20080612

Viva la Beer


As I may have mentioned before, I'm a beer freak. I applied to become the new beer columnist at Link Magazine, a daily culture mag owned and operated by the local newspaper The Virginian-Pilot and was chosen as one of 3 finalists. I got to meet with the editor and current columnist (who is leaving for an amazing position at Sierra Nevada) yesterday, which I thought went really well. Regardless, I had a blast writing the two entry columns on some of my favorite beers and I thought it'd be a shame if they never saw the light of day. I'm proud of myself for giving it a go and I'll let you know the outcome when it is evident. Cheers!

Name: La Fin Du Monde
Type: Belgian Style Tripel Fermentation
Alcohol: 9%
Maker: Unibroue. Chambly, Quebec, Canada
Cost: $5 for a 12oz. bottle at The Taphouse Grill, 931 W. 21st St. Norfolk, VA

Picture Armageddon, if you can. What would you do if you knew all of existence was ending? I'd probably head down to the closest watering hole for one last sip of my beloved bubbly, La Fin Du Monde.
It's a fitting title. Translated into English, it means "The End of the World". It's also a Belgian Style tripel brewed in Canada with a French name. A surer sign of the Apocalypse would probably be difficult to find.
As with the entire line of Unibroue beers, La Fin (that's what I like to call it) pours with an exuberant head of thick white foam, which lingers delicately long afterward. Underneath, the brew is a beautiful hazy golden color and its aroma tempts with the light hint of belgian yeast and wild seasonings. The beer is densely carbonated, spicy and immediately quenching. Subtle hints of clove, dark cherries, banana and warm apple slide into a crisp and dry finish.
Hidden behind this delicious facade is an abv that packs a sizable punch. This is possibly the smoothest 9% abv beer on the planet, a tribute to Unibroue's confident catch phrase "Drink less. Drink better."
The sky is crashing down around me, but all I can think about is this taste enveloping my palate. Who knew "the End of the World" would only be the beginning.


Name: Smithwick's Irish Ale
Type: Irish Red Ale
Alcohol: 4.5%
Maker: Guinness Ltd. Kilkenny, Ireland
Cost: $5.5 for a 16 oz. draft at Cogan's Pizza, 1901 Colonial Ave. Norfolk, VA

If you've ever ordered Smithwick's Irish Ale, you've probably mispronounced it. Or maybe you pronounced it correctly, but your bartender thought you mispronounced it. Maybe you've been corrected by one of your traveled friends who's drank the real thing on a vacation across the big pond. In any case, I'm here to console you. As with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, there's nearly no wrong way to say Smithwick's as long as the W remains silent.
Smithwicks is one of my old standby's and it has never done me wrong. I find that many American Guinness drinkers don't even know that Smithwicks is produced by the same brewery and outdates the stout by 50 years. This usually intrigues them enough to taste a sample of the creamy Irish Ale and results in developing what I refer to as a "beer crush".
It's easy to understand why. It pours a delicious, caramel brown, just hazy enough to prevent seeing through to the other side of the glass. Held up to light, it glows the slightest chestnut red. On top, there lies a full and stubborn head of creamy foam. Do not fear the beer mustache! The malt body of this brew is roasted and sweet, leaving tastes of toffee, caramel, and whole grain to roll over your tongue. The hops are subtle, as good Irish Ales should be, but just sharp enough to define the bold malt character. The finish is long and smooth, leaving the faintest nutty aftertaste. Upon finishing, the head will have traced playful rings of white down the glass with every sip, a visual diary of your new favorite beer. A fresh pint will start a new page.
So it doesn't matter much how you say Smithwick's, only that you drink it with joy. Order with reckless abandon.

Listen:
Andrew Bird - Beware (Reprise)/A Drinking Song (In the Grand Style)
[from Oh! The Granduer|buy]

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well stated, sir

good luck

-j

2:00 PM  

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