Respite 39/Second Pint GfM

34986044771_bcee9a91a0_cAgainst The Grain’s Tex-Arcana, which is a Belgian stout inspired by Dr Pepper, catches my eye. 23 ingredients, exclaims the description.

Eh, I don’t taste it. This definitely has a Belgian yeast note, which skews the beer unpleasantly. The rest of what I’m picking up is coffee flavors with a side of Belgian cloying sweet. I’m very glad I got a short pour, as I’m considering gulping it down so I don’t have to endure this beer for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

All my other choices we’re too boring or too reliable, though, which is weird to say. However, I know that I will probably like the offering by Modern Times. I know that I won’t have an interesting take on Pliny the Elder.

Well…sometimes you risk and you win. Sometimes you risk and you lose. Most of the time it’s about even.

It’s too loud in here, today. Too many shouted voices-one table is laughing too loud, the other having a debate on immigration-and it’s been a pretty heavy week, in my mind. I can’t recall living in a city hit so recently by a terrorist incident-and let’s not mince words, those men last week were murdered by a white power terrorist-but the undercurrent of dread is one that I can’t slough off.

Couple that with watching my country visibly go from the “leader of the free world” to a status that is mocked, via leadership that is cruel and stupid in under a week and I find myself less tolerant of human company.

Part of me wants to shout at them, just to get everyone to shut the hell up for a moment. We’re living through a crisis, right? Perhaps a more somber tone is called for?

However, I am reminded of something my friend Miranda says often: “Any little bit of joy”, and I cannot find it in myself to quash someone’s moment. They are with friends, they are together.

Together is how we are going to make it. I’d rather encourage that then extinguish it.

This second pint goes towards the fund for the girls who survived last week’s MAX attack.

Common Ales: Scotch Ales. Sorta

So I was telling my friend Noah that I’d had Gigantic’s scotch ale recently and thought it was good, but seen a fellow OBC member talk about Fort George’s scotch ale and thought it would be cool to compare them.

“I’m in for that,” he said and so we began a short quest to drink Scotch ales and compare them.

Here are our impressions:

33702901823_5bea06f7a1_cWalking Man; High Road Scotch Ale- a little smoke on the nose but nothing offputting. Noah points out that the sweet flavor is is very similar to the Innis, but that this beer is better balanced. He’s right; the sweet qualities in this beer are¬†very similar but the roast note, with maybe a touch of peat? on the end keep this beer in check in a very appealing manner.

Innis & Gunn; Oak aged scotch ale- It’s sweet. It’s light, yes, and there’s a touch of smokey malt on the finish but we are agreed that “that’s very weird”. For me, there’s something cloying about this beer and I don’t like it. Noah is a bit more forgiving but he isn’t inclined to buy it again, either.

34513423255_71a093a120_cOrkney; Skull Splitter- there are a lot more hops on the nose-a bit spicy, and it pays out on the finish too, with a bitterness that overshadows the smokey malt quality. It plays out much lighter than the Walking Man, and a bit more quaffable. We are agreed, however, that this beer has the most Dwarven name ever. I mean-how can you not picture this ale being made by denizens of Middle-Earth?

Gigantic: Mons Meg- this beer is emphasizing the roasted qualities more than the others but it is far and away the best ale of the night. We both agree on that. What’s also interesting is that we agree that the higher ABV beers work better. Our conjecture is that the sweetness of the alcohol helps offset the smokey notes.

And that was it. I went looking for the Fort George beer but couldn’t find it-I was told that the Plaid was their seasonal and they’d moved on to a saison. All that effort to compare beers and we didn’t even get to try the one I wanted to try.

Until…we met up at the Upper Lip to play some Magic. For whatever reason, the taplist just wasn’t grabbing me so I sauntered up to the fridge to see what bottles and cans were available…when I saw out of the corner of my eye a very distinctive orange pattern.

Well, son of a gun. A late contender! So I bought us two cans on the spot.

34600117105_a41ac42639_cFort George: Plaid-¬† There’s a strong chocolate note, a lot like a brown ale but with something to distinguish it from a brown ale; weight. There’s a slicker viscosity to this beer than a brown would have. Still pretty dang tasty, similar to Walking Man’s submission. Noah more or less agrees; the beer is pretty good but for him fairly different than the other beers he had. He picks up a more smokey toasty quality on the finishing malts, distinguishing it from the others, though he still liked it.