From the Ale Evangelist’s desk – Sermon Snippets and Review Bits

Wow, I’ve been busy the last week or so.  We’ve been putting a new roof on the ol’ residence, and it seems like there’s been one thing after another to worry about lately, and I’ve not had a chance to write full reviews or posts since……WHOA!  Last week!  As William Wallace’s uncle said in Braveheart, “Well, that’s something we shall have to remedy, isn’t it?”

Concerning Roofing and Beer – Review Bits

There are some who would say that drinking beer and roofing are not activities that go together.  These people would be right in a big way.  However, I can think of no finer activity than drinking a fine ale after a long day of roofing.  I’ve done some of that over the last week.  These are some review snippets:

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale – You heard me. MAPLE….BACON…..ALE.  Now, I have spoken to some individuals that have expressed the opinion that this is a weird combination.  It most certainly is.  But it has more in common with historic beer styles than you might initially think.  For one, bacon is smoky, and rauchbier (smoke beer) is a style that has been around for hundreds of years. The rauchbier is made with malt which has been smoked over wood and/or peat, and it’s not very good.  Ok, that’s just my opinion, and I am willing to be proved wrong, but it’s not my favorite style.  Maple lends a sweetness, of course, which melds well into the sweetness of a malty ale. Is it carried off here?  Mostly, yes. When the beer is too cold, all you get is the smoke on the front and through the finish.  A little bit of tangy bacon flavor on the tongue, but nothing huge.  As the beer warms, the maple is brought out more in the nose, but still doesn’t make a huge appearance in the flavor profile.  So while I’d call this unique brew a success, it lacks a little.  I expected the beer to be bigger and more in-your-face.  Still, if you like maple, bacon, and fine ale, you really ought to try this if you can lay your hands on a bottle.  I hope to be writing a longer review soon, maybe tonight.

Taurino – This beer is intended to be consumed as cold as possible.  I can vouch for this because you really don’t want to taste this stuff.  In a moment of weakness, I accepted 4 or so of these from my neighbor, and aside from making me really have to wiz a lot, it didn’t do much for me.  I guzzled them as quickly as possible while having a seriously fun conversation with my neighbor.  The times were good, the beer, not so much.  I recommend this if you need to throw large, cylindrical objects at people you don’t like.  I then gave my neighbor a taste of Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’ from Lagunitas, and he made a very funny face.

Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’This beer is intended to defy classification.  Not overly malty, but 7.5% abv. Not overly hoppy, but definitely possessing more of a kick than your average pale. Definitely not dark, but tasting complex, wheaty, malty.  Not a full-on wheat beer, but possessing some wheat.  Lagunitas even puts a humorous discussion of the beer’s lack of official “style” on the bottom of the six-pack.  What I CAN tell you about this beer is it pours a golden straw color, has a nice hop profile in the aroma, possesses that Lagunitas similarity of flavor that is present in all of their truly awesome beers, and packs a nice, alcoholic punch that might sneak up on you if you’re not expecting it. Easy drinking if you know what to expect, but don’t expect the style to give you any clues.  I’ve got one more of these in the fridge waiting to be reviewed more in-depth.

Concerning Bitterness – Sermon Notes

Every couple of months, I get the urge to write a detailed treatise on the benefits of cultivating an appreciation of bitterness, but I might leave that one to the Minister of Mixology for another day.  I will give you a couple thoughts.

First off, the American beverage industry doesn’t want you even thinking about bitterness.  I don’t know why.  One of my favorite (mostly) non-alcoholic libations is tonic water with a couple dashes of either Angostura, Angostura orange, or Regan’s orange bitters. The quinine flavorings (read: bitterness) of the tonic water are jarring at first, but as they fade into the background, they provide a nice base of flavor to the slight sweetness of the tonic and bitters mixture.  However, you’re not going to find this in a can on the shelf at your grocery store.  If it’s not sugar-syrup sweet, they’re not going to add it to carbonated water and call it soda, pop, or whatever fizzy sweetness is called in your neck of the woods.

This seems a tragedy to me, but I can’t think of a good, logical reason excepting that bitterness is one of only 5 flavors that your tongue can actually detect. Another reason is the immense amount of flavors present in something like an IPA, which you’ll miss if you don’t drink simply because it is bitter. The pine-resin, cut grass, citrus, floral, and herbal notes are some of the most refreshing aromas and flavors in beer, and you’ll wrinkle your nose and pass just because of a little (or a lot of) bitterness?  This is definitely sad.

Not my area of expertise, but another thing you’ll miss out on are some great cocktails like the sazerac, a well-made old-fashioned, etc.  There are some great flavors to be found in whiskeys, gin, and yes, Campari.  (Talk about bitter.  HOO BOY!)  Anyhoo…I don’t have any grand unifying thought or edifying observation to tie this mini-rant together.  Bitterness is something worth cultivating an appreciation for, in my opinion.  It’s not something that just happens for most people.  It takes some work, some grimaces, and some dedication.  But honestly, if you’re going to be dedicated to something not related to the elimination of world hunger, can you think of anything better than booze?  Maybe you can, but booze is still awesome.

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