Out with the gang: distractions

Last weekend was spent playing cards again at Produce Row, I first requested Elysian’s peppercorn saison. A fine beer it was, undoubtedly inspired by last year’s Apocalypse series. Very light and with only a hint of pepper flavors, which took a long time to really get a hold of my tongue and start insisting on taking up residence.

I know this because my second request was for Double Mountain’s Clusterfuck IPA, the beer in the photograph. Which I was very, very disappointed in; it tasted weird and thin, and had no nose to speak of. I was quite confused but I was also in the middle of some games so I couldn’t pay attention to what, precisely, was wrong.

And then the pepper flavor made itself utterly known and I realized I’d been given the wrong beer. By then, of course, I was 2/3rd finished with my glass and I couldn’t legitimately ask for a replacement.

So I had to settle for a third glass of beer. Heartbreaking, I know but it does offer proof that a full pint of the Elysian peppercorn may not be for me. A glass: excellent. Pint: too much.

On the other hand, the Clusterfuck ale was really underwhelming. I was told that the beer was made using exclusively Citra hops so I was expecting quite a bit more citrus punch but it just wasn’t there. Neither the nose or the finish really made a strong statement. I don’t know if Citra hops aren’t cut out to be all purpose hops, if I just needed a pint in order to get a pour that had a head on the beer, or if somethingĀ  else was going on. Double Mountain generally does good stuff so I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt but perhaps this beer was a misfire.

On the upside, I’m starting to get better at taking photos with my iPad.

Mild, Take 2

Although the last mild came up a little strong, this one is much closer to what I was looking for. And it’s ready just in time for the heat!

There’s two distinct parts to this mild; the first is the nose, which thanks to the Ringwood yeast strain, echos the kind of Belgian funkiness you might get from from a much different beer. Interestingly, this flavor doesn’t appear anywhere else in the mild, so I get the benefit of adding complexity without kicking up the alcohol content.

The other part is the hop bitterness at the finish. That lingers a little longer than I think it ought to. It’s not bad but I think the Glacial hops overrode any other hop flavors that might have stuck around at the end. It’s not bad, just a quality that I felt should be noted.

All in all, a pretty good beer for summer though. Not too heavy and with something interesting to taste: I’ll call this one a win.

Date: 5.18.13

Steeping Grains:
2 lb 2 Row
2 lb Munich
1 lb C30

Fermentables: 2 lb LME

.25 oz Glacial (added in preboil)
1 oz Glacial (pellets) @ 60
.5 oz Citra pellets @ 60
.25 oz Palasade @ 60
.25 oz Palasade @ 30
.5 oz Glacial @ 10

reuse Ringwood, 3rd use, done

OG: 1.046

FG: 1.009

Secondary on 5. 24, added .5 oz Glacier
Bottled 6.1.13

ABV 5.01%

Drinking With Men (review)

Dad turned me on to Rosie Schaap’s book, Drinking With Men and after a bit of dawdling, I finally got around to reading it.

I think I’d like to drink with Ms. Schaap. She seems cool.

That said, the book seems to split it’s time between her personal experience and the bars she has inhabited throughout the years and it suffers a little bit for that. When she’s able to speak about her experience in full, it’s very captivating but in many of the middle chapters, I got the sense that there was something not being discussed and it felt a little off as a result of that.

I understand why this might be the case: not every experience in life is worth exposing to an audience. Certainly, some events may not always relate to the top and I appreciate Schaap’s desire to keep private things private, or focus onĀ  her topic, depending on how you want to think about it. Unfortunately, the emotional resonance that is needed to make the place she’s talking about compelling becomes more like an echo than a voice and occasionally I felt like: I guess I had to be there. This comes on especially strong in one of the last chapters of the book, where she describes herself weeping in a taxi and I didn’t know why she was upset.

On the other hand, she’s quite good at giving a sense of place and what may draw people in towards that place. The community that reels someone towards a pub over and over is always present, even if it is in the background. When she’s able to combine the place with her life, as she was in the chapter involving the Fish pub and her experiences right after 9/11/01, I really understood why people would take to a spot and make it their own.

I don’t know that Drinking With Men is quite as compelling for me as Pete Hamill’s A Drinking Life was, but Schaap is a solid writer who knows how to keep things moving, never overstaying at any one joint or leaving the reader bored. I liked it and say it’s worth your time.