Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Beer for the Mother In Law

I am in NYC for the holidays vising my in-laws. I lived here for a while, before moving to the UK and then to Chicago. Not much has changed, though I know less people with normal jobs can live here, though the bankers, girls looking for husbands and the European tourists are running like rats from the ship, so maybe there will be a creative resurgence, or at least a reemergence of people doing an honest day's work of honest work raising families. 

But back to drinking and after that I need a drink, badly. I decided to take some beer to my mother in law tonight to have with dinner. I chose a personal favorite- Southern Tier's Unearthly Harvest. I've had this before thanks to the sale rack at my local liquor store and it is fantastic. I'm sad to see them move to a plastic label, peeling the poorly applied paint off was a great activity after 650ml of 11% beer. As is getting donked on good beer for less than a 10 spot. The beer smells of citrus and malt, is surprisingly sweet for an IIPA/Double IPA/ Imperial IPA.  I like the middle term best, as I think it is what thirsty storm troopers are drinking instead of defending the mother ship during the many, many attacks. The middle is sweet and smooth, medium body and a nice layer of tiny bubbles to carbonate. Little alcohol flavor is there, but as warned on the label one should take care to respect the beer, as an entire bottle clocks in just south of a whole bottle of wine on strength. My mom-in-law wanted to know what the sweetness was and I said light caramel, which should be true. The beer has a nice golden/amber color, especially nice in the recommended tulip wine glass. The body and head retention (both low to medium) are courtesy the cara-pils and red wheat, the latter of which also contributes to the color. The finish was good, somewhat dry and lingering hops. Overall an excellent beer, though it was less hoppy than I remembered. I hoped to pair it nicely with some pesto (homemade from home grown plants upstate) and the beer did the job. But not as well as the Ska Decadent Double IPA, which I had confused this beer with. Southern Tier remains a better mom-in-law beer, especially the lack of dancing skeletons on the label.

I was going to start with a beer which piqued my interest, an organic red rye which is the current Reunion Beer. Now, this beer supports charity, so I won't be too harsh. I'm not impressed though, it tastes too much like medicine. There is a nice malt taste, but its so powerful it ends up feeling like you are drinking watered down DME. The color is interesting, but the body is so heavy even the liquid seemed to shift less than slosh. I didn't pick up much rye or caraway, but did get a hint of hops (German?). All in all, good if you like Lambics or sweet beers, and a great starter beer for the not a minor not quite an adult in your life who might be in college. (NB: We in no way actually condone breaking the drinking age laws in any state for any reason).

I picked both of these up at New Beer Distributor, on Chrystie just off of Rivington. I used to live near here and walked by it on my way to work every day, never noticing. Its a warehouse, a freezing cold dimly lit warehouse. Full of beer. No mess, no nonsense, just a few informative posters about beer from beertown.org. There is a scrawled sheet of poster board with the 4 tap selections (3 xmas beers and a pale ale from Chelsea Brewing ). Oh, and tons of interesting beers priced cheap. I bought 650ml bottles of 10% beer for less than a pint (16oz, of 5% or less beer) would cost at any bar on the island of Manhattan. I'll go back when I can browse without losing feeling in my hands and having to squint. There will be an x-mas stockup for the party on the eve and the long weekend deep in the country. 

That is all for now, but I will be at Rattle 'N' Hum  for the Bear Republic  Night of Cask and Taps. A full if drunken report might follow.

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