Tuesday, October 28, 2008

:: beer virgin ::

OK, so I'm not really a beer virgin, more like a beer dilettante. But Lauren Clark's recent post has inspired me to write a little bit about beer. That, plus the fact that I've been on a beer kick the last couple of weeks.

Last evening, Fred and I opted for a trip out to Allston for dinner at Grasshopper and drinks at Deep Ellum. I had to get up far too early this morning to call some colleagues in France, so I decided that I'd be better off drinking some of Deep Ellum's fine, fine beers (because I can never stop with just one of Max's cocktails, and two means I hand the car keys to Fred).

Max asked me what beer I've been drinking lately, but I've really been all over the map (literally) - an Opa Opa IPA and some german octoberfest at a party on Sunday, and a Sapporo with Malaysian food on Saturday (OK so the Sapporo was Canadian, but still). Max asked if I like bitter or fruity (bitter, kthxbye), so he poured me a glass of his favorite, De Ranke's "XX Bitter". Bitter it was, pleasingly so. The bitter vanishes off the tongue almost instantly and one is left with a nice clean finish. It was a perfectly refreshing beer, and I astounded myself by actually finishing the whole glass. In the past, I've had difficulty getting past 8 oz., partly because my tastebuds just get bored by the flavor of beer. About the only bottle I could reliably finish was Sam Adams' Black Lager. The XX Bitter went down fast and left me thinking I could even have one more beer.

I wasn't quite sure which direction I wanted to take after this, so Max poured me a couple of samples. The first one was Avery's "15th Anniversary" Ale, made with wild yeasts. And they certainly were wild. Had that nice dirty sock aroma that tells you you're in for somethin' special. The flavor was sharp at first and very bleu cheesy. Mmmm it would taste pretty wonderful with cheese. I really liked the beer, but I wasn't quite sure I could finish an entire glass of it. The second sample was Gouden Carolus' "Hopsinjoor", but this was too fruity for me, though the yeastiness was pleasant. Max then poured me a sample of Six Point's "Belgian Rye". He said it's made with Belgian candi sugar, which gives it a thicker body. It was nice and hoppy with that distinct rye sharpness. I took a full-sized glass of this and made my way through about half before I decided that finishing it might compromise my plan to awaken early the next day. If I hadn't had the two other (generous) samples, I probably could have finished it - it really was tasty.

Thanks, Max, for broadening my beer horizons. More experimentation is clearly warranted.

1 comment:

erik.ellestad said...

Yeah, boy, that De Ranke XX Bitter is truly a world class beer. I've tried some Belgian IPA style beers that didn't quite make it as a combination of the Belgian and American styles, but the De Ranke XX really succeeds. Just wish it was cheaper!