Wednesday, December 01, 2010
31 Beers of Christmas Day 1
So far I've only managed to quit farting around on Facebook and eBay long enough to put up 20 posts in 2010, down from 89 in 2009, 99 in 2008 and a staggering 294 in 2007. There's no way that this year is going to go down in Green Genius history as anything but paltry, but I'm going to try and salvage what I can and have a little fun at the same time.
My excuse for not writing more is the same as every other lazy occasional blogger -- no time and nothing to write about. But the truth is I do have time, I just spend it doing other things like drinking beer -- which gave me the idea for something to write about and wiped out both of my excuses.
What I am going to do is try a new beer every day in December and just write down my thoughts here. Don't expect much. I've recently started brewing my own beer and it's daunting how much there is to learn. As part of my research I bought a book on tasting beer -- and man oh man, I have a lot to learn there too. I've never tasted oak or peat or toast or bleach or "hints of Band-Aids" in my brew. But I've never let ignorance stand in my way -- in fact, I consider it an advantage since I do love to learn. I really want to taste the Band-Aids in my beer. I hate to think I'm drinking Band-Aids without even noticing.
All right, here we go. Our first beer is Exodus Porter from SweetWater Brewing Company out of Atlanta, Georgia, close enough that I think this would be kosher for Lowcountry Locavores. I just had my first Porter a couple of weeks ago. That was from Bell's and I liked it. My impression is that Porter is a lot like Stout, only not quite as thick or as black.
Judging by the label the Sweetwater guys like to fish. In fact, judging by this note on the 12 pack box ("This box contains some or all of the beers you see, depending on what we drank. What we didn't finish is inside this 12 pack. Hope the fishing is good.") they evidently love to fish. (For the record, I got lucky and all twelve of my beers were in there.)
Let's get to it, shall we? The real beer pros at Beer Advocate and Rate Beer break down the beers they judge into categories, and I'm going to do my feeble best to follow in their footsteps.
Appearance: It's pretty black, I mean you can't see through it, not much of a head but that might be due to my pouring technique. When I learned to drink beer my mentors scorned head and complained if any pitcher pourer didn't slant the glasses and pour slow enough to prevent this. It's a habit I can't break even though as I've grown older I've come to appreciate a good head. (In fact, I've grown so old I'm not even going to include the obvious joke here. If you feel deprived, feel free to insert it on your own.) It has a few bubbles around the edges and a few more escaping from the inky darkness and rising to the top. If I have to compare its appearance to something else I'd say it looks a lot like a nearly-flat Coca-Cola.
Aroma: Here my limited understanding and vocabulary fails me already. It has a nice aroma but I have no idea how to describe it. Let me whiff it again. Nope, still just smells like beer. Fortunately I have some women around here and women have much more highly evolved olfactories. Hang on.
Okay, my wife and my daughter both say it smells like soy sauce. So let's go with that. Looks like flat Coke, smells like Kikkoman. Your mouth is watering already, isn't it?
Taste: I'm happy to say that it doesn't taste like Band-Aids (unless it's supposed to and my crappy taste buds are letting me down.) I like the way it tastes. In fact, I just finished the first one. I'm going to have a second. (This will give me another chance to get some head -- and nope, still no joke.) All right, wow, that's some good head there and the beer tastes even better filtered through it, but I'm still stymied for adjectives any more descriptive than "good" or "mighty tasty."
Okay, I'm going to cheat here. I'm going to look on Rate Beer and see what I should be looking for. First of all the commercial description:
This is a classic American Porter, poured on tap it has a good head that stays and leaves a nice lace. It is defined by its chocolate malt, medium body, and smooth mouthfeel. Balanced by the Golding and Columbus hops on the finish is a hint of bitterness. Don’t be afraid of the dark.
(Okay, the part of that I understand I agree with. I just said it had good head. If lace is the (sorry) saliva-like remnants that cling to the glass then yeah, I got that too. It has a smooth mouthfeel and a mild chocolatey taste. I'll take your word on the hops.)
The first guy to review it says: "Clear, ruby-tinted chocolate with a lasting creamy head and sticky lace. Mild nose of char, cocoa, fig, and a sour caramel twang. Flavor is prickly green herb, plum, espresso with lightly soured cream, charred wood, and cocoa. Maybe a hint of caramel apple as well. Medium-heavy body is smoothly carbonated, sweet and almost sticky, but balanced by roast and a light hop tingle."
Damn, I've never tasted espresso or charred wood, so I cannot comment. Caramel apples I have had and I don't taste it here. Prickly green herb I do not know what that means. I don't even see the ruby tint. I can hold it right up to the light and some of the blackness goes dark brown, but ruby I am not seeing. I agree it's sweet and almost sticky but balanced by something that is probably roast and a light hop tingle.
Palate: I'm sorry I don't even know how this differs from Taste, but I will find out and do better in future reviews.
All right, that's it for review number one. Tomorrow a Band-Aid Brown Ale. Just kidding.