(Wadsworth) Longfellow Winter Ale: Porn star or poet?

Next up, Longfellow Winter Ale from Shipyard Brewing:

longfellow

This beer’s namesake is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Of course, anyone named Wadsworth Longfellow could have only been one of two things in life: A 19th Century porn star or a poet. By most accounts, he chose the latter.

You'll never know.

Maybe. You’ll never know.

In fact, Longfellow (hee hee) is one of the most popular American poets evar. And apparently even when poets gain mainstream popularity, the haters follow. Edgar Allen Poe accused him of plagiarism, and others essentially claimed that he wrote populist garbage and poetry for children.

Granted, I don’t know what the hell 19th Century kids were like. I do know that between shows about ponies, princesses, and Doc McStuffins, I’m not getting many requests for dactylic hexameter about a girl’s search for her betrothed (separated in the expulsion of the Acadians, of course) that ends in a brief, chance meeting in old age at the betrothed’s death bed.

They were lucky. Most people die sad and alone. Night. Night.

“They were lucky, dear. Most people die sad and alone. Night. Night.”

Now, before you get on me for reviewing a “winter ale” in spring, let me clear the air. Screw spring. Screw spring right in the ear. It was like 30 degrees the other night. Also, this thing isn’t even really a winter ale. It’s more like a cross between a porter and a scotch ale…which might make for an interesting winter ale. Wait. Screw spring. Screw spring right in the ear.

It pours a pretty damn dark brown with a nice tan head. It smells like chocolate and toffee, with some roast…almost a little smoke like a scotch ale. The taste follows the nose with some fruitiness, a little bitterness, and some citrusy hop character sneaking in. No heat to speak of, but of course it’s only 5.6%. This is a porter. A tasty porter. But a porter.

The Haybag: Um, you’re suspended from bedtime story telling. And I do think this was the best of the Lightly Distributed Beer of the Month Club (a.ka. The Lightly Distributed for a Reason Club).

 

Winification of Beer: Douchebag is as Douchebag Does

Rampant within the craft beer community is the fear that someday beer will become too much like wine. In fact, with the level of oenophile-phobia pervading the beer world, you would think that when beer reaches this event horizon, the irretractable pull will suddenly morph us all into pucker-faced, toile-loving douchebags who are beholden to the autocratic rule of food-pairing maxims, glass guidelines, tasting rankings of the anointed, and general snootiness. And who can blame them? Beer-wine equality is the stated goal of some brewers.

However, while drinking an Allagash Interlude recently (an excellent, vinous beer from one of the breweries most capable in converting winos to beer lovers) I had an epiphany. Douchebaggery isn’t acquired, like the cooties, rather, as my momma used to say: Douchebag is as douchebag does.

First of all, the perceived snootiness of wine and its drinkers is a little overblown. The modern wine era has become much more accessible and egalitarian. Good wine is showing up in increasingly casual settings and on more streamlined and approachable wine lists. Tastings are almost always geared toward accessibility. Trusted reviews are becoming more decentralized (along with the appurtenant proliferation of wine blogs). Further, the rule of drink what you like, when you like, in the vessel of your choice is becoming the norm.

Now granted, there are some snooty winos, but the beer community shouldn’t sell itself short. There are already plenty of sufficiently snooty beer drinkers in our midst. And we’re not as universally humble as we would like to think. Quite hypocritically, beer drinkers often simultaneously clutch to, and scoff at, beer’s humble and working-class roots. Further, I would argue that beer douches might be more dangerous than their wine counterparts…guts and beards can be insidiously disarming.

Besides, wine has more to fear from beer. Beer is more portable, convenient, and versatile. And as wine tries to become more casual and beer aspires to acceptance in more formal settings, I believe beer will ultimately fare better and end up occupying a broader portion of the boozing spectrum than wine…unless you can operate a Toro riding mower while holding a box of Franzia Chablis.

Just remember, as beer creeps closer to equal footing at the table with wine: Wine doesn’t make people douchey, people make people douchey. So, just don’t be a douche, and we’ll all be fine.

*Admittedly, Beerbecue may from time-to-time be guilty of such oenophobic hysteria; however, I am going to retroactively write it off as hyperbole and situational posturing.

Beer Madness 2013: The Riesling Curse

I’m a little late with my post this week, but my recent free time and marital capital were spent on Beer Madness 2013. This year, dangermenparenting and I wrapped up the annual Beer Madness Tournament much faster than the 6 months it took last year. We even doubled the field to 16 (20 if you count the 4 play-in match-ups). How did we do this? More man-power. We enlisted the help of the Sports-Glutton and two other non-blogging friends. It was a good time.

I have a couple bones to pick beneath the pics, but I’ll leave the full rundown to dangermenparenting. You can take a looksie-peepsie at the final bracket here. And here is the lineup:2013-03-22 12.43.54

2013-03-22 12.43.40

2013-03-22 12.44.02

2013-03-22 12.44.07

2013-03-22 12.44.19

First of all, somehow Schlafly Kölsch beat He’Brew Schmaltz Lenny’s RIPA by a vote of 4-1. Inconceivable. The only reasonable explanation is rampant anti-semitism. The Schlafly is a well-made beer, but you could fall asleep drinking it. The RIPA, on the other hand, exemplifies the transcendence of the rye and hop union.

Second, Thomas Hooker Brewing’s Connecticut Barrel Series Saison made it to the finals. This overly sweet and under-carbonated saison (aged in wine barrels) never should have made it past the first round match-up with Ommegang Hennepin. I hadn’t had a Hennepin in awhile, but I was reminded how great a beer it is, particularly its yeast character. Conversely, the common compliment about the Hooker Saison was that it tasted remarkably like a Riesling. Actually, everyone else repeatedly gushed over this characteristic.

When has “tastes like a Riesling” ever been a positive beer characteristic, particularly at an event called Beer Madness (hosted in a basement in front of 92 total inches of flat-screen college basketball coverage)? Wait. Actually, I do know someone else who would like a beer that tasted like Riesling…this lady:

She's laughing AT you.

She’s laughing AT you.

My mother-in-law. In fact, her Facebook timeline reminds me that she drinks Riesling while enjoying Dancing With The Stars…followed-up with a spot of chocovine. Now, I had to duck out of Beer Madness right after the final tasting, but I can only assume this is also what happened in my absence with this Riesling-sipping crowd.

Here’s to a Riesling-free Beer Madness 2014.

Beer Review: Engelszell Gregorius – Gettin Greggy wit it

Next up, Engelszell’s Gregorius:

gregorius

Yet another pope is elected, and yet again my hopes are dashed that the papal name Lando II is not adopted. Of course, little is known of Pope Lando, who served a mere 6 months early in the 10th century. Although, we do know he is the only pope to not change his name upon accession (for obvious reasons), and it is speculated that he looked like this:

pope lando

He was also fond of Colt 45.

But with a new pope, what better beer to review than one from the most recently recognized trappist brewery, Engellszell. And perhaps even more appropriate, the beer is named Gregorius, which at first glance appears to be a portmanteau of Gregorian (of, or relating to, Pope Gregory) and glorious. This is particularly relevant to the current papal transfer of power because Pope Gregory XII was the last pope to resign, and Pope Gregory III was the last pope not born in Europe.

However, “Gregorian” is typically only used with respect to Gregory the Great, Gregory VII, and Gregory XIII, which begs the question: What about the other 13 Pope Gregs? Sure, anything relating to Gregory VIII (who held the papacy a mere 57 days) is Gregorish, but who is Gregorius a reference to?

gregory the great

I don’t know, but this fancy fella is Gregorifantabulous.

A quick check to the Engelszell Abby’s Wikipedia page reveals that the abby’s first abbot after its re-founding as a trappist monastery was Gregorius Eisvogel. Oh. Oops. That would explain why it’s Gregorius and not Gregorious. Screw you right in the eye, Latin. Nobody likes you, anyway.

gregorius glass

It pours mahogany with some light brown-orange at the edges. It’s got an average, but mostly tight, tan head. It smells like dark bread, cocoa, root beer, and dates. In the taste, I am definitely picking up some roast and a hint of coffee. At the end, there’s an unexpected slight bitterness. It’s like an earthy hop head fake with a pass to roasted bitterness. Also, there is a slight steel/mineral quality, presumably from the water they use.

If you let it warm, the sweetness and a little brown sugar comes out to complement the aforementioned, but it remains much roastier than the other trappist beers I’ve had. It also distinguishes itself from other trappist offerings in the carbonation. I was expecting the carbonation and head to be all like the usual ADHD/hyperactive child, but it’s pretty well-behaved and does its homework and chores when asked.

Grab some. It’s worth a try.

The Haybag: It’s tasty and aids in let down. What? That’s worth noting…

Maine Beer Company King Titus Porter – The gorilla who dared to do some stuff

Next up, King Titus Porter from Maine Beer Company:

king titus

Apparently, this beer is named after some famous male silverback gorilla named Titus, who was observed in the Virunga Mountains for an extended period. So why is Titus deserving of a beer named after him? Let’s see:

Titus’ father and troop leader, Uncle Bert, dies. Another gorilla, Beetsme, attempts a coup d’etat by committing infanticide. The female gorillas think this is a total dick move and leave. Despite Beetsme’s obvious cock-blocking tendancies, Titus is all like “bros before hoes”, and they form an all male group. Then, with only dudes around for 8 years, they go all Silverback Mountain and institute the gorilla troop version of the Navy’s “It’s only queer if you’re tied to the pier” policy. Finally, some ladies show up…there’s probably some confusion, self-loathing, and over-compensation for the past 8 years, and Beetsme takes over (Titus apparently forgetting that Beetsme’s stellar leadership is how they had ended up in an 8-year sausage party). Blah blah blah…Titus impregnates some gorillas behind Beetsme’s back, takes over the troop, doesn’t learn sign language, doesn’t maul any humans for making eye contact, doesn’t not maul a pet kitten, and doesn’t paint a picture of his dead pet dog.

Worthy of a beer name? I guess. Maybe Jimmy Russell Porter would have been better, though.

Seriously? All that for a rustled jimmies meme?

Seriously? A two-year-old rustled jimmies meme?

It pours an impenetrable dark brown…nearly black, with a dense, khaki head that resists retreat (but eventually dies down to a thick film). It smells like roast, cream, bread, a little earthiness, and a hint of spent coffee grounds. The taste opens with roast, a little chocolate, and coffee, which then gives way to a slight earthy, herbal bitterness and a lasting roasted bitterness that hangs. A little thinner than the usual porters that masquerade as stouts. And as with most Maine brews I’ve had, it finishes plenty dry. Interestingly, though, as it warms it does start to feel a little creamier.

The Haybag: Maine Beer Company makes the Haybag a little angry. She thinks their beers are too expensive (she maybe has a point) and too dry (they are often on the dry side). She has forbidden me from buying any more. I’m still trying to figure out whether this is her usual hyperbole or an actual spousal edict.

Beerbecue +1: The Great Penino

Beerbecue added another girl to the brood last Monday. I am now outnumbered 3-1 (4-1 if you count the dog). Hopefully, this is a valid excuse for my absence. Daughter 2.0 is big at 22 inches and a shade under 9 lbs. (It’s no wonder the diminutive Haybag could no longer breathe near the end.) She is as “spirited” as daughter 1.0 (and what I imagine the Haybag to have been in her earliest years).

But excuses are like elbows: Everybody has them, and it’s physically impossible to lick them. So, a review of Maine Beer Company’s King Titus Porter and some edgy, bi-curious gorilla comedy will be posted on Monday.

Until then, I leave you with a picture of daughter 2.0 and her Doppelgänger (Paulie Penino from Rocky):

Paulie Perinno

Schlafly Christmas Ale Review on the Friday Football Fix

Don your gay apparel and roast your nuts, as beerbecue guest reviews Schlafly’s Christmas Ale on the Sports-Glutton’s Friday Football Fix. This week, Niners vs. Rams.

I also go overboard with Big Lens effects.

I also go overboard with Big Lens effects. Fake depth of view and snow effect….ooooooooh.