07 April 2011

KOTBR #124 - In Tribute

I guess we should point out that Jason mixed his beer with Mussel broth. And it looked like this. Jason really liked that broth. But not so much in his beer.

This is BEER TAP

Hello everybody. This is Nigel Tufnel. Pay no attention to my crotch. No, that isn’t a cucumber wrapped in aluminum foil, unlike Derek.

I’m often asked what I would do if I couldn’t be a rock star. Well, I like drinking beer, so, I suppose I could, uh, work in a place that makes that sort of, uh, product. Those guys don’t work much, right?

Now, most beers that I drink, see, they go up to ten. But I like it when beers can go up to eleven. Well, it's one better, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be brewing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your beers. Where can you go from there? Where?

Nowhere. What I like is, if I need a beer with that extra push over the cliff, I like to put it up to eleven. If I made beer, they’d all go up to eleven.

For example, I’m sitting in this little place, right? Not quite a pub but it had beer and it had music. Not rock music. Not any songs like “Lick My Love Pump”. Music that is more like that group that features that knob Alan Fucking Barrows. What are they called? The Folksmen. Talk about a might blow.

Anyway, I’m in this place, and they have this beer called Ard Ri, and I’m thinking, yeah, you know, its got some nice flavors. A bunch of flavors actually. Its kinda boozy, it has a bit of a bitter bite, right? If the Druids made beer, I bet this is what it would taste like. But then I try the Bourbon Barrel Ard Ri.

Eleven. The beer was fuckin’ eleven. It’s like all the flavors were melded. It was nice and smooth. It was like going from a little Stonehenge to the real thing. You know, the big one with all the stones.

So we went down the street to what I thought was a titty bar. They had light fixtures that looked like titties. And pictures of naked ladies on the wall. It had brass pole in its name. So I ordered a “Moules Frites”, thinking it was French for a lap dance. What did I get? A pot of fishy, shelly things and French fucking fries. This place was the D minor of strip clubs. Sad.

I ordered up a beer, a pilsner, expecting an American piss beer. I was surprised to find a beer that tasted good. I thought, how could they turn this up to eleven? Poplar syrup. I learned that from our first drummer. That was all they found was a bottle of poplar syrup.

Well, I think that I turned it up to 12 or 13 when I added the syrup. Sometimes it’s best not to turn it up too much. It was too…eleven, you know? It was kinda scary. Like the Armadillo in my trouser.

I ordered up a beer called black. And like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black. But I tried adding just a little poplar syrup to it. And that was nice. It was definitely eleven.

I would have ordered another beer, but I saw that it was called “Goat Fucker”. What the hell kind of bar did I walk into?

Don't read this book. Well, read it if you find it sitting around, I guess, but don't put any stock in what it says. Old Bob Klein gave Bell's Amber a flat zero. He gave Sam Adams Triple Bock the highest score in the book. Bob's had one or two too many, apparently.

A Tribute to The Godfather

Nearly five years ago, a young man with a love of craft beer, lipstick lesbians, and Tennessee football decided that he wanted to spread the gospel to his fellow Hoosiers. Not the gospel of lipstick lesbians or Tennessee football—the gospel of craft beer.

So the young man started a blog. He was a welcoming and warm-hearted soul, so it was no surprise when a friend joined him to help him with his craft beer evangelism. Soon thereafter, another friend joined him. And then others followed these two friends until the blog became something serious and, some would say, important.

But alas, the young man’s responsibilities required him to retire from spreading the gospel of craft beer (but perhaps not the gospel of lipstick lesbians, and certainly not the gospel of Tennessee football). So, with much sorrow, he departed.

As the years went by in his absence, his craft beer colleagues missed him much. Indeed, they began to fondly refer to him as “The Godfather,” and they thought of him often. They remembered his vision of what craft beer could be in the Hoosier State. They recalled his charming absent-mindedness, particularly his propensity to forget where his automobile was parked. They remembered his eagerness to profess his love for them. But most of all, they remembered his generosity—especially when it came to assigning a mug score to the beers he reviewed. You see, The Godfather loved craft beer so much that he couldn’t help but give every beer he reviewed a sky-high mug rating. Take, for instance, Brugge Black, Upland Ard Ri, or Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. The Godfather’s ratings for all three beers: 5 Mugs.

In tribute to The Godfather’s generosity and legacy, his colleagues met to revisit two of The Godfather’s favorites and to try a few new beers. They savored Upland’s Ard Ri, an imperial red ale with a sugary nose, a touch of sweetness on the tip of the tongue, and a dry hoppy bitterness. They also imbibed the bourbon barrel aged version of Ard Ri, the aging deftly cutting through the dry hoppiness to reveal sweet molasses-like malt. Then they moved on to Brugge Brasserie to try the pub’s Pilsner, with its sweaty, bready nose and crisp, funky finish. And finally, they had Brugge Black, a beer that always sent the Godfather’s palate into spasms of ecstasy. Simply put, this new version of Black is bananas and roasted malt in a liquid package.

So, Mr. Godfather, Hoosier craft beer drinkers raise their glasses to you for what you started. And oh, dude—where’s your car?

A Tribute to Snakes, Jack London, Tara's Hill, Crazy Women, Belgium, Gallagher, Anyone Still Reading, and Banana Splits

The sacred texts of Wikipedia tells us that a tribute is "wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance." If you subscribe to the dictionary definition of wealth - an abundance of valuable material possessions - you'll know that as writers for Hoosier Beer Geek, perhaps our only wealth lies in our ability to pay tribute, and that's some Ouroboros shit right there.

Although they sound similar, Ouroboros has nothing to do with the Northern Lights, though it was with Alaska on my mind that I settled into a chair in the Upland Tasting Room hinterlands; my quest for a beer not unlike Jack London's Klondike adventures. Since opening, Upland has rearranged the space - the cooler has moved - opening up the back of the room, and leaving the Chilkoot Pass-like serving area to split the space. Like Mr. London, I made the trek more than once - beer being a large part of my provisions.

"Where do I go from here?" I thought as I scribbled in my journal. "Ah yes! The high kings of Ireland!"

Funny that Upland should be named Upland. With an elevation of only 771 feet above sea level, Bloomington is just 9.33 high kings (assuming they were all exactly 6 feet tall) above Indianapolis. We live in a world where anyone can claim to be anything - I'm a competent author! - so it would be unfair of me to request that Upland change their name, especially when "Upland" might be an aspiration, not a descriptor. Or perhaps Upland is in reference to the Hill of Tara - thus making Ard Ri a fitting name for a beer.

But does Bourbon Barrel High Kings of Ireland make sense? Do they even make bourbon in Ireland? My bourbon background is extremely limited, but I suspect the question is as ignorant as asking where I can get some Irish Champagne. No matter how blasphemous the name might be, I like my Kings like I like my women - out of the barrel. Whereas regular Ard Ri is an Amber that could almost play a Double IPA, Bourbon Barrel Ard Ri is its darker skinned, more attractive cousin whom you'd only want to spend a a few nights with. Regularly.

Whereas many Americans claim some sort of Irish ancestry despite a lack of historical proof, I like to think that I come from Belgium, even if my family tree says Germany or England or Switzerland or whatever. It's Belgium, my true home, land of cobblestone roads and rain and mud and cows and beers made with random bacteria (whatever is floating about) that calls to me in my dreams. "Come home! Eat frites! Drink Beer!" they say. "I'm not even Belgian," I reply. "Tentsletje!" they yell back. They're weird dreams.

I've never been to Belgium, but Brugge Brasserie holds me over, despite the lack of cows and cobblestones. Many times I've sat between her hallowed walls, drinking this or that (though never the Red Curry mussel broth poured into a beer glass, Jason), thinking about the fact that Belgium never had its own version of Gallagher, and what it must feel like to smash chocolates beneath a sledgehammer.

On this trip to Brugge we started off with the pilsener, which upset me; I was afraid the the addition of a historically German beer to my previously narrow history lesson might confuse those reading, but after realizing that very few if any readers would actually make it past my second paragraph, I agreed to try the style. It's a very drinkable beer, earning all the style points, but much like the Charleston, it's not my thing. I'm much more of a boogie-woogie man myself.

Luckily that boogie-woogie awaited me in Brugge Black. The beer used to be something different, but so did I. I once wrote a review that said a beer tasted like "fruit, sorta", but like the Black, I'm now more complex, more like the remnants of a banana split; a tasty mess of flavors. Is that a good thing? Are you still reading? I suppose therein lies the answer. This rambling is my wealth. I hope I've paid you tribute.

Upland Ard Ri
Rod: 3.0 Mugs | Jess: 2.9 Mugs | Gina: 3.2 Mugs | Jim: 3.85 Mugs | Jason: 3.7 Mugs | Mike: 3.5 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.35 Mugs

Upland Bourbon Barrel Ard Ri
Mike: 4.05 Mugs | Jason: 4.1 Mugs | Jim: 4.05 Mugs | Gina: 3.2 Mugs | Jess: 3.5 Mugs | Rod: 3.8 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.78 Mugs

Brugge Pilsener
Mike: 2.95 Mugs | Rod: 3.7 Mugs | Jess: 3.25 Mugs | Jim: 3.45 Mugs | Gina: 3.5 Mugs | Jason: 3.5 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.39 Mugs

Brugge Black (2011)
Gina: 4.3 Mugs | Jason: 4.25 Mugs | Jim: 4.6 Mugs | Rod: 3.9 Mugs | Jess: 4.8 Mugs | Mike: 5.0 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.47 Mugs

1 comment:

  1. And I raise my mug to you all, my wonderful friends that are The Knights of the Beer Roundtable! Viva HBG, Craft Beeer, Tennessee Vols football, Lost Cars and Lipstick Lesbians!