Wife will birth Child in approximately 2 weeks, our first. We’re ready. On a totally unrelated note, my beer consumption has gone up “slightly“.
If my fridge were a hotel for beer it would be a motel (hotel motel holiday innnnnnnnn) - one of those pay by the hour places with too many mirrors. And not because my fridge is sleazy (click here if your looking for something cheap and sleazy). The beers check in, and then just like that, they check out, and all the rooms are empty and my childhood nightmares as a failed inn-keeper rise to the surface. My eyes get wet and shiny, and Wife strokes my hair while she asks if I need to go to that special hospital for overly self-absorbed idiots to get my prescription filled. That special hospital she is referring to is called Wegman’s, a fancy grocery store for yuppies that drive cars that fly and other fancy non-American auto-craft, and the prescription that needs filling is good beer, of which Wegman’s offers an alright selection of six packs and bombers. I consider myself an aspiring yuppy, perhaps even nouveau-yuppe, for those of you that speak French or have read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
One beer I have been enjoying lately is Southern Tier’s 2XIPA (8.2% ABV). The label says double IPA, but it drinks awfully easy, like a good single IPA. The beer is pretty yellow coming out of the bottle with a hop taste that is more citrus than pine, and a finish that is real easy and clean with a nice malt balance. Not that this beer is anything that blows your mind, hops or flavor, but it is just a solid, balanced, tasty IPA that doesn‘t destroy your palate, in other words - doesn’t make my dinner taste weird. It has been my “one and done” beer after work this past week and it has been a good week.
And now a quick side story on the first time I tried Southern Tier’s 2XIPA that I will start at the end and work towards the beginning (because somebody has been watching Christopher Nolan movies):
I was already bit buzzed (white people talk for “drunk at dinner”) but wanted to finish the night with something hoppy - a bookend to the wings I started the night with and the mussels I was still enjoying. The tap list at Union Jack’s had 3 IPA’s, 2 of which I already had (not this particular night), only one of which I really enjoyed, so I went with something new.
This something new turned out to be Southern Tier’s 2XIPA. It was exactly what I was looking for. There is no better feeling than satisfaction, with one exception - the absolute best feeling is waking up from a dream starring someone that you haven’t seen in way too long - someone that you’ve almost forgotten just how much you miss them. They visit in a dream and you talk and hang out and it is just like things would be if things had turned right instead of left at those big moments that have gotten to where you are right now. And you wake with a pure smile and a warmth independent of reality, independent of happy or sad that can only exist while you cross that fuzzy bridge between asleep and awake. Later in the day, this dream will make you think some version of “Goddamnit” - happy that you had it, sad that it ended, maybe a little angry at your not sure what.
(Dreams like this and impending births have slowed my beer blog mind to crawl, prompting me to consider starting both “Dream on my shirt…” and “Birth on my shirt…” blogs.)
I had a dream like this a few weeks ago. Oddly enough it occurred almost exactly one month after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. More importantly, I had a beer like this to start the night at Union Jack’s: Stone’s 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale.
The story behind the Stone’s Vertical Epic Ale’s is worth mentioning. Each year they make a bottled conditioned beer - basically meaning your supposed to put it on a shelf and let it age - with the goal of opening one from each year sometime after December 12th, 2012, and then enjoy them in a vertical tasting comparing them to one another. A pretty cool idea that you can read more about that at the Stone website. The 09.09.09 is a Belgian porter with spices, a style of beer I had never tried before. I’ve also read it referred to as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, of which the only other I’ve drank of that style is the Troeg’s Mad Elf, a sweet honey and cherry holiday ale that I really enjoy. I would not compare this to Mad Elf at all other than that they are both beers you must try if given the chance.
The Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic (8.6% ABV) was maybe the best beer I’ve ever had. At first glance it looked and smelled like a Russian Imperial Stout (I‘m planning a future post about those types of beers, hopefully very soon). It had hints of chocolate, coffee, maybe even a toffee sweetness or dried fruit. It reminded a lot of some of the stouts and porters I had been drinking this winter in that it seemed to possess all of their good qualities with out any of the negatives. The hop balance was great for the flavor, not overpowering like some of the stouts that try and get hoppy, and the roastiness of the malt just sealed the deal. Absolutely superb. I said some version of “Goddamnit” after every sip. This beer was so good I ordered another, and then another. And I never play three of kind when I’m a place with a crazy selection.
Now for some more bad news - I tried Sam Adam’s Latitude 48 IPA at a crowded indoor beer event. It was rather off-putting, the beer and the event. In fact, the Latitude 48 was oddly terrible. I didn’t bother finishing my 5 ounce sample. That’s right, I poured it out. And I’m not a Sam Adam’s hater.
In order to close on a positive note, I will mention Troeg’s Nugget Nectar - their current seasonal. It is a hoppy imperial amber ale that is pretty tastey and great with the Spring weather. If you see it on tap, order it and tell them Beer on my shirt sent you.