When you’re young you don’t have to rationalize or justify doing mindless things outside in winter. No one thinks you’re crazy if they see you making snow angels, or when you’re throwing snow balls at a thick tree trunk, or when you’re running through the yard trying to catch big falling snowflakes with your tongue. If I hadn’t overcome the urge to do those childlike things I have no doubt that my neighbors and my wife would have stared out the windows at me in dumfounded amazement. So instead of playing in the snow I had to be content with shoveling it.
While I shoveled, I recalled long-past winters when our neighborhood gang would stay outside until our mothers implored, cajoled and finally demanded that we come in from the cold. I nostalgically remembered the igloo making and the snow ball fights. When we got older we would sled and toboggan for hours down John Ball Park’s hills and skate long past dark on its pond. What was it, I wondered, that made us impervious back then to the elements. Why is it that children are so easily able to forgive Mother Nature for the vagaries of her harshest season?
I leaned on my shovel and gazed up through the falling snowflakes at the bare branches of the backyard maples against the slate-grey expanse of the December sky.
“Beautiful,” I whispered.
New and Returning Beer
- Dogfish Head Olde School Barley Wine, $4.09/12oz (limit 1 bottle/person) - "Inspired by a tale of a cask doctor who brought sluggish ales back to life by suspending a fig in them. Brewed from 100% Maris Otter pale ale malt, a blend of fine hops and conditioned on dates and figs. User Instructions: open bottle, pour contents into two snifters. Enjoy. ALTERNATIVELY: Walk hand-in-neck with bottle into the middle of the woods. Use shovel to dig 2x2 hole three feet deep. Seal bottle in plastic bag. Place in hole and pack with dirt. Memorize location and leave. Return exactly one year later. Dig up bottle, open and enjoy" (source).
- New Holland Incorrigible, $4.79/22oz - "Wheat Ale, soured and aged in Bordeaux Oak Barrels" (source).
- Greenbush Jadis, $1.79/12oz - "A Winter White Ale because what else is Winter? The cold sets in and hangs for months it seems. Everything slows down. Time warps… and you’re covered with a wash of white. Thought I meant winter, didn’t you? Jadis will take you away from winter, even if temporarily" (source).
- North Peak Blitzen Festivus Ale, $1.99/12oz - "North Peak Blitzen is a Festivus Ale with raisin, current and berry notes attributed to Bramling Cross hops, 3 types of Crystal malts, Cara and Chocolate malt. A combination of citrus peel and citrus pith flavors are accented by the Hercules, Cascade and Pilgrim hops added throughout the boil. Riwakas’ subtle spiciness in combination with the crisp spiciness from the Rye malt liberates flavors reminiscent of savory holiday cakes. This is a well balanced, rich, Festivus Ale that will warm the palate and soul, awakening memories of holidays past. It is brewed in Traverse City, MI, on Old Mission Peninsula incorporating locally grown hops" (source).
- Goose Island Ten Hills Pale Ale, $1.59/12oz - "Ten Hills traces its story to Elk Mountain Farms in Idaho, famous for growing hops of exceptional quality and character. With hops from the "first ten hills" grown for Goose Island at Elk Mountain, we crafted a pale ale that delivers both a herbal and citrus hop character. We hope you’ll find the intriguing balance of flavors in this beer to be truly unparalleled" (source).
- Lakefront Holiday Spice Lager, $2.39/12oz - "Timed to coincide with the holiday season, a very special lager is brewed with honey, oranges, and spices. This beer uses two pounds of honey per pound of malt in its brew, making it an exceptional fortified holiday specialty beer which will keep for years. The spices and hops balance the sweetness of the honey and malt to give this lightly hopped beer its perfect flavor" (source).
- Evil Twin Low Life, $3.79/12oz - "A clever woman once said; ’fair is foul and foul is fair’. On that note we threw in a young, unacknowledged hoppy pilsner, gave it a limp, wrinkly flavor and finished it off with an insulting high price that will give you a foul feeling in your mouth. That’s why we name Evil Twin Brewing’s Low Life the Golddigger of Beers" (source).
- Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail, $4.79/12oz - "Did you like Before During and after Christmas? Maybe thought it pored brilliantly, the alcohol was admirable well hidden and you loved how the arrogant amount of hops numbed you. This beer will knock your tongue off, essentially due to the obscure amount of hops that went down this explosive fella – it’s a tour de force in hoppyness and by far the craziest beer ever made from Evil Twin – but not the last" (source).
- Evil Twin Yin, 44.79/12oz - "This is one half of a Black & Tan. Not just any Black & Tan, but one where a toasted smug and hoppy fella get together to make a sublime Taiji balance. Mix the Yin & Yang together (or enjoy this profoundly evil Imperial Stout solo)" (source).
- Evil Twin Hipster, $2.99/12oz - "Perhaps you heard of a worldwide beer-movement that tributes favorite hipster neighbourhoods across the globe. First came Istedgade, Copenhagen then Södermalm, Stockholm followed by Williamsburg, New York and Shoreditch, London accompanied by Trastevere, Rome & last El Raval, Barcelona. If you feel excluded because you’re hip but your city is not, this cutting-edge, ‘hip without borders’ pale ale is an homage to you – the global hipster" (source).
- Evil Twin Bikini Beer, $2.99/12oz - "Lets be frank - this is a sissy beer. 2.7 % alcohol, attractively light bodied, and annoyingly well-balanced hops. Put on your best bikini and enjoy this very, very drinkable beer in the sun, at this summers festivals, or even better use it to slowly seduce your nagging friends with an anxiety for craft beer" (source).
- Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break, $20.49/22oz - "The Roman Empire had a certain “je ne sais quoi” festive food culture, extravagant architecture and spectacular live entertainment. Some might argue the Emperors were brutal, mad and hungry for power, and the people vain when taking baths and working out all day. Listen – that’s still all part of the secret Imperial ingredient – keep it cool, clean, confident, arrogant and flamboyant" (source).
- Evil Twin Justin Blaeber, $13.99/22oz - "OMG! It’s JUSTIN BLABAER!!! If you have “Blaeber fever,” then this is the only solution. We stuffed so many blueberries into this beer–it’s going to make you shout “Oh, Baby!” This is dedicated to AVSB, A&F YFFL – EW, MW, RWM, BE, SS, RC. A collaboration between Evil Twin Brewing, Westbrook Brewing Co, & The Charleston Beer Exchange" (source).
- Stillwater Black Saison, $3.99/12oz - No commercial description currently available.
- Stillwater Cellar Door, $3.49/12oz - "over the ages the term ’cellar door’ has numerously been referred to as the most beautiful term in the English language. upon setting out to create the first summer addition to the Stateside line up of ales; the feeling that almost instantly came to me was that of beauty & cleansing. many summer offerings tend to lack the complexity of their bigger, colder season counterparts; so my goal was to craft an ale of extreme balance with a delicate complexity that allows for contemplation while also providing quaffable refreshment. starting with a base of German wheat & pale malts this crisp slightly hazy foundation was then accented with a blend of Sterling & Citra hops providing a intricate blend of herbal grass & tangerine citrus flavors and aroma. to pull this all together and to complete the ’cleansing’ aspect of my vision i gently finished the ale off with a touch of white sage, lending a mild earthy spice character to the blend. of course let’s not forget our house saison yeast that brought all the elements together leaving a dry yet intricate finish" (source).
- Stillwater Lower Dens, $10.09/375ml - "The Stillwater Sensory Series is a collaboration between Stillwater Artisanal and singular musical artists. In this first collaboration, Stillwater works with Lower Dens to make an ale based on an interpretation of their song, "In the End is the Beginning." On the bottle itself, a QR code will link to an exclusive Lower Dens performance of the song. Ultimately, this is a true artistic collaboration that aims to create a full sensory experience - sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste" (source).
- Stillwater Stateside Saison, $3.59/12oz - "Stateside Saison pays homage to old world tradition while celebrating new world innovation. Naturally brewed with the finest European malts & fresh aromatic hops from the United States & New Zealand. It’s then fermented using a classic farmhouse ale yeast and bottle conditioned to enhance stability. The outcome is a beer of unique design and exquisite taste, showcasing some of the best attributes of modern-day craft brewing" (source).
- Stillwater Why Can't IBU, $4.59/120z - "Hops, yeast, & fun" (source).
- Stillwater Debauched, $13.69/22oz - "Brewed with whole juniper bushes, farmhouse ale yeast (brettanomyces) and a touch of smoke. Like a Viking Saison, yeah" (source).
- Stillwater Classique, $2.89/17oz - "Post-Prohibition Style (ale).. corn, rice, pilsner malt.. and lots of your favorite old-school American hops" (source).
- Shorts Cup O' Joe, $2.19/12oz - "The perfect morning night capper. The richest of stout, creme, and coffee that could ever grace the guidelines of beer. Toast, roast, and chocolate notes infused with fresh coffee and finishing with a soft creme mouth feel" (source).
- Crankers Fifth Voyage, $1.99/12oz - A coconut porter.
- Emelisse Smoked Coffee Porter, $7.69/12oz - "A Porter brewed with smoke malt and coffee" (source).
- Emelisse Creme Brulee Stout, $7.69/12oz - "Different recipe from Mikkie = Stout!" (source).
- Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout, $7.69/12oz - "A dark full bodied Imp Russian stout" (source).
- Local Option Morning Wood, $10.09/17oz - "Local Option Morning Wood: Local Option Morning Wood is an oak-aged coffee ale developed and brewed by Local Option Bierwerker. Fresh American oak used during the aging process and Dark Matter’s El Salvador San Jose pulp-natural coffee aromatically drive the beer; while remaining subtle components of the beers’ complete flavor profile. The amber colored, medium-bodied, and extraordinarily well-balanced ale was first unveiled at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers in November 2011. Morning Wood’s taste is delicate and should be appreciated by beer drinkers of all palates" (source).
- Local Option Blood of the Kings, $10.09/17oz - "At the peak of summer 1631 King Gustavus Adolphus led thousands of Swedish troops into Northern Germany. Following the destruction and subsequent plundering of Brandenburg Adolphus’ army marched through the endless wheat fields en route to Bavaria. Brewed with copious amounts of red wheat, Blood ov the Kings is aromatically driven by bread, biscuit and notes of exotic fruit. Hazy and medium bodied the beer has a rich and creamy mouth feel with a dry, bitter, and slightly sweet finish. Unbound by the Reinheitsgebot Blood ov the Kings would certainly have been the vital fluid of victory for the Swedish monarch as he spilled blood across the wheat fields of Northern Europe" (source).
Picture of the Week
|Luke makes Amarillo hop angels|
to celebrate the arrival of the 2013 hop harvest