I am, in most areas of my life, a fairly laid back guy. I don’t need to have my food “just so”; different elements can touch one another on the plate, and I will still scoff it down with enthusiasm. The kids want to play catch when I had planned to cut the grass? Well, the grass can wait; the kids won’t be baseball-playing age forever. Heck, I even let my wife drive most of the time (and I let her believe that her “short cuts” actually work).
There are some things I can be persnickety about, however. Proper grammar (yes, I am one of those!), being quiet in the movie theater, and aisle seats on airplanes are all very important to me, and if any one of those is outside of my control, well, things can get tense. It’s the same for me and beer. Sure, I can get input from other people, suggestions and recommendations. But if I am forced to live with someone else’s beer choice – for instance, I show up at a restaurant a few minutes late, and someone has ordered a beer they thought I’d like — well it just rubs me the wrong way. A perfectly good beer becomes my enemy (so, Pete and Ross think I’m a saison kind of guy, eh? I’ll show them!)
And so it has been with this blog. Every time I write about something, it includes choices that I have made. I might have asked someone for their thoughts or if they’d tried a certain beer, but ultimately all of the choices I make to write about are my own. Until this one.
My wife and I have been together for almost eighteen years, and like most married couples, we have our separate routines. I am a morning person, she is a night owl. I don’t mind being out in the snow, she abhors the cold. When it comes to drinking, she’ll stock the bar, but I’ll pick the beer. That’s our thing, and it has worked for all of these years. I decided, for you, dear readers, to see what would happen if we shook things up – if I left the beer selection in her hands, providing no input or direction.
This, of course, did not sit well with her. Our modus operandi in when we go beer shopping at the local liquor mart is for her to go pick up whatever hard liquor, bar supplies, and mixer we need, then come back to the beer department and ask why I’m taking so long, and couldn’t I just hurry it up. With her now needing to choose the beer, it was my turn to silently sit in judgment while she agonized over the fancy bottles and unfamiliar styles. “Not so easy, is it!” I psychically said to her while she surveyed shelf after shelf of foreign and domestic beers. “No, it’s not,” she telepathically replied, “how did I let you talk me into this?”
After what seemed like a very long time, she had made her selections, we got a supply of our “go to” beer to go along with the fancy beer-blog beers and headed home. It was a day or two after her “selection day” that tragedy struck: the temps rose into the nineties and stayed there for several days. Our supply of regular, every day beer was quickly depleted and we had almost no choice – we needed to drink the beers she had chosen for this blog, with no time for taking pictures or notes. We actually had a conversation that went something like this:
Me: Uh-oh. All of the beer is gone except for the beers you picked for the blog. What will we do?
Her: Um, why don’t you just take notes and pictures now?
Me: No way! It’s too hot! Why don’t we just drink these and you can pick out some more later?
Her: No, I hated doing that. I’ll just go to the store now and get more of our go-to beer.
Me (now bringing out the already opened and poured beers): Too late!
As you can see, my wife insisted that we drink those beers, and it took a few days for me to get her back into the store to round up some more choices. In the end, she chose some things that I would not have (a barley wine in Summer? Crazy!), but she did a fine job, and I hope that this experience has brought us closer as a couple. Or at least bought me some more time when I have to agonize over the beers we’ll be drinking next time.
Independence Day 2012-Innis & Gunn
Innis & Gunn are an outfit from Scotland that has been producing oak aged beers for a while now. Their flagship brew is aged in oak casks that held either whiskey or rum, and the resulting beer is uniquely flavored. I have written about the Rum Cask beer in a previous blog (one that also featured my wife…Hmmm….), so I was excited that she picked up this limited edition beer from them.
This is a light brown beer that forms a medium beige head when poured into a glass. There is a sweet, apple tinged maltiness in the nose, with a woody backbone. The flavor is fruity and light, but the oakiness of the cask aging keeps things serious, almost crisp. This is lighter and sweeter than I remember their Rum Cask beer being, and that may be a conscious nod to the American palate (as this is, after all, the Independence Day brew). The carbonation is very fine (tiny little bubbles), and it finishes cleanly, though there is a whiskey element that becomes pronounced towards the end.
4.0 out of 5.0
Blithering Idiot-Weyerbacher Brerwing
She picked this one out while I was hovering behind her….Could she have been thinking of me when the label called out to her? In any event…
Weyerbacher is a Pennsylvania brewing company that specializes in big, bold flavored beers. This one is a barleywine style ale that pours a medium brown color, forming a thin, tan head. It has a syrupy-sweet nose that has bubblegum and cider elements to it. The flavor comes on very sweet, like a cider in mouth-feel and fruitiness, but the flavor gets overtaken at the back end by a malty coffeeness and slightly bitter finish. This has a shorter finish and a lighter sweetness than some other barley wines that I’ve tried, but this one wasn’t bad, even on a hot summer’s day.
3.5 out of 5.0
Old Leghumper-Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
This beer is a very dark brown beer that forms a thick tan head when poured into a glass. The aroma coming off of this one is of chocolate and deeply roasted nuts, with a bit of alcohol or a solvent present in the background. The beer brings the heavy roasted and chocolate elements suggested by both the nose and the color of this beer. A solid, satisfying brown, with no unpleasant surprises. The flipside is, there were no pleasant surprises, either. However, this is a solid beer, and if not being “wowed” is my only complaint, I am a happy beer drinking husband.
3.0 out of 5.0
Evil Eddie C
Contact me at: Ed.Charbonnier@gmail.com