I’ll Have Whatever You Say #13.b

john's marketPrior to arrival, I hit up John’s Market with the girlfriend to find my selections for dinner. My reasoning is threefold; First, the selection is broad and I don’t get out there much, second, it’s close to where I’m having dinner and third, they sell wine, which the girlfriend wants instead of beer.

I know; she should leave me. But for now our wine-beer compromise has worked.

First up I got 10 Barrel’s Apocalypse IPA. I liked it quite a bit but my host found it acceptable. Maybe I’ve just had so many malty brews lately that the glories of a solid IPA are more attractive. Juxtaposition counts, you know? The Apocalypse was an affordable and tasty beer that was a welcome relief from the overwhelming

Next I brought out the Strong Ale from Fire Mountain. The food was on the table-Lebanese dishes-and it’s possible that this beer was just a touch too strong for the food. Still, it was very malty and a good counterbalance to some of the spicier elements. I really liked the beer so I want to try it again by itself.

I also brought a barleywine from Southern Tier but the evening was getting late, so I didn’t get to try it and Elysian’s Dragontooth Stout, which I foolishly dropped outside, breaking the bottle.

Ah well.

I’ll have whatever you say #12

Rock Bottom Imperial IPAI don’t see much discussion about Rock Bottom’s brews and there are a few reasons for that, I think. First, it’s a chain and beer geeks instinctively distrust a chain. Second, the business tends to de-emphasize the brewing part. There’s a stage for bands, TVs all over the bar to watch sports and it’s a restaurant as well. Finally, as far as I know, they don’t bottle or distribute their beer anywhere outside of the restaurant.

I think that all of these things contribute to RB’s lesser standing, however that doesn’t detract from quality of the beers there.

I dawdle before finding a place to sit. There are chairs available but they are surrounded by people. Are they available? Is it OK for me to sit down in the crowd? Because bus rules generally dictate giving people as much space around you as possible.

But; nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I ask an older guy if the chair is taken and when he says it isn’t, I ask him what he’s drinking. He’s got a Mug Club glass in front of him, so I can tell he’s a semi-regular.

“It’s a pale ale, but you know. I’m driving,” he says. “It’s good but they have some great beers here to try.”

“So what would you recommend?”

“Oh, the seasonal, there’s an IPA, I think…” he says, looking around. He sounds like a Jimmy Stewart imitation but I don’t mean that in a mean way. He’s friendly and casual. We look about until I see the 16th Anniversary Imperial IPA on cask.

“That?” I ask, pointing to the keg. He nods vigorously.

So I have it. And it’s smooth and delicious. It’s a really good beer that people ought to try. Well balanced, maybe just shy of the bitterness someone might expect from an IPA but what do I know? Try it for yourself. It’s good.

He and I talk football. We talk travel. He’s been to Okinawa, he has a daughter in Tokyo, teaching english. He likes to hike and cross country ski and he likes a good pint of beer. He’s been up to Mount Hood and he’s not above having a beer that’s just OK when that’s what’s available. He’s lived in the south, Louisiana, and since I’ve visited we talk about the wonders of the South; beautiful landscape and the chance to experience nature.

We talk sports albeit briefly and college athletics for a little bit. I try not to let my opinions get in the way of listening to him, because I’d rather listen to him.

It’s a good night.

Men’s Room Red

mens room red bottleI dig this beer. First, I like that logo. I know, there’s cliche all over the place but it’s fun and there’s still plenty of room in the beer world for fun.

Second, I like the concept. Elysian seems to be doing some cool tribute beers (I’m thinking of the Loser here) and this brew, connected to the Men’s Room radio show helps support military families through the Fisher House. So that’s a win.

Finally, I like the beer as a beer. It’s a good red with some nice bitterness at the end but hearty malty goodness to give it a bunch of spine. At 5.6% ABV it’s strong enough to be ‘manly’ (I can’t quite convey irony with that yet so you’ll just have to accept a parenthetical) but not so powerful that you can’t have a few.

And I got it as a gift for Thanksgiving from a friend. So it’s a win all around.