30 April 2007

The Exciting Ride to Hell

Thanks to a couple of exciting pieces of news last Thursday afternoon (new car! promotion! gratuitous use of exclamation points!), I arrived at Shallo's a bit bouncy and a bit behind schedule. I settled in quietly with a Brooklyn Brewery 2006 Winter Ale (the warm-up beer of choice, it appeared) while Jim Schembre of World Class Beverages gave an incredibly interesting discussion about the mechanics of craft beer distribution here in Indiana.

I'll admit, I'm next to clueless when it comes to the technical aspects of craft beer. I know what I like, I'm lucky enough to have easy access to it (thank you, Hop Shop!) and my friends are all pretty well versed in the good beer realm. But Jim's statistics on precisely how much of a death grip the Bud/Miller/Coors trifecta has on our state were eye-opening. Thanks to folks like World Class Beverages, though, the market hold is shrinking and more people are starting to be exposed to the good stuff. Easy does it, I suppose.

So back to the (yeah, I'll say it) exciting stuff: the beer! My Brooklyn Winter Ale was a bit underwhelming. I was expecting more of a spicy, wassail-type nose. Unlike Jason, I like that type of thing. :) And like Jim, I was expecting a little more... something... to make it rival the other BB brews I've had in the past.

After finishing up the discussion with Mr. Schembre (and scoping the awesome calendars he gave us!), we settled in for a round of the Bell's Hell Hath No Fury Ale.


The dark glass I was handed was certainly not what I was expecting-- totally opaque, very thin head that dissipated almost instantly. I could smell the toasty, malty smell before I even got my nose near the glass, so like Jim, I was expecting a pretty bracing and snappy beer. Not so with this one-- it went down smoothly with a lot of coffee, caramel, and a bit of spice and fruit.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the malty-type beers, and haven't yet garnered the appreciation for the hoppy end of the spectrum like my KOTBR counterparts. So this beer, with its drinkability, it's unusual taste and distinctive smell, was the perfect thing for me on a happy spring evening. I give it 3.5 mugs, with another .5 mug for the completely awesome server who name-dropped with me about people we both knew from my hometown.

Now that's exciting!

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