Last Weekend's Beer, Today

Eno Sarris, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving with my family is a mellow affair. We have pretty much the same politics, and everybody can handle themselves in public for six hours at least. The bonus is that my cousin heads to Russian River before the big meal, so it always comes with Pliny the Elder. No complaints here -- we went up early and missed out on the horrifying traffic that usually mars the day for us. The kids even behaved! 

Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA
Societe The Butcher Imperial Porter

Man what a good beer Pliny the Elder is. Everytime I'm tempted to call it overrated, I have another one and am again surprised by how bright and fruity and piney and fresh tasting it can be. My wife even told the room I don't let her have the Pliny and that it's a great beer and I told her, no, I usually trade these beers because I can get whatever I want for them. So we enjoyed our indulgence in suds for once. 

At home I had a big old beer all for myself. The bottle said Imperial Porter, the websites say Russian Imperial Stout,  most of the time I look the other way on this stuff, but it seems somewhat important in this case. The Butcher doesn't have the same sort of thickness to it that most Russian Imperials feature. It was super roasty up front, super smooth in the back, and checked all the boxes when it came to chocolate and coffee, but where you usually get syrup and thick, it's a little cleaner. A real standout beer that becomes even more impressive in recollection and summation. 

Bear Republic Pace Car Racer Session IPA
Almanac White Label Sour
Almanac Lavendar Honey De Brettaville Sour

The Pace Car is a baby Racer 5, which is fine, but it kept all the hops and lost all the fruit and body. That's the worst thing about Session IPAs, and the ones I love manage to somehow keep the fruit in there while the body drops out. I'm not going to write about Easy Jack for the millionth time. Whoops. 

The Almanac sours were both really interesting when put up against the history of Almanac sours. The White Label had a little of that jammy softness that many Belgian sours master, while Almanac has mostly gone to the sharper and tarter side. This sour also brought a ton of fruit -- grape in this case -- where they've had some sours in the past that felt like they were just citrussy without more fruit nuance. This might be my favorite sour of theirs, love their Grand Cru sours. Okay, Almanac Citra Sour is still my favorite. 

The lavendar honey sour was Weird. I appreciate the honey velvet paired with the citrus tart finish, that much I really loved about this beer. I guess I hate Lavendar. It brings me into the lobby of a crusty old motel, the waiting room of some Floridian dentist, the stinky soap store in the mall -- I can't dig on it. I made a face and had no idea how to rate a beer that I could appreciate as well made, but still hate.

Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA
High Water Campfire Stout Barrel Aged
Fieldwork Green Rest IPA

Had some friends over, had to share the Pliny. Went to the bar later, had some Pliny. It was a weekend dedicated to that man at the top of this post. Since Thursday included a trip to the farm, at least I followed in his footsteps for a few hours. The original Elder wrote an encyclopedia of natural history most notably. 

I haven't been around an actual campfire making smores in a long time, but that barrel aged Campfire Stout perfectly encapsulates that feeling. Only this time, the fire in question is made with bourbon barrel staves. Sweet fire, if you ask me, full of caramel and syrup and chocolate, all wrapped together in one smoky package. 

And yeah, I had one too many Fieldworks and had to take Sunday off. They're so good! 

Good food, good company, and a little overindulgence: sounds like Thanksgiving. Hope yours was great, too.