If I have a favorite thing about winter, it’s that I get to walk around outside like some kind of dark force, steeled against the cold and rain. These elemental forces mean nothing to me; I am walking to get a beer. It’s all very noir detective, yes, yes, but let me have it.
I made my way to the Horse Brass, with my girlfriend and saw that I was a day ahead of their Chimay celebration, which is probably for the best. Being tempted by very expensive and tasty beer is not the way to experience the noir-detective drinking-writer winters. As it stands, I’ll be losing an element of the noir when the smoking ban goes into effect, however I’m hard pressed to believe that this is a bad thing.
My first selection was Alpenbrew ESB by Double Mountain. It was a drinkable beer, but not entirely memorable. The menu described it as a session beer, and truly it qualified as such; I could drink a few pints of this without knowing I’d done so. My mood asked for something else however so I moved on.
Seasonal Affected Disorder Porter by Clinton Street Brewing, was, and I hate to say this, awful. It had a chalky mouthfeel, followed by a sour tasted and finished by a burnt bitterness. I was thankful I’d moved from pints to glasses, because I couldn’t imagine drinking an entire pint of this beer, even if I was thirsty. I downed it quickly, once I’d gotten a real glimpse of the flavors, and hoped to forget.
Our waitress came by and was surprised I’d finished my beer so quickly, exclaiming, “I guess you really liked it.” I gently explained that I really, really did not. She went wide eyed in sympathy and surprise, as apparently the beer was selling very well. She suggested Walking Man’s Octopus brew (with 8 kinds of malts and 8 hops), which I took her up on, and found it to be a vast improvement. Thank you helpful waitress!
I spent my day transcribing Hafiz poems so I would have a place to remember them. Hafiz is good for a Monday; kindly poems about love and God seem to make those 6 a.m. wakeups easier. Oh, sure I did work as well, but who cares about that? Now I have a bock, and the day is over.
My shoulders ache far more than they ought to. I am thinking the ergonomics of my workspace is probably not a positive setup.
Fortunately, beer is a cure for aching muscles. (This statement has not been approved by anyone with authority.) The Heater Allen Hugo bock has a woody scent to it, almost like a fresh cut cedar. The flavors though are a little strange. My initial sips gave me something touched with woodsmoke and salt–which is about as unexpected a flavor as you could think of in a beer. Undaunted I kept drinking, as the picture evidences. (I tried to get another impression of the nose on this beer and ended up snorting a little liquid–do not do this. It hurts.)
The beer looses its head quickly, and has a very smooth mouthfeel that makes it easy to drink. There’s also a smoked flavor at the end that becomes a bit more pronounced as this warms up. However, nearly halfway through my pint I just cant say I’m fond of this beer. I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t gel with me. It feels like there are good elements here, but they don’t quite mesh.
It gets dark so quickly; the transition from 4p.m. to 4:30p.m. is a quick one. Pinkish skies are blotted out by cloud cover and sundown, with city lights starting to clamor for attention. I am queerly not in the mood to be alone; there seems to be a great deal to accomplish today, and I still have not mastered the trick of just sitting and enjoying myself. Perhaps that will be the goal for next week: to just be and enjoy. Or maybe I ought not to fight to relax, and just see what comes.
I might even add a pic to this later, if I remember to download things from the camera.
I had forgotten my lunch today, and I’d heard good things about Rock Bottom’s Blitzen belgian ale, so I figured: what the heck? And off I went.
First the good: the beer was very tasty. A belgian ale to be certain, but it had a citrius bite at the end of it to keep the sweetness in check and boy did I feel like having another sip of it when that was done. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was being forced to endure a soulful reggae song. By this I mean; some reggae song with the buttery pop slickness of modern soul. And boy, did I hate it. My hatred did not disappear when the lame country song crooned by some woman who I’m sure lost her man or her dog or her Vibro 5000 pushed it’s way through the speakers into my ears like some kind of horrific infection.
But beer: good!
Also; the Havana Melt I ate; tasty. Ham and cheese and a spicy tomato garlic topping with spicy mustard; all very good.
The bad: regge. And pretty much any music there. See paragraph three. Also; the fries were terrible. Never get the fries again, self. They are not hot and they are coated in pepper. If I want pepper on my french fries, I can add it myself.
As I paid my bill, there was a truly wrong version of Jingle Bells interpreted by a reggae band. I was glad to leave, but seriously thought about taking the beer with me, just to rescue it from being drank by Philistines.
It is, for the first time, dark and starting to rain as I type this. I honestly expected the weather to be much worse sooner but December is here and gloom has settled over the city. Finally.
I’m drinking Wild River’s Double Eagle Imperial Stout, and it’s very good. Oh yes. It is good. A touch hotter than I would expect from a stout; even at 7.6%, there’s a burbony alcohol flavor there that is quickly covered up by slightly burnt chocolate.
Thanksgiving was a winner I’m proud to say and I hope it was for my readers as well. My Dad came up to visit and he was able to try a great many of the beers I’d been making for the past year. With the exception of the Cheswick clone that I’d made, they all aged quite nicely and tasted pretty good. It was my Dad who bought me the starter kit to start homebrewing, so it’s only just that he get to taste some of the spoils sometimes. That he’s stuck in a hellhole far from family and friends is unfortunate on multiple levels so his visit was, in the newspeak, doubleplus good.
I am recalling the positive in order to negate speaking of a Monday that started off askew and never quite found itself again. December has begun with a rough push, like being awoken by chainsaws, but why presume that it will stay that way?
I’ve got a good beer, I’ve got stout at home to bottle, a pale and Demon Alcohol to manage (updates soon) and a belgian ale to make with serious hops. With some bitterness to balance out the sweetness of those belgian yeasts, I expect a wonderful beer. In time.
So; no point in being dreary, yes? Darkness has come upon the city, and I do enjoy going outside under these circumstances and stalking the city, weather be damned. My beer smells a little like brownies now, and really, how can that ever be a bad thing?
It is sometimes hard to be hopeful at the end of a year, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway. We’ll see how that works out in the coming weeks together.