Sunday, February 10, 2013

La Muerta Imperial Stout | Freetail Brewing | San Antonio, TX & Lukcy Basartd American Strong Ale | Stone Brewing | Escondido, CA

My writing pace has slowed to an apathetic creep lately, because unfortunately, my drinking pace has been minimized to a disgraceful trickle.

My wife -- Mrs. [AA], God bless her pretty little spirit -- has decreed a 'cleanse' on the inhabitants of this household, which has consequently made everyone fucking miserable, even her -- though she'll deny it.

For reasons uncertain, there will be a limited supply of frozen pizzas, Oreos, and beering in my future -- school night or otherwise -- because getting delightfully toasted on the porch with my lovely bride, listening to northern soul on Pandora in the midst of 74° February -- well just who needs that shit?  For a duo of beer geeks who fostered their romance in one of the coolest bars on the planet, it just makes little sense.  So, naturally, its become a bit of a challenge for me to get drunk before bed lately.

What I expect in return for my servile obedience in the month of February has not yet been dreamt by man, but I plan to get creative.  Something that will really take this house to 11 because playing with my weeknight bottle-share-for-two is like playing with my emotions.  As New Order alluded to on their last decent album almost two decades ago, 'Thats the price of love.'  The price of love is the cost of drip-feed beer.  So, mystery solved

Equally unwilling to help my situation out, is this country's un-female soccer team who continually keeps crapping the pram with uninspired efforts against countries with living conditions worse than Oklahoma.  Then, there is the matter of this state's flagship college program who continues to allow the actual Oklahoma to pants them at every opportunity, the latest being the the least physical duty there could possibly be -- recruiting.  Everything just seems to be making me plain grumpy all over.

Yeah, I know ... stop the damn presses!  An irritable, tantrum-y husband in response to coming off the jam, wife-imposed sanctions, and poorly-performing sports teams?  You almost never see that.

The good news is, from more or less the minute I started writing [AA] people have been asking me for opinions on beer -- for reasons lost on me, because I'm not a beer expert.  However, as a result, I've been able to accept some pretty great writing gigs out of it. 

I wrote something about shopping around Austin's beer stores for another site, and so I thought that given it was written I might as well share it here too.  Some other opportunities have presented themselves, so the retoxification of my vital organs seems like an imminent reality, which is nice.  But like brewing, its amazing how long and drawn out the process of writing is if you want to do it right and you want to do a service to your subject.  In the case of craft beer, it is vital that the information complements the tone, as a tenuous beer market needs to be coaxed and nurtured over time.  Overexposure is the culprit of continuity, and so the target of beer writing is to help the craft craze take a natural transitional path from trend to tradition -- and not die as a frivolous fad of the 2000s.  This is why beer writing is an important tool for the beer makers.

Unfortunately, like brewing, there just isn't economical grandeur in the writing business, and thus, non-experts are assigned to the beer beat, and though the common theme of each beer-centric article I read online is like: "Holy shit, everyone! Have you noticed how amazing craft is doing in this economy?!", and with just a small touch of requisite antagonism toward Big Beer.  It happens in -- quite literally -- eevery article on beer, like this one from CNN's Money website, and this one from  U.S. News.  While the effort is appreciated and even mostly celebrated, there will eventually need to be dedicated beer writers who will curate this generation of  beer drinker from converts to enthusiasts.

Coincidentally, some of the best beer scribes in the country are some of the most innovative beer makers in the country.  Two of my favorites to read are Josh Hare at Hops & Grain, and Scott Metzger at Freetail Brewing(Please leave a comment in the section below if you know of more brewer-bloggers!)

Josh dabbles a bit more in the folksy-kindred side of the craft beer industry -- and the man loves him some prog-bluegrass/neo-psychedelia -- so the humanistic approach to beer is revealed in his writing.  Meanwhile, Scott is more of a political interrogator -- an undying devotee to fair practice in the beer industry at all levels, including Big Beer.  Its very apparent that once you begin reading his work, Scott approaches beer very cerebrally, while Josh approaches it more emotionally.  Together, the implication is that there is an entire spectrum of beer information out there that is being transcribed like the Principles for Promotion of the Sacred Liturgy of Beer.  Read them at will.

This is Scott's beer.  La Muerta.  It is a limited release to commemorate the impending decomposition of one's innards, being that this beer is as black as hopeless death and as rich as three feet up a bulls ass.  It is deliberately exaggerated at all measures, which makes for a wonderfully loose interpretation of a true Russian imperial stout.  I love that La Muerta takes some bold chances -- even for an already-imposing style -- because it surrounds itself with context: mexican chocolate, heavily smoked malts, oily resin.  The result is a heavily-layered, expertly manufactured beer that drinks, not like a RIS at all, but like liquefied mole and brisket drippings.  Its quite the unusual concoction -- but makes for great living, even for a beer dedicated to the dying.  

ABV 9.1%
Acquired A Birthday Gift 
Can I Find This in Austin? Not really, but Freetail Brewing is only 80 miles away, and worth the trip. Released only 1xYR in Autumn. 
Album Calexico/Iron & Wine | In the Reins (2005)

There is no reason that these two beers were paired together in the same article other than they are both beers and both with knock the bitchassedness right out of you.  The thing with Stone is that they have always made beer for gentlemen of a certain cut of cloth, and I'm not necessarily in their target audience for that kind of assault on my confidence.

So, I felt obliged to write about it because, quite literally, Lukcy Basartd is the most surprising -- and therefore, most inspiring -- beer I've tasted in recent memory.  It has the arrangement of a Quincey Jones nonpareil with the rock n roll n soul complexity of King Crimson covering Captain Beefheart covering Prince's Black Sweat.   Therefore, Lukcy Basartd not only an achievement in brewing, but in chemistry, engineering, and musical collaborations.  This shit could win me the Pulitzer just by drinking it.  I'll keep checking my inbox.

ABV 8.5%
Acquired King Liquor
Can I Find This in Austin? Yeah, but get to hunting ASAP. 
Album Foxygen | We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic (2013) 

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