away in the cold dark brew house perfecting his craft once a year, citizens of the World twiddle there thumbs and begin to go mad. When the clock strikes Midnight on March 1 the town of Portsmouth, NH transitions from the lovely tourist town it’s known for to a circus of madness and mayhem. What Frankenstein of a beer could do this to a small town? I risk my life whispering this name in public, let alone type it. I’m talking about Kate the Great from the Portsmouth Brewery

It's Aliiiiive!

March 1 comes but once a year, naturally, and if your a beer fan you know about Kate the Great. Top Rated on Beer Advocate, Kate the Great is a Russian Imperial Stout that is undeniably my favorite beer of all time (thus far?). I had a real advantage, living dangerously close to the action this past ‘Kate Day’. As popularity grows year to year, more buzz on the internet and the magazine shelves bring people from across the world, literally, to stand in line for two 22oz bottles (maximum) of Kate the Great.

If the tourist chaos wasn’t enough for the little town of Portsmouth to handle, Kate Day is a whole other beast, a Frankenstein if you will. The lines wrapped down the quiet streets early in the morning. The first group of people in line flew in from the UK just for this day. In line I met folks from North Carolina and Delaware and a gentleman on a business trip from South Carolina, who was lucky enough to have his business planned on Kate Day. After receiving your voucher (in this case, calendar page) from the staff at 4:00am, you may leave the line and return at 9:00am when they begin to call out the dates by month. When you are called you can take your bottles and go, most likely returning at 11:22am when the official tapping of Kate the Great is done.

The scene at 4am is straight out of any zombie/Frankenstein movie. People with nowhere to go for 5 hours sleep walking through the empty downtown Portsmouth streets. I got my bottles, went to work and sped home to get a taste from the taps. I was lucky enough to get 2 (quick) 8oz pours before the Keg was kicked, and just like that, in a span of 6-7 hours from the tapping, Kate Day was done.

No horror story is finished without a few sequels, and Tod doesn’t let us down. Not one, not two or three, but four times so far this year he secretly puts on a log of Kate and posts it ever so cleverly on the Brewery’s blog. This is mainly to give those not able to stand in line on Kate Day (you know, the sane people of the world) a taste of the magic. I have missed only one of the 4 re-releases, some guy’s gotta work around here!

Portsmouth is always on its toes waiting for the next wave of Kate to grace its presence on the town. And that, ladies and gentleman is the story of Frankenstein Kate the Great!

Kate Day 2011

The next Kate Day was announce on the Brewery’s blog about a week ago. They are doing a new process this time so pay close attention to their blog from now until March 7, 2011, the next Kate Day!