Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Holiday Re-cap

The holidays always brings out the top brews. My cellar has been expanding with barley wines and imperial stouts and specialty Belgian beers, bottles waiting to be opened. I had hoped this would be the year to delve into the depths of my basement corner, but it was not to be. At least, not as deep as I had hoped. A lack of turnout on New Year's Eve meant that the barrel-aged barley wine from Sprecher and the 2006 Three Floyds Dark Lord imperial stout would have to wait until another time. But it's just as well; these are beers meant to be drunk in a couple years.

Amidst the two Town Hall growlers I had to finish a day after New Year's and the multitude of 22 ounce speciality releases from Three Floyds and Full Sail, a couple of beers stood out amongst the group.

On Christmas Eve, my brother-in-law posed to me the question of which beer would I drink if I could drink one beer for the night. Naturally, I wasn't going to not have any beer at my parent's Christmas Eve party, but still, the question--or rather the answer--was an easy one: Surly Darkness. So, upon arriving back at my house after said party, I poured two goblets from one of the bottles of Darkness I had stood in line for the previous weekend.

It was amazing. So much better than on tap. Deserved of all the hype an hysteria. Better than that. Chocolate and molasses and plenty of hops filled out glasses, and subsequently overwhelmed our palates. I can't wait to try the second bottle in a year.

The second stand-out beer was poured at midnight on December 31st, 2007.

Flo and I aren't big fans of champagne. Maybe mixed with orange juice it's tolerable. So New Year's Eve was an opportunity to try something new. For my birthday she had gotten me a bottle of 2002 DeuS from Bosteels Brewery. Deus means God, and rightfully so. This beer runs upwards of $30 for a 750 ml bottle, and is bottle-conditioned similarly to bottles of champagne, rotated every so often to force the yeast "bung" from the bottle. It's strikingly a Belgian beer, full of Belgian-yeasty goodness, but bubbles and tingles like the best champagnes. Apple and citrus fill your nostrils, and it tickles your tongue as it warms your palate. What a way to welcome the New Year.

Not only were these two beers the best of the 2007 holiday season, but possibly the best two that have ever graced my tongue.


Anonymous said...

Dang it Eric. Now I'm thirsty and it's only 11 am. Well, I will have to bust something fun out tonight in honor of this post and good beer. Maybe the Schlenkerla Weizen that I bought, the last of that brewery that I have not yet tried (they make awesome smoked beers in Bamberg). Or maybe one of the Rogue 22's I purchased of some different kinds that I have never had (Mocha Porter, Chocolate Stout, Juniper Ale, Dry Hopped St Rogue Red).



justacoolcat said...

I'm a little suprised to hear Surly Darkness is better bottled than on tap.
Now I'm thirsty too.

Eric said...

I'm guessing part of it may be that it was served in a Surly goblet at the right temperature, as opposed to being served cold in a pint glass (how I tried it at a bar). But I think more of it had to do with the fact that it had aged a bit and grown in a bottle. I find some of the higher alc beers do taste better out of a bottle.

ryan said...

I had one on NYE. Dawn tried to help, but just wasn't into it and drank chardonnay instead. Deep, dark... pungent hops. Man, it was good. I kind of wish they would have bottled them in 7 oz. bottles and sold us a few more instead... I really enjoyed it.