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Is there anyone as excited about this weather as I am? This is beer drinking weather.
I had the rare pleasure of getting out last night to the Foodery for a man date. It was my first chance to really rock my Beer by Bike wool jersey. And first time for my cool weather gloves too. Sure, it was only 4 blocks away, but give me a break! I wanted to gear up and ride!
I enjoyed 2 wee heavies in light of the cooler weather, Duck Rabbit’s and Geary’s. Duck Rabbit consistently impresses me, and this was no different. Well balanced with a gentle bitterness. The Geary’s was perhaps more traditional with a syrupy sweetness, cloying and boozy. And I must say, I think I prefered it’s malt assault. I don’t know much about the brewery or their beers, but they are from Portland, ME. Yet another reason to go visit that town. Put it on my list.
On Wednesday nights, I gather with some friends to drink beer and have a discussion loosely centered around spirituality. It’s a “cell” group associated with Circle of Hope church. Three weeks ago, we decided to try out the Foodery as a new location. It actually wasn’t my idea, though I went along with it wholeheartedly. As a result, I’ve been taking the opportunity to try some new beers each week. (If you don’t know the Foodery, they have a ridiculously obscure and varied selection with over 875 beers)
This week I decided to try a pair of Belgian IPAs. I started with Taras Boulba. Brendan at the Memphis Taproom has been telling me to try this for some time, so when I saw it on the shelf I had to try it. If only for the name (Thanks Carina, for turning me onto Gogol). The second was a ‘t Smisje IPA+. They are 2 very different beers, but with some very similar traits. So lets compare and contrast.
Both beers poured a hazy gold, remarkably similar to a witbier. They both had a classic Belgian aroma, fruity and spicy. As soon as they hit the tongue though, it all changes. These beers are the driest things I’ve ever tasted. Its as if the brewers put nothing but bittering hops in, fermented it warm to get some yeasty phenols, and then let it sit till there was no residual sugar left at all. Actually, maybe that’s exactly what they did.
The Taras Boulba was lighter and very refreshing. I can see why Brendan said it was a perfect post bike ride beer. But please, not more than one! My puckering lips and parched palate can only take so much of this dry bitterness! The t’ Smisje had more malt and body, and a head like lemon merangue pie. At 10% ABV though, its definitely a sipper.
These pictures are terrible, I know. They are from my phone, which should be able to take good pics, but doesn’t. Neither these pics or these comments really do these beers justice. They were wonderfully complex, and definitely deserve another tasting. I’d love to see how the ‘t Smisje ages.
Le Tour De France. Its probably easy to argue that this race is past its prime, with all the controversy and bad press. But its still the only cycling that gets decent TV coverage in the U.S.
So for three weeks every summer, we camp out in front of the TV every night to watch it. Its not live, and we have to bear the commentary of Bob Roll (the Roll-factor, as Bike Hugger calls it), but its great nonetheless.
Its also a chance to drink beer. Our Tour brew of choice last year was Sly Fox Royal Weisse, and we had some last night. But I’m thinking maybe we’ll take this year’s Tour and make it a chance to try something new. At the Foodery yesterday I saw so many new and interesting beers, many I had not even heard of. If I can manage the project, I’ll update here.
Regardless, the one thing that the Tour manages to do every year is renew my desire to move to France. Or at least visit it. The towns, the countryside, the cliffs and ocean, it always blows my mind.