Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Life & Limb 2 American Stong Ale | Sierra Nevada / Dogfish Head Brewing | Chico, CA / Milton, DE

My first good idea as a parent.
Before becoming a father, I read a line by some clever punter that said this about parenthood, " Everything your kid does will seem cute to you.  This is the natural biological defense against discarding things that wail or squirt shit."

Obviously, this kind of stuff doesn't get printed in the places that you are most likely to see it -- like one of those trite parenting books or fucking Parents Magazine (yes, such a god-awful creation exists, and for some reason it is being delivered to my address).

But the bowels of parody sites on the internet is where the real knowledge and lessons about life reside.  Its true.  Also, you can find the meaning of life in high percentage alcohol.

These two bottles of Life and Limb were purchased just before the birth of my son, Enzo, for the purpose of commemorating this sprouting new branch of life.

As you might expect -- I absolutely intended to bring one of these to the hospital with me in the travel bag for immediate celebratory consumption post-birth; then, age the other bottle in The Cellar in order to properly observe another milestone later on in his life --  his first English Premier League goal, perhaps, if I become a demanding enough sports-father.

Turns out, we didn't have to really sneak contraband booze into the hospital.  Hell, the nurses practically offered jello-shots and refilled our cooler with ice.  Therefore, Mrs. [AA] and I were able to toast to our new gremlin very affably -- with 10% American strong ale in plastic cups while stay-cationing in the recovery room. Actually, Mrs. [AA] just really had a tasters-sip and passed out (some drinking buddy she is), while I consumed the rest of the bottle and watched 12am Bravo programming alone in the dark.  Those specific elements induced some highly concentrated hallucinogens.

Life and Limb was originally intended to be a one-off collaboration (Life and Limb 1, duh) between highly-regarded craft brew titans, Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head, but they decided to continue the relationship due to its box office success and film a sequel.  Because this co-op spanned the length of the entire country, it brought a very nice spectrum of ingredients into play -- most notably sugar syrups representing the East Coast (maple) and the West Coast (birch).

Too much of this led to that.
But before I explain those elements, allow me to retreat back a bit in order to provide some important details about this beer.  While Life and Limb can be enjoyed at any time after purchase -- the intention of the brewer is for it to cellar-age for several years so that the alcohol and sweetness can mellow and further mesh, thus becoming a more balanced ale.  And while its perfectly acceptable to unwrap this bottle from its Spec's bag and untwist the cork -- it will taste completely different at that time than it will in one, two, three and any other number of years beyond.  This will set up a very nice vertical tasting for me and Mrs. [AA] in the future.  [Note: I have three total bottles of L&L2 left, and the Spec's Beer Yeti instructed at least a 3 year storage, so I will likely go to at least that distance for bottles three and four]

So, now back to the syrups -- this is why the brewers included these dense sugars in this recipe for the explicit purpose of progressive preservation while it ages.  However, because I popped this gangster only a few weeks after it was bottled, the thick, syrupy notes were still VERY prominent, and the alcohol had not had time to mature.  While Life and Limb 2 tasted very nice, its was an extremely aggressive beer with sweet, nutty, earthy notes up front, and warm alcohol on the back end.  Its was a tough row to hoe when you're solo, exhausted from emotion, and Kathy Griffin's face is making you reflux.

But it was worth it.  The whole thing.  The wailing and the syrups and the squirting shit.  I just hope that the next series won't have to be purchased before Enzo is in college and we are retired.  Maybe we'll adopt an Asian Life and Limb who is already good at things.

ABV: 10.2%
Acquired: Spec's
(in the year 2011)


hayes said...

I really love that you picked a beer with meaning for the birth of your son. Great story.

Eric said...

Hey thanks! Good thing Enzo decided to wait around a while during my massive bottle hunt.