Last week I was on hiatus, watching a foreigner representing a political party (DPP) that is in trouble deliver a defensive speech aimed at her opposition (KMT). It was more interesting than going on a pilgrimage to the holiest of holies: the Brickskeller, where if you are lucky or shagging a waitress they might have one of the 20 beers you are looking to drink that night.
Here’s some of what we had on the menu Friday night at the watering hole:
51st State Amber Ale
Only available at my misanthropic hidey hole of choice, this amber ale is better executed than the crap spewed forth by Michelob under the moniker Amber Bock. It’s a medium-heavy weight liquid. The brew has low gravity, around 5%. It deserves a slow pour and a moment or two to settle. It possesses a medium head which is not very long lasting provided you don’t try to fill the glass in 5 seconds. It has a smooth pull and hints of smoke from lightly toasted barley. It has a syrupy quality that causes it to linger on the tongue. It’s a gourmet microbrew that is not entirely suitable for session drinking. It’s good for a one off, a change of pace, or accompanying a smoked, mellow barbecue dish.
Brooklyn Lager IPA
Yellow the color of a "Used Saves" sticker from a college bookstore. Powerful bouquet of multilayered hops. It is slightly bitter and sour, but simultaneously tangy, tart, and delightful. This is something to be enjoyed slowly, not chugged like a watery mass manufactured, rice and corn based brew. The medium carbonation adds to the bite of the hops. The head is thin and pale, but will leave notches in a grimy glass. The melange of yeast bitter lurks just behind the cacophonous symphony of at least 3 types of hops. Not for session drinking. You probably won’t enjoy more than 4 before it becomes a little too bitter. The gravity is around 6%.
Hocus Pocus (magic hat)
A summer seasonal offering from the little Vermont brewery that could. It has a light liquid weight and a fast pour. It’s coloration is a mellow yellow, like that of a pale dandelion. The head doesn’t last very long. It has tiny, fine carbonation that does a Fred Astaire dance on your tongue if you let it take a little lap around your gullet before swallowing. It is a refreshing low gravity brew at 4.5%. This gentle ale is sweet and spicy. It has hints of lime citrus and orange blossom honey. Grains of paradise are lurking in their with a tangy kick to the jaw. It has mild North American hops twang like a Minnesotan accent (definitely not Bavarian stuff).
Magic Hat #9
Medium-slow pour on this not quite pale ale. It has a lightly toasted caramel barley sweetness and a lingering stickiness that is naggingly familiar. It has a hoppy jitter that isn’t as overpowering or sour as some IPAs. It is a medium weight liquid, slightly darker than your average light beer, but not into red or amber territory. The head is almost non-existent. It is very mellow and has a smooth pull. It is appropriate for session drinking, but not so highshelf that you couldn’t use it for ping pong games. It is low gravity at 4.6% and flavored with apricot that brings out the starchy goodness of the barley. Hoppier from the tap, but milder in the bottle.