The Holidays are gone but now winter really sets in. A very big blast of cold air has sent me to my long underwear and funny looking Gore-Tex. thinsulated hunting cap with flaps. If ever there was a time for a winter warmer… but wait, the dickens you say, all of the strong beer has been sold? Well not exactly:
I found myself standing in a giant store concerned with all things alcohol. The Party Source in Kentucky has a selection of booze, wine, and most importantly, beer, that must be seen to be believed. I am in their giant beer cave where I discover a half barrel of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, and while I am observing, a half barrel of their ESB. Besides these two, there are quarter barrels from Anchor, and most impressively, an eighth of a barrel of N’Ice Chouffe from Belgium. Now if I had unlimited scratch, which I do not (see To Beer Or Not Beer) I would have loaded some of that into a friend’s van and then proclaim that the rest of the month has been canceled.
None of these shopper observations changes the fact that frozen times like these require hearty brew meant to keep body and soul operating in harmony. It was cold and rainy the other day, perfectly miserable weather conditions, and I thought Lord I should could use a six pack of Sam Adams Double Bock! But unfortunately that seasonal has not been released yet, so I had to settle for Spaten Optimator (oh the tragedy), one of the world’s great great dopplebocks. For lack of a better description, I call it malt salvation. There is something about the authentic quality of a world class beer that makes the tribulations of life more bearable. The idea of slurping some macro brewed swill, during this bone chilling weather, makes me start running… for a cup of hot chocolate.
I also had Shiner Dunkelweizen. A good beer, but as a deep winter offering, there is just not enough heft. But one ale I came across met all the severe weather requirements and that was Brother Thelonious Ale, from the North Coast Brewery in California. Made as a tribute to the great jazz pianist composer, Brother Thelonious at 9%abv has all the strength and complexity needed to savor on a long winter night. A crepuscule with Nellie, at it were.