Drinking Myrcenary and Seeing Gandalf: A Curmudgeon's Tale

Nathan Gismot, July 31, 2013

Have you ever found yourself in one of those baseless, irritating bad moods? Of course you have. It’s the kind of bad mood that isn’t tethered to reality: no one’s done you wrong, your plans haven’t gone awry, and everything around you is hunky dory. For no good reason whatsoever, you're pugnacious and foul and curmudgeonly.

It was with this such disposition that I found myself grumbling through an otherwise gorgeous early spring Friday in Denver. As is typical there of that season, several days of snowfall had given way to warmth and sunshine. I knew my mood was silly, and, given the just-described conditions outside, I was determined to enjoy myself. Thusly girded, my incredibly patient girlfriend and I decided to go out to dinner.

The restaurant, the Yard House in Denver, was bustling when we walked up to it, so Grouchy Nate moar grouchy ‘cause he no like waiting! Like every-terrific-thing else that evening, though, the hostess conspired to eviscerate my idiocy, and we were seated straightaway at a high-top table for two. Okay, then

The room was packed and lively and fun. I felt my mood actually lift a bit as we ordered our beers and surveyed the eclectic weirdos around us: there was B.O. Girl, Flannel Guy, and Farmer Dude Who Rolled Up In A $90k Benz. I sighed, literally thought, "Calgon, take me away," and relaxed into the evening.

On cue, our beers arrived. I had ordered an Odell’s Myrcenary, a Double IPA:

The Myrcenary (wOBAR: 0.45; BAR: 5.23) is a delightful monster. I lifted the glass for my initial assessment and was smacked across the face with the concentrated, double-dank aroma of fresh and gnarly hops. Me gusta. Hee hee. What I said aloud was, "Whoa!!!"

So impressed was I by the nose, and then the flavor, of the beer that I was moved to write some notes that, I instantly realized, read like cheap erotica: …like chewing on a bush…right before my lips touched the beer. I read it aloud in my finest Ron Burgundy.

(Incidentally, my girlfriend corroborated my assessment, adding, smartly, that there was a notable fruitiness in the aftertaste. I can always count on her to bring me back on point.)

So, you know, we laughed about all this and were enjoying ourselves. We ordered our food; snippets of amusing/painful conversation bubbled over from the awkward date next to us:

Her: What’s your favorite kind of beans?
Him: (visibly confused and annoyed) I dunno…pinto?
Her: (shakes head, sighs, gazes detachedly into distance, says nothing)
Him: (attempting recovery) Should it be black beans?

It was like when Jim trolled Dwight about “what is the best kind of bear.” Classic stuff. Giggling and incredulous and tee hee hee…and then I glanced out the window, and this:

(source: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Frodo_Baggins)

Actually, that’s probably what my face looked like. Because I had seen this:

“GANDALF!” I exclaimed, and ran out of the restaurant to get a closer look.

Indeed, there he was, striding down 16th Street in his wizarding glory. Actually, no: it was clear that times had been tough for our friend. First and foremost, he had obviously been demoted from White back down to Gray. Or had he fallen even further to…? Yes. Here before me stood Gandalf the Tan. Gone was the magical Elven-carved staff bequeathed to Mithrandir. Gone was Shadowfax. Gone were the sturdy riding boots. Gandalf the Tan wore old Birkenstocks, clutched a snapped-off tree branch, and wielded not the Flame of Anor, but an old yellow placard. 

Despite Gandalf's benign disposition, I kept my distance lest he break out an accordion and ask for money recruit me for some dubious mission to Boulder. But as you can see from the picture, a braver hobbit man than I stood next to him, observing closely and trying to make sense of the sad scene.

“Here stands Bootleg Gandalf,” I thought. "I shall not pass. Oy."

I went back inside and told my girlfriend of what I had seen. We ordered another round, toasted better times to come for our fallen friend, and gave thanks for our own good fortune on this otherwise mirthy (myrthy?) Denver evening. 

Myrcenary Review

Appearance: 4/5

Smell: 5/5

Taste: 4.75/5

Feel: 4/5

Overall: 4.75/5

Odell Brewing Company, based out of my now-hometown Fort Collins, CO, really does it right with this 9.3% ABV double IPA. As I said above, the smell is HUGE, and it's intoxicating (pun intended). I'd be tempted to wear it as a cologne or to hang it from my rear-view mirror as an air freshener were those things not such flagrantly terrible ideas. Such intense infusions of hops can be overwhelming for my palate, but not this time: Odell worked their magic and struck a beautiful balance, rendering this particular Bad Oscar eminently drinkable. Three cheers for the Myrcenary!