Beer Trading is an interesting phenomenon to me. There are different types of trading. There is the single trade, wherein I have a beer that you want and you have a beer that I want, so we arrange a trade. We may never trade again and we probably don’t know each other. There are arranged trades. While this isn’t the norm, this summer my friends were part of the Beer It Forward Beer Advocate trade. We provided regional beers to a group in Buffalo, and a group in California sent us beers from their region. We didn’t meet them and will probably never trade again. Although, some friendships were made through this, so perhaps future trades may occur. And then there are the look out for each other trades. This type of trading involves constant trading. When I find something that I think you may like or that I know you can’t get in your region, I will send it to you, knowing full well that at some point, you will send me some things too. It is this kind of trade through which we are receiving a ton of really great beers from California and Colorado.
We met our trading partner while standing in line to enter the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival in June of 2012. After talking to him for a while and meeting his wife and father-in-law, we parted ways while at the festival. However, as the fairgrounds were relatively small, we often came across our friend and his family throughout our day. I, unfortunately, had to leave early from the festival because of some poor choices, so Steve was never able to set up a trading system. We had friended each other on Untappd though and a simple message through that site allowed us to connect once we returned to Cleveland. After an initial box of wants, Steve and his trading partner have been routinely sending regional beers for the other to sample as they look out for each other.
Through our trades, we have been able to sample a lot of really good beers from some smaller name breweries. I’m always excited to try the beers that our friend ships to us. Today’s choice didn’t disappoint.
My first sip was a bit underwhelming and I was kind of surprised that our friend had reported that this beer was amazing. But as it started to warm, the true flavors revealed themselves. Awesome is the perfect word for this beer. Even though it is a bit thin for a stout and lower ABV (5.6%) so in my mind should probably be a porter, the flavors are bold. I get chocolate and espresso, heavy on the chocolate first and the espresso at the end. I don’t really get any smoke, which the brewer claims to be part of the flavor. But that is okay with me, since I’m not a huge fan of smoky beers. I am really enjoying the intense flavors of this stout. Figueroa Mountain beers are only available in California. If you know someone, or make a trip out there, be sure to find this beer.