The State of My Liver

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I began this evening ready to enjoy the State of the Union Address with a few bottles of Dogfish Head Brewery World Wide Stout. Why? We're world-wide, baby...

A few moments into the night and I quickly realized that in order to survive the evening intact and alive, I would need to switch to tailgate beer. World Wide Stout, see, is 18% abv.... 5 minutes into the speech and he was already on his 5th "freedom" and 2nd "terror." This was ugly.

With 20 mentions of "Freedom," 4 mentions of "9/11" and 14 mentions of "terror/terrorists" I would have already been in danger of forgetting my name. What really put me over the edge were the 61 interruptions for applause. 61.

My viewing pleasure went something like this:

9:00 crack the beer. Admire its taste of chocolate, balanced by bitter molasses, and roasted espresso beans. Little malty sweetness, mostly overshadowed by purposeful roasted nuts taste.

9:03 toasting the arrival of the Supremes. I love listening to their music; I was born in Motown after all. The DFH thick consistency, like whole milk, is truly lovely.

9:05 Ah! The President! A toast, and a swig.

9:06 Still applauding....

9:08 Applause slowing...President looks around approvingly...Hastert appears to try to tell him it's time to start.

9:09 We start! A toast to the Beginning!

9:10 Already our first "Freedom" reference! Drink.

9:10:30 Another Freedom reference. Drink.

9:11 Freedom AND terror in the same sentence. Double-swig. Crack a new beer.

9:15 I am starting to lose feeling in my lips.

9:16 Jesus. Time for another damn beer. Must switch to Molson...

9:18 I have to sit closer to the t.v. It appears blurry.

9:23 I talk to my wife about our t.v. Apparently, the picture gets progressively hazy and the sound gets quieter. We need a new t.v.! She tells me to quiet down. Crack another Molson.

9:26 blah blah freedom blah blah terror blah blah jobs....I belch and maybe puke in my mouth a little.

9:32 Another Molson. But I am having trouble opening it.

9:35 My eyelids weigh like a ton. Hey! It looks like Woody from Toy Story is on t.v. but I don't remember this part of the movie. Where's his hat and bright yellow shirt?

9:38 My wife told me the Dems did something funny, but I am confused. Were they the little green dudes in Toy Story? And is that the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man behind Woody? I don't remember him from the movie either.

9:41 Another Molson. Wasn't the Stay-Puft Man in that movie with the little cute green ghost and all the slime? You know? Didn't he try to eat New York or something?

9:45 Freedom. Freedom..s..s'like you know...freedom, man. Causss if we we're like, you, man. Hic....

9:48 Okay, now they're just applauding just to be bothersome about the whole thing. I want to find that guy with the applause sign and punch him in his fat face. What'r YOU lookin' at?? Another Molson.

9:53 My wife tells me "it's over," but I don't know what "it" is. That movie with Woody and the Marshmallow guy?

9:55 I have achieved Ted Kennedy.

I may be late for work tomorrow.

The speech timed at 53 minutes. With the 61 applauses built-in, I believe there really was only about 25 - 30 minutes of actual content. But in terms of actual new policy initiatives, only three were mentioned. Nothing new was unveiled that isn't an extension of last year's policy initiatives. His performance and delivery was better than in the past, but this offered nothing new in a critical mid-term election year.


This Week in Beer

Friday, January 27, 2006

It's Friday. It's Beer:30 in the afternoon. It's time to drink.

1) La Brasserie d'Achouffe La Chouffe. Apparently, a "chouffe" is a legendary little gnome that brews beer in the forests of Belgium. I will attest, this is magical stuff. Smells of caramel, honey, apple and peach. That same delicious, champage-like fruit up front, followed by malty mellowness and that characteristic Belgian spiciness. Perfect Belgian artisinal. 9/10.

2) Brasserie d'Orval Orval Trappist Ale. I seems to be on a theme so far of beers brewed by monks. Many Belgian beers are brewed by monks in monasteries, from as recently as the 1950s to as early as the 1500s. This is a fine specimen of a Belgian...looks like grapefruit juice with a huge frothy head. Grapefruit tartness with a black pepper spiciness. Creamy on the palate. Just more damn perfection. 9/10.

3) Abbaye Notre Dame do Scourmont Chimay Cinq Cent. More monks, more beer. Monks are apparently patient enough, what with all that prayin', that they have time to brew amazing beers. This alone; the fact that Belgian monastery-brewed beers are so friggin' good, is absolute evidence of the existence of God. Incontrovertible. 9/10.

4) Ommegang Hennepin. I am stopping just shy of calling this an "orgasm in a bottle" because that could totally be misconstrued to be something like that scene in American Pie with the beer I will instead just say: Oh. My. God. This is a farmhouse saison-style beer. It's an all-American brew from Cooperstown, based on the Belgian farmhouse-style brews. Thick, fluffy head, light, hazy golden body. Honey, pepper and grain on the nose. Lemon, tart, honey, biscuits up front, followed by that lovely, mellow clove taste. The spiciness lingers, and finishes with a dry, nutty taste. Belgians prefer this to even some of their own. 9/10.

5) Bell's Brewery Special Double Cream Stout. Okay, so sometimes names get a little long, sort of like Spanish Imperial Royalty names. Pitch black beer with a coffee-colored head. Sticky lace, smells of sweetened coffee and cinnamon rolls. Thick, creamy mouthfeel with molasses, raisins, coffee and toffee. Gets a bit prickly as it gets warmer, but gets that Bell's oxidization. 7/10.

6) Dragonmead Altbier. Dragonmead is brewing one beer per category for each category in the World Beer Competition. Overachievers. This altbier is a nice dark brown, and is...extremelyt well-balanced. Perfect carmelized sugar, malty sweetness, almost no hops presence. Light carbonation makes this creamy and infinitely enjoyable. This, my friends, is an all-night session beer. It just sits with you, beer after beer. 8/10.

7) Founders Brewing Company Devil Dancer. I love Founders' balanced. This is a great specimen of an American Double IPA. The aroma is just unrelenting hops; resinous, abundant, and in-your-face. They added huge malts, too, to try and tame this hop monster, but they lie in the background crying. Creamy mouthfeel, not at all watery. Not for the weak. Drink it with Indian food ordered extra-hot in an authentic restaurant, and this beer will tame it. 9/10 if you're a hop-head. You wimp.

8) Bell's Brewery Java Stout. The aroma here is just lovely; like fresh coffee from that really good cafe on the corner. Not that generic Starbuck crap, but coffee from that crazy dude who really understands coffee on a spiritual level. The coffee dominates the taste as well, but I also noted blackberry or currants. There is a good amout of bitterness, however it seems to come from both the coffee and the hops. 8/10.

9) Founders Brewing Company Black Rye. Actually softer nose than you'd think; dark rye bread, not much coffee at all. Interesting citrus twang on top of spicey hops, which blend nicely with that rye taste. Ahint of chocolate underneath makes this a truly complex but surprisingly light beer. Not as thick as I'd have guessed. Very drinkable. 8/10.

10) Anchor Brewing Company Anchor Steam. A true American classic, and the beginning of the microbrew revolution. No other brewery in the world brews this kind of beer, so savor and love this, you patriotic, upright citizens. Clean smell, slight sulfur notes and maybe....bubblegum? Heavy carbonation with a complex, raw feel to it. Grain and hops tannin with nicely roasted malt sugariness, with fruitiness. Hops are bitter, but do not at all overshadow the malt sugar. Soft on the palate with a dry finish. Great all-around beer, and one that I use to introduce macro-lager drinkers to the world of micros. 8/10.

I am thrilled silly with the selections in my fridge this week; hope you get the chance to try some.


Beer for Dinner

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Part of my studying for the BJCP is understanding the different tastes in beer, what is supposed to be there, what is a welcome surprise and what is just plain "off."

Part of the way to reach that understanding is to pair beer with food. On Sunday evening, my lovely wife and I hosted a dinner with several of our friends and we"coursed" the dinner with beers. This not only helped me study, but also helped my celebrate MLK Day with a hangover.

Our light whores-duh-ovaries were weat crackers with a dip of cream cheese, cracked black pepper, dill and a little rosemary. We also had shrimp cocktail. The beer for this portion was Michigan Brewing Company's Celis White. Celis White is a Belgian wheat beer; pale yellow, hazy, with a rich head. We found that the sweet, citrusy fruit paired well with the wheat crackers, and the spiciness of the beer handled the cream cheese dip perfectly, playing flavors off of one another. Plus, that great citrus taste went well with the shrimp; sort of life ceviche.

On to dinner. We had a pork loin marinated overnight with Jamaican jerk seasonings and grilled/smoked (yes, in Michigan we still grill in the winter time, even when it's snowing). The jerk seasonings are cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, onions, scallions, vinegar, olive oil, black pepper, garlic and 6 habanero peppers. This was accompanied by a ceasar salad with my wife's wonderful ceasar dressing (garlic, anchovie paste, black pepper, mayo), garlic mashed potatoes, and grilled veggies (zuchini, red, yellow and orange peppers, all sliced and marinated quite simply in olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper). This robust, spicy dinner needed something tough to cut through the strong flavors and stand on its own, but also cleanse the palate between bites so the full flavors could be appreciated. What else can do this but an American IPA? With the boldness and the American hops (Cascade, most notably), only balanced by sweet malts, this beer held its own, cutting through the spice and fat on the pork, the oil of the grilled veggies and the heavy garlic of the potatoes. I served Victory Brewing Cos. Hop Devil Ale. This beer, used for this course, immediately converted a Bud drinker.

Now the best part: dessert! One of our friends brought a chocolate and peanut butter cake. Dear God; rich, thick, creamy and heavy. I served several choices of beers here. Those who picked the Young's Double Chocolate Stout were amazed at how the already huge chocolate in that stout added perfectly to the chocolate of the dish in a perfect marriage. A few more chose the Bell's Batch 7,000, and found that the huge, thick molasses taste played off of the chocolate of the dessert to yield almost what they dedcribed to be a molasses cookie taste with the bittersweet of the beer and the absolute sweetness of the dessert. I chose Founders Breakfast Stout. It was like drinking an Espresso with my dessert; perfect. Bitter coffe to cleanse the palate between each bite of powerful sweetness.

I cracked my two bottles of Hennepin and split it amongst a few who were interested as a nightcap. Sweetness, cloves, pasta, and lemon peel all greeted our tongues, and ewveryone agreed it was a perfectly balanced, nonoe-too-heavy beer with mild carbonation to end the night on; no dry mouth or bitter aftertaste.

The round of emails the next day were appreciative of the effort, glowing in compliments of our dinner dishes, and enthusiastic about trying new beers, and how well they matched with each course.


5th Grade Legislature

Friday, January 06, 2006

I don't know which is more disturbing about this proposed piece of legislation from Missouri: the simple fact that the Missouri legislature is trying to ban cold beer, or the fact that the legislature is taking advice from 5th-graders....



Happy New Year! Time to Brew...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I don't do New Year's resolutions. I never finish them. It makes for cute table talk or icebreakers, though, for the next week or so.

Given that, if I resolve to do anything, New Years or not, it is to brew more beer!

Time to expand horizons. Time to try new things. I am placing orders....what shall I brew this weekend? Russian Imperial Stout? British Bitter? Another American Pale Ale? Chocolate Stout? What'll it be?

First to reply gets 4 bottles of whatever you request.



Potential Drunks

Search This Blog

  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP