Throwing snowballs

While most of the city remained paralyzed by the weather, I got up, stepped aboard a bus and went downtown to work. As I was the only one in the office though, the place closed up early; noon on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and I’m not one to stick around if I don’t have to. The afternoon busses don’t run as frequently as the morning ones though, especially with the road conditions being icy, so instead of standing in the cold I decided I would walk home.

All along my path, pristine snowpiles tempted my gloves, and soon I was grabbing fistfuls of snow, torquing my hands clockwise and counter, just to get a solid ball. I haven’t made snowballs in ten years, since I left Spokane for Portland and I haven’t had a reason to make them since I was in grade school, ambushing girls on the way home. They would return the favor, and winter became a came of cat and mouse between me and Jeanette and Jenny, to see who could catch whom unawares. 

But snowball season comes rarely to Portland, so I was going to take advantage. Every parked car I could take a shot at, I did; the snowballs creating perfect circles of impact when they hit, long cones of destruction when they miss. The hollow thunk made when I hit a dumpster, or the popping sound that comes from striking a building, the calculations I kept making to hit the next target when I miss: Higher next time. Plant your feet. Don’t sidearm if you want to get it that far. Be careful; it’s slick. Square your shoulders. Too hard; but it’s nice to know you can get it across the street. 

I was carrying far too much on my back; my shoulders ached like the muscles were tearing and I was starting to get a headache. No busses were coming along to take me home. It was time to stop for a beer. 

Epic Ale
Epic Ale

I dropped into Roots brewery. I still had forty blocks to walk if a bus didn’t come by, so I asked if I could get a glass instead of a pint, and when the barkeep said I could, I asked for their Epic ’07 ale. She gave me a small grin as she told me that this beverage only came in a glass, and that’s when I saw the description on the chalkboard: 14% ABU. 

Boy howdy you would not know it. The beer tasted like a banana that had been flambeed in rum. Roasted sugars, and not a hint of alcohol warmth, but good for the cold weather. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even close to being cold; I’d just trekked from downtown across icy sidewalks, and I could feel the sweat coming down my face. I wiped my brow with a napkin and went across the street to the Lucky Lab.

There were a few choices that appealed to me there, but when I asked about the Malt Bomb, the barkeep said, “Let me pour you a taste, because it’s hard to describe.” While he did that, I read the writeup posted on the taps. Apparently this beer is the third in a series; the hops and malts were kept the same, but the first time they used belgian yeast, the second german yeast, and this time american ale yeast. 

Malt Bomb
Malt Bomb

I wish I’d known they were doing this experiment, because I would love to know how these other beers stacked up. This beer had no yeast presence at all, and very little hops that I could tell. It was all caramel, with a pleasingly cutting fizzy mouthfeel. The finish left my mouth bitter, like the aftertaste of chocolate when the sugar is almost all gone. It suited me much better; a more quenching beer for someone about to make a long slog over ice to get home.

 

I threw snowballs the whole way home, and then did something I hadn’t done in a long, long time:

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2 thoughts on “Throwing snowballs”

  1. Gotta love Epic!

    I’ve tried all three of the Lucky Lab Malt Bombs. The Malt Bomb Belgian was the first, and it was so sweet and tasty that it won the peoples’ choice vote at the Cheers to Belgian Beers festival this year (writeup here). I loved it.

    The Malt Bomb Lager was also quite tasty, though it didn’t bowl me over as much as the Belgian did. The M.B. Ale seemed totally forgettable to me.

  2. That’s a pretty good writeup, Bill. Wish I’d had a chance to try the previous incarnations, but you gave me a glimpse of them.

    It may have been the circumstances, but I really liked the ale; after grinding my way from Downtown, I really needed a beer, you know? Maybe I’ll try it again under less strenuous cirucmstances.

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