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Beer notes: Big Ditch, Pizza Plant, 42 North

Big Ditch Fall Black and 400th batch release
Big Ditch Brewery, 55 East Huron St. (854-5050)

Last week, Big Ditch released its Fall Black seasonal ale. It is a German-style black beer, also known as schwarzbier. According to the brewery, "Fall Black is made with German and American malts and hops and brewed with California Common yeast.

Despite its dark color, it is surprisingly light on the palate. It features a subtle roast character, smooth bready malts, and slightly spicy hops." Think Guinness, only better.

Big Ditch also is brewing its 400th batch this week, coinciding with the two-year mark since the company has been open for distribution. To commemorate, it is brewing a large batch of its most popular pilot batch, Jalapeño Cream Ale.

From the brewers: "This is a crisp, well-balanced and refreshing cream ale, with slight sweetness from the flaked corn used in the mash, and subtle heat and spicy tanginess in the finish from the use of jalapeño peppers in the fermenter." The plan is to use Niagara County peppers in the beer, assuming they can get enough.

Either way, it will be a beer worth checking out and should be available at the brewery soon. (Check the brewery’s Facebook page for information about the release).

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29th annual beer tasting
7 to 10 p.m., Oct. 26 at Pizza Plant, 7770 Transit Road, East Amherst (632-0800)

Boasting the “Longest Running Beer Event in NY,” Pizza Plant will be holding its 29th annual beer tasting. As usual, Tim Herzog of Flying Bison will be on hand as master of ceremonies. The beer list always has impressed beer lovers from novices to geeks in the past, and it seems as though this year will be no different.

Some of the beers planned are:

  • Community Beer Works Amazing Larry
  • Flying Bison Smell the Glove Gose
  • Woodcock XPA 8.0
  • Mikkeller Spontandryhop Mosaic
  • 42 North Red Army
  • Boulevard Love Child #7
  • Dogfish Head Bitches Brew
  • Stone Enjoy After 7/4/16 Brett IPA

There will be 12 beers tasted in total, with discussions led by Herzog between each one. A commemorative glass is yours to keep with the price of admission ($40, for purchase here), and plenty of Pizza Plant’s special palate-cleansing breadsticks will be provided.

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Oatmeal Stout cask tapping
4 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Pan-American Grill and Brewery, 391 Washington St. (856-0062)

Chris Herr of Pearl Street/Pan-American Grill and Brewery will be tapping a special cask-conditioned version of its oatmeal stout.

Cask-conditioned (or “real”) ale is a beer that undergoes a special second fermentation in a "cask” (typically a five- or 10-gallon stainless steel sealed vessel), allowing the flavors and aromas to mature over several days or  weeks. When served, the beer is poured directly out of the cask, and has a gentler carbonation than a standard draft beer.

This event is a great opportunity to taste this method of serving beer. The oatmeal stout is brewed with roasted barley, oats and three types of toasted malt for a long and toasty malt character. English hops round out the flavor for a smooth, full-bodied stout. It will will be available as part of the bar's happy hour pricing as well, and will be $4 per pint.

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42 North celebrates first anniversary
8 p.m. to close Oct. 21 and noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at 42 North Brewing Company, 25 Pine St., East Aurora (805-7500)

The East Aurora brewery is turning one, and its doing so in style. "42 North is all about collaboration and we invite all of our friends, neighbors, and partners to celebrate a great first year,” said Chief Brewing Officer Clay Keel. “We could not have done it without them."

The brewery made more than 2,000 barrels in its first year.

Events include music by Leroy Townes Band at 8 p.m. Oct. 21. On Oct. 22, festivities start at noon with the first 150 visitors receiving a commemorative pint glass. Two cask tappings will take place at 1 and 5 p.m. Other events include:

  • 2 to 4 p.m. EA Music Room spotlight performances / Musejar pumpkin painting for the kids
  • 4 to 6 p.m. Buffalovebus photo opportunity
  • 8 p.m. Taproom music with The Observers

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Ales and Aces for Erie Craft Beer Week
4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 12 Brew Brothers at Presque Isle Downs & Casino, 8199 Perry Highway, Erie, Penn.

Though a bit of a trek, it looks like it will be worth checking out this capstone event of Erie Craft Beer Week in mid-November. The admission ($50, for purchase here) gets you access to unlimited beer samples from 11 local area craft breweries, including:

  • Arundel Cellars and Brewing Company
  • The Brewerie at Union Station
  • Blue Canoe Brewery
  • Erie Ale Works
  • Erie Brewing Company
  • Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing
  • Lavery Brewing Company
  • Millcreek Brewing Company
  • Sprague Farm & Brew Works
  • Timbercreek Tap & Table
  • Voodoo Brewing Company

One of the beers available will be a special collaboration in the 814 series (814 is the area code of Erie PA), barrel-aged version of HAWT Roxxx, a stein beer.

There will also be craft cocktails with Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing's spirits, food pairings, $10 in Presque Isle Downs slot play, and live entertainment. Designated Driver tickets are available for $20.

[Related: Last week's version of Beer Notes]

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