Sick Day Content

I was planning on writing about beers I could find in my small-town liquor store in Western Canada, beers that aren’t readily available in the States.

But I’m under the weather, and so I shouldn’t be drinking at all–and, to be honest, I don’t know that I can give you an honest take on beers right now, what with my nose and throat feeling both stuffed and sore. “This beer has a faint aroma redolent of orange juice and vegetarian “chik’n” soup, and possesses a rich mucus mouthfeel, ” are not tasting notes I want to deliver.

So, in lieu of actual content, let me point you to the newspaper of record in the home town of both myself and your regular host. I saw on Facebook that they’re reporting on a website which states that our hometown is one of the most overlooked craft beer cities in the US.

I am happy for my hometown, and have become more pleased over the years to drink the beer there on my visits back. I’m also sad for the Internet, as it is now deceased. I welcome instead the birth of the Metanet, in which there is no original content, merely a vicious recycling and endless regurgitation.

Ahem. Poor choice of words for a sick day.

But really, you should check out the list. Number 3 will surprise you!

Whatever You Say (Hiatus #1)

[I have to admit: this is one of my favorite features of our host’s blog, and I’m eager to continue it in absentia. Maybe because I suggested the idea a long time ago…]

“Solitude is beautiful…when you have someone to say that to.” (Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer)

I am currently on sabbatical from my regular job, which is largely a good thing. I get some time to recover from the very real physical and mental demands of my profession; I get to reflect on my life (in the peak of typical mid-life crisis time); and I get to write about topics that I wouldn’t normally have the time to explore. So it’s largely a win-win: my employers will hope for a regenerated and reenergized Fuz on my return, and I’ll feel like my professional life hasn’t gone in an unsatisfying direction–that I still am doing the kind of work that I trained to do, that I’m still working on complex and fascinating problems that I find relevant.*

The problem with this theory? My place of work is small, and in a small town. So I don’t have a rich life outside of work–nor, for that matter, do I have many friends outside the office. So sabbatical means a withdrawal both figurative and literal. While this means I’ve avoided interminable meetings, it also means that I’ve avoided meetings, contact with other people. Many is the day I don’t bother to get dressed, because I won’t see another human.

Which is why I was happy to have lunch with a colleague today. She, too, is away from work, but for the best of reasons: she has produced a small human, and all without the use of CRISPR. Small Human was fortunately given to dozing, so we were able to visit in peace.**

The beer we visited over? Howe Sound’s Total Eclipse of the Hop. IMG_1582And it was enlightening to hear my colleague speak about–well, many things, to be honest. What I gleaned from our conversation was her nostalgia for this beer she had chosen. Not this exact beer, mind, but this style of beer.  She spoke fondly of Ontario IPAs as the beers she grew up with–which she mentioned were more properly English IPAs, as opposed to the hop-battering NW IPA, or even the murky and citrusy NE IPA. That the Ontario IPAs were more malty, had a stronger body against which the hops were contrasted. And she also mentioned that this was as close as she could get to the beers of her youth, given where we were.

What she was thinking of was a kind of beer that is not quite like what we were having. I haven’t had this particular beer for a while, and I didn’t find it the same as the last time I had it. Given the coloration (see photo) and my history with this beer, I was expecting a richer, more syrupy bottom note that both worked with and against the hoppiness of this DIPA, carrying the notes of the hops, yet muting their harshness. But this time, the notes were too stark–bitter was bitter, the beer was beer, and there was nothing unctuous about the base. That I missed as well.

I also have missed my colleague. It was good to see her.

*Which isn’t to say that my current work isn’t relevant or important. It’s not what I’ve trained to do, however. 

**When awake, Small Human looked like a perpetual reaction GIF. Needless to say, totally adorable. 

What’s in the Back of My Fridge? #1

[Brief programming note: Your regular host is traveling for the next several weeks. I’m his friend Fuz, and I’ll be filling in.]

I’m not the Only Living Boy in New York; I’m not even the only living boy in my apartment. My partner in crime, Mr. Fuz, tends to buy far more beer than he drinks–and his beer choices aren’t usually to my taste. He’s more into beers with a higher sugar content than I am, and he’s a sucker for flavored beers.*

While I do like fruit beers quite a lot**, and I am also fond of stouts and porters, I tend to enjoy the overlap between the two sparingly. It’s challenging to get fruit in beer right, as a general rule, but it does seem there are certain flavors in stouts and porters that would go along well with fruit. Coffee and chocolate make for potent combinations with fruit in desserts (we’ve all had chocolate-covered fruit–and if you’ve never tried a scoop of fruit gelato with a scoop of coffee gelato, you’ve missed something), and so it would seem that those flavors would combine well in beer. However, balancing acts are tricky; we can think of beers whose labels promised much, yet delivered no hint of what was promised–or, conversely, you’re overwhelmed on imbibing with WILDFLOWER.

Cannery Brewing’s Thornless Blackberry Porter  actually delivers the fruit without trapping your palate in a jam jar.***IMG_1576There’s a good balance between the various features of your everyday porter (particularly of note is a soft coffee) and the fruit, which brings a bit more sweetness than I think of in blackberries. (I’m wondering when the blackberries were picked, or how much sugar was added to compensate for their natural tartness.)  The beer has a reasonable amount of hops at 40 IBU–more than your average porter–yet there really wasn’t a trace of them on the tongue.

If I was missing anything from this beer, I’d say it should have been a bit more assertive–a bit more tart or sharp, with the blackberry offering more of a punch. But that would have been a different beer experience, and I’m not sure that I should always have what I want. I’m content with having something like this every now and then.

*There is a crab stout in the back of the fridge, but I was not so brave this evening.

**When your regular blog host and I go out for beer, I tend to throw myself on the sour  fruit beer grenade, so he doesn’t have to.

***Sorry; no picture of a pour. Imagine a good porter pour. Better yet, buy yourself a porter, and pour it into a glass. Then drink it. For science.

Another Rough Amber

Less Awesome Amber aleNose is faintly boozy on this one. A little malt there but not much.

The flavor is sweet and then finishes with the same bite as the last amber. I am holding the yeast responsible for this-two times in a row isn’t coincidence, especially when I’ve brought the malt sugars down.

It’s not undrinkable, though. It’s just not what I wanted and it doesn’t encourage more sips: it’s a One And Done (with this).

Brew Date: 8.12.18

Steeping grains
5 lb toasted pale
.75 lb Caramunich, Encore, Munich, Opal 44

Fermentables: 4 lb Light Malt Extract

Hops:  .72 oz US Fuggle, Loral @60

Yeast: Imperial Barbarian (3rd use)

OG: 1.075

FG: 1.01

Into secondary: 8/29
Bottle: 9/3

ABV: 8.8%

Finally: I’m going to be out of town for two weeks.

But not to worry! A friend has agreed to step in and provide content for me while I am gone. Yay, content!

So thanks to him, and I’ll be stepping back into the  saddle in 14 days!