I don’t think you people fully appreciate how hard I work for you.
I can sense your incredulous stares already. You’re likely rolling your eyes, muttering how I get paid to drink beer for a living and I should just shut the hell up. You might even be declaring this aloud to your non-supermodel spouse in your non-sprawling vineyard estate, wishing you weren’t a living testament to how much better I have it.
You may have a point, but I stand by my original contention.
The fact is there’s no surer to way to extract the luxury out of even free beer when your consumption is professionally mandated. I want to pick up beers of my own volition, not because The Man requires it of me.
This job even mutates a beer festival from a casual stroll down Inebriation Way into a bookkeeping marathon. I have to abandon a perfectly good bacchanal to diligently capture notes like I’m Jane Goodall living among the Drunken Gorillas (note: Great band name!).
As an aside, I know I’m probably deluding myself to suggest I look anything like an upstanding scientist. I’d wager my frantic note taking in the midst of a festive convention hall environment more likely resembles someone in the midst of a psychotic break.
Looking like a twitchy outsider isn’t even my biggest concern. As I catalog each beer my feeble physiology insists on getting progressively drunker. Unlike authors of legend that couldn’t produce their best work until half in the bag, my motivation to do anything other than watch reruns of Dog The Bounty Hunter drops precipitously with each beer.
To fully comprehend what a trial this can be, one need only look at my notes from the event. After only having the equivalent of two or three beers, I graded a sample as “That pourer-guy was a dick.” The remainder of the page was rant peppered with words like “injustice”, apparently because my sample glass was not filled to the brim of the allowable volume.
Anyway, since my notes turned out more detailed than helpful (“This Belgian dubbel is full-bodied and sweet, with a LOOKIT THEM TITTIES!”), this is a perfect opportunity for another exciting Lightning Round review!
“Custer’s Last Stout” – Montana Brewing Company (5.4% ABV)
The strikingly nutty aroma of this beer plays nicely off the coffee, dark chocolate and almondine character of the flavor. That’s why I say it’s a beer equally well suited to pair with military debacles or slaughter of indiginous peoples.
“Salmon Fly Honey Rye” – Madison River Brewing Co. (5.6% ABV)
This unusual pairing of rye and honey has a fortified straw color and a spicy malt character to the nose. It’s a perky honey ale that finishes crisp, if not particularly dry.
“Kentucky Bourbon Ale” – Alltech Brewery (8% ABV)
The bright, yet woody aroma of this beer definitely has hints of booze. In a twist worthy of M. Night Shyamalan, the beer tastes like bourbon, though it is nicely attenuated. Beyond that it is just malty with a fleeting citrus note. It may be kind of a one-note beer, but bourbon just happens to be one of my favorite notes.
“Super Chili Pepper Madness” – Mad River (5.6% ABV)
The chili in this beer’s name is definitely not a headfake. It even stings my nose a bit. This suits me just fine since I’m known to dispense Sriracha like it is meant to form a protective shell on my food, but timid souls need not sample this. It delivers a jalapeno-grade heat that gnaws on the tongue some, but there’s a pleasant maltiness bolstering it. It’s not elaborate, but fans of chili beer will likely rejoice.
“Racer X” – Bear Republic (8.3%)
This double IPA reeks like a freshly macerated handful of hops. It’s a sticky mouthful of red pepper, floral hops and honey. It leaves some lingering booziness behind, but nothing painful. Crazy good.
“The Angry Panda” – Airdale Brewing Co (9.2%)
This syrupy and succulent red ale is actually best described by the awesomeness of the grading convention it inspired
(Yes, it’s as good as THREE enraged, mauling pandas!)
“Big Bang” – Toasted & Tapped Brewery (4.8% ABV)
If you’ve ever craved a beer with the visual appeal of sewage runoff, you’re in luck. Thankfully, the other dimensions of it are devoid of fecal comparisons. It smells of leather and malt, which wins points for originality if not being appetizing. Unfortunately the apple and lemony sweetness lack a body or hoppy counterpart to make this very enjoyable. For being a Big Bang, it went out with a whimper.
“1636 Belgian Dubbel” – Mountain Sun Brewing (8.2% ABV)
Though a bit alcoholic and sour, this was a pleasant riff on the dubbel style. I may have prejudged the quality on this one. Allow me to amend my previous grade:
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