Thursday, March 29, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Longshot American Homebrew Contest | Boston Beer Company | Boston, MA

So, I've been taking a bit of time off from [An Avenue] to re-evaluate what the whole point of starting this project was -- and to determine what the ultimate goal will be, apart from writing 1200 words a day that will basically sit in the deep, dark, fecal depths of the webiverse.

Nobody likes to read prose without a story arc and I felt that reviewing a bunch of unattainable beers everyday was starting to seem like a David Fincher script that never satiates the audience and gets very confusing and muddled --  just before it gets boring and overstated -- leading to the infamous crash-and-burn in the box office.  Nobody can really root for Fincher because he keeps givin' us the business every time.

The primary reason I started this page as a New Years resolution is because I needed to have demonstration of my work in print.  But why?

About a year and a half ago, I applied for the open editor position at Austin's, hoping that my beguiled wit (although VERY hastily constructed between real-life obligations) was enough to convince the previous editor to hand me fistfuls of cash and the chance to replace her as the authority on Austin's kitchen and lounge scene.

Obviously, since I'm still tip-tapping away in an office that reeks of pink cafeteria slime -- and not at an east side cafe dissecting a wood-fired salt bagel and a Cuvee Maritage espresso, I didn't succeed at that particular mission.  I didn't have a degree in journalism, I didn't have experience, and I sure-as-shit didn't even meet the bare minimum of narrating a personal weblog.  In other words, I was a positively pathetic candidate -- if you can even go so far as to denote myself as such.  I needed to give them something to root for.

And so here I am.  The Longshot.  And this is what I'm talking to you about today.

I think by now, if you've read this far into today's entry, you are somewhat of an interested reader. and I can reasonably count on you knowing my ambiguous thoughts about Samuel Adams and the Boston Beer Company in general.

In my head, the brewery's product is like a Skittle® brisket -- which would induce immediate retching of the bowels at first mention of such a disgusting product.  However, when the company is anatomized, you can really see the art of their delivery, and at times, they do good work.  At the very least, they have really good ideas, even thought the execution usually falls tremendously flat.

This is one of Sam Adams BBC's better ideas:  A homebrew contest (much like their B'Austin crowd sourced beer) that would give the amateur brewer a chance to hit the jackpot and have their product called up from Single A right into the Big Show..  

Sam Adams BBC ran with three recipes that they appeared to like the best -- and also saw the commercial opportunities for, obvs -- in the form of A Dark Night in Munich Dunkel, Five Crown Imperial Stout, and Derf's Secret Altbier.   Awesome.  And each of these dudes even get to have their provocative mugs printed right on the bottle, too!

So, I settled in to watch some world football, American style (which by and far, is the biggest longshot in this entire blog entry) and see the potential that batted these guys into the major leagues.

Every one of them looks like they should be shopping with their moms at the Container Store.

Up first, was A Dark Night in Munich, a dunkel style that doesn't get a lot of run from American Microbrews, but is one of the more spectacular Germany inventions along with the bicycle, the MP3, and gummy worms.  I don't often drink imported beers, but when I do, I drink dunkels.

A Dark Night in Munich is surprisingly spot on with some of the Bavarian dunkels I've had, and, to be honest better than the dunkels I had in Frankfurt (though I realize this is not the primary region for this beer style).

As I've discussed before, I'm a big fan of balanced, malty beers, and ADNIM really piques my interest with its baked-breadiness and sweet yeasts.  Its really rich and creamy without being a heavy beer at all, like a well-crafted wiesse beer.

ABV: 5.9%

I thought that since we were already off to a good start, I would open the second bottle right away to keep the momentum.  The first two things I noticed about the next bottle -- sampled in a semi-appropriate progression of lightest-in-color to darkest -- was that the ABV was a sticker-shocking 9.3% (is this the heaviest alcohol beer that Sam Adams brews?  I think so.), and that the name, Derf's Secret Alt, was really really fucking nerdy.  But I was willing to proceed for science. 

I'm not a huge fan of Altbiers -- Dusseldorf's response to rival Cologne's wildly popular Kolsch beers -- but I've enjoyed a few on rare occasion.  This was about how I remembered the average ones -- too sharp on the tongue, too malted, and grassy.  I also thought the color wasn't dark enough, which led me to believe it was void of chocolate and caramel notes.  They were kind-of there if I was really searching for them -- but searching for that little nuance was like inspecting the stitches of a Rob Dibble fastball.  Look too closely, and your ass is gonna get fucking beaned.

ABV: 9.3%

Herp derp.
I was a little bit buzzed after downing the first two in the 90 minutes it took for the US to totally fuck up a 1-0 lead, and so I took halftime off to eat a sandwich and revitalized my palate a bit -- because what was coming was a huge hill to climb with only testicles for legs.

Imperial stouts are damn near one of my favorite things in life, along with Texas football, 100-person gigs, Franklin brisket, and loitering with MelEnzo Magee.  Its an exceptional style -- rich, creamy and boozy with nuts, chocolate, and burnt coffee notes.  It swims to your stomach like a wolverine.

Five Crown Imperial Stout is definitely a well-scripted beer.  It has all the qualities of a nice Imperial Stout, but i have to note that it certainly has that mass-produced flatness that is rarely apparent in the small batches that the little guys do.  I'd actually really love to taste Joe Longshot's original creation to see how heavily Sam Adams BBC influenced his beer.  And c'mon, a homebrewed Imp Stout?  That is just like fucking magic and genius all in one.  I don't think I've heard of such a thing -- so this guy definitely gets a gold star to defend against the terrorists, whom hate both fun and beer.  I would like to buy and drink this in the privacy of my home again.

ABV: 8.9%

To conclude, I thought that this was a really brilliant gimmick by Sam Adams BBC to not only publish these Longshot homebrews, but to distribute them into a mix-pack (because one of the saddest things about beer shopping in Texas is, although completely legal, most places are unwilling to let you produce your own delicious adult hurricanes from the beer rack).  Maybe Sam Adams BBC did a bit too much editing though.  I've said it before, maybe its time for Jim Koch to hand over the keys to the brewery -- it appears that his fan base has surpassed his abilities and creativity.  

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