It’s finally here! Yesterday (September 28) marked the first day you could stop in and grab a cold one of the long awaited release of Thin Man Brewery’s beer on Elmwood Ave. I must say, it was well worth the wait.
Head Brewer Rudy Watkins sure knows what he’s doing. Before construction of the brewery even began, Rudy was hard at work formulating new recipes. In fact, it wasn’t until after testing out nearly 60 different types that he finally decided on the 6 featured beers for the initial release. Much like all of our local Buffalo breweries, there is something for everyone. Rudy has done a great job of creating a variety of styles of beer that are unique to Thin Man through his out-of-the-box creativity. We can expect more exciting releases from Thin Man as time goes on – fun collaborations with local, regional, and national breweries are already in the works so stay tuned. One secret I will let slip is that Thin Man will be 1 of 19 breweries (out of 4,500 world wide) given the coveted recipe to brew Arrogant Bastard in house. All the proceeds of that run will go to charity.
A trio of tasters – myself, fellow BRO writer Steve Warzala (aka Warzy’s World) and Dr. Mike Bax (surgeon at Roswell Park) – had the unique opportunity to sit down with Rudy to pick his brain and celebrate the launch over a few pints of his yet to be released beers. Below, I highlighted my three favorite beers from the tasting.
Between the three of us, collectively hands down this was our favorite. I can’t express enough how much I liked this beer. Take a sniff before you sip, and you’ll be amazed at how delicious it smells before your lips ever reach the glass. You’ll notice hints of fresh fruit like mango, melon, and there’s some honey. It’s a double IPA, but doesn’t overwhelm the sences with hops or bitterness at all. I found it to be extremely smooth – it has what Warzy calls “drinkability”. Light bodied and very refreshing. After tasting the Bliss, I can see where the name came from. Don’t be alarmed when you order Bliss, they didn’t short change you, this will be served as a 13oz pour.
Black Francis: 6.6% ABV (Stout)
Similar to a “Cocoa Puff” is how it was first described, and it’s true. This stout pours black and gives you the taste of roasted malt right away. You might think a stout to be very heavy and filling, however the Black Francis was much lighter, yet still robust with flavor. If you close your eyes, and breathe it in, you can easily smell the hints of coffee. It’s a perfect beer to keep you warm this Fall season.
A friend once said to Rudy “No Pressure”, in reference to becoming head brewer of Thin Man Brewery. Well, if there was any pressure, he sure works well under it. Made with all US grown hops, this All-American beer is expected to become super popular with its unique character. It’s similar to a creamsicle with orange and tropical flavors. It’s low in bitterness, with really juicy hops primarily from the US Northwest.
To go along with the beers, I asked Warzy to give his take on the experience. In typical fashion, he opted to cover more of the food than beer…
Dummy. Belgian Pale Ale. 6.2% – This was the first beer Rudy poured for us. Mike and I considered it our second favorite. Dummy is Rudy’s favorite and one he expects to have on tap year round, which is àpropos considering the name of the brewery. A peppery yeast and hops start this beer, and the pineapple and gooseberry help balance the flavor. It uses dry hopped Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand – the 2nd toughest hops to acquire in the craft beer world right now. The 1st is Galaxy hops from Australia. The beer finishes crisp with a caramel note at the end.
During the beer tasting Rudy and Chef Bruce Wieszala had some snacks lined up for us. Bacon Nubs ($10), Pork Cracklins’ ($6), Crunchy Potatoes ($8) and the Roasted Carrots ($9/$15).
The bacon nubs at Thin Man… truthfully, if it was allowed by the state to marry them I would! Thick cut slab bacon coated in a brown sugar maple glaze, yeah that’s the kind of thing I want to wake up next to every morning.
If the “healthier” lighter fare is what your looking for, then the vegetable dishes might catch your eye. Well, healthy might not be the best word to describe these dishes, but delish, yes they are.
Crunchy potatoes topped with fontina cheese, onion and crisp parmesan…
The carrots come smothered in a mixture of herbed ricotta, smoked pistachio butter and orange blossom honey. The flavors mixed with that latent crunch of the carrot – superb.
Moms if you can’t get your kids to eat their vegetables at home, pick them up from Thin Man. There won’t be any more complaints
Thin Man’s new Brisket Chili ($6.5) made with the Black Francis Stout, was incredible! Big hearty chunks of meat and fixins in this chili. The flavor was on point. The cornbread mixed in was also an excellent addition. I hope this becomes a staple on the new menu.
Lastly the Thin Man Burger ($14). Two natural beef patties covered in melted American cheese (I know the US didn’t fair so well in the World Cup of Hockey so maybe this commercial will cheer you up), topped with lettuce, pickles, house mayo and ketchup layered between an onion bun.
The new menu will be out soon and the food items will have a suggested beer pairing to enhance each dish. If you can’t make it down, then you can take some of the beer to go. Thin Man is also now offering 32oz crowlers. That’s right, a 32 oz can of the beer of your choosing to take home. Brilliant!
Here’s the Full Beer Line-UP
No Pressure. IPA. 5.1%
New England Style IPA. Large tropical hop expression, low bitterness, round mouthfeel.
Velocity. IPA. 6.2%
Traditional American IPA. Pine & dank hop character, maltier than No Pressure, more pronounced bitterness.
Skinny Fat. American Pale Ale. 4.3%
Medium level of piney, grassy hops, nice honey-like malt expression, crackery malt. Easy crusher.
Black Francis. Robust Stout. 6.6%
Roasty stout, big mouthfeel, black with a fine tan head.
Dummy. Belgian Pale Ale. 6.2%
Peppery yeast & hops, pineapple & gooseberry.100% Brettanomyces fermentation, dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin.
Bliss. Double IPA. 8%
Pineapple, dankness and ripe melon.