Posted on August 1st, by Matt Hotz in 20. No Comments

THE UNDERGROUND IS...The past few months have been a delicious quest towards trying to attain a better liquid diet.  A wonderful selection of seasonals, along with a smattering of newly discovered brews have come my way and filtered through me.  It’s shaping up to be a great year for saying cheers and raising the mug.

Do you like people?  I do.  A lot of folks like brewing beer and attaching their name to it.  Isn’t it funny how sometimes immediately after a chance run-in with something you just can’t get away from it? I just recently had that occur with Bert Grant, a craft brewer O.G. from the Pacific Northwest.  He whittled his way into my vernacular in just such a way.  I passed upon a smattering of his wares after work one evening and brought home the Springfest.  They select a special strain of hops and bring it right to the forefront in this delicious seasonal.  Bert also has an Amber Ale that has taken awards for its robust attitude.  “Decidedly malty” is how they describe it; it demands being consumed on those chilly summer nights.

A trip east drops us into Kalamazoo, Michigan, and their strangeness, namely Kalamazoo Brewers and Bells: The Great Lakes Amber Ale.   I don’t eat beef, but to wrap my lips around a big juicy burger and immediately quaff a large portion of my glass would put me somewhere close to glee.  The Great Lakes is an unfiltered ale, which has a deceptively smooth taste and an exceedingly light body.

Now, as we go even further east, we get dropped off in England, and find ourselves chatting with the other Sam.  Sam Smith and his Old Tadcaster Porter- which is legendary.  For all its staunchness, its darkness, there’s something very delicate happening amid the blackness.  Let the temperature rise and consume with some dark chocolate, or a Peaberry coffee.

Some people make beer for God; that’s weird, but I love them for it, ‘cuz they make some amazing things happen in the glass for the big guy in the sky.  I’ll dig deeper into the realm of Trappist ales and abbey ales in the future; they are an adventure to partake in.  Starting somewhere close to an Amber, only more rewarding on the palate.  I chanced upon Ommegang and their Abbey Ale, which, as an American contender, is unique.  (I won’t talk about Blue Moon’s Abbey, which is also a nice one, but, unlike most other Abbeys, you can use a bottle opener to get at it.)  The cork is only the beginning of the Wine connotations involved in the journey to the end of the bottle.  I could sit at a table with a snifter full and be quite content pouring glass after glass and talking with the well to do, and not flinching for drinking beer in front of these people.  Upon first taste there already exist wine-like overtones, close to a red wine.  Get in a little further, and develop the taste a bit more and a fruitiness comes about–something quite a bit like a crabapple or apple cherry.  The taste is a bit brighter then some other Abbey ales I’ve sampled, and well worth investigating.

Some people bitched at me for being elitist and talking about beer that can’t be bought by the case for less than a ten spot.  They sounded off at me for reasons like quantity, not quality.  After receiving a stack of beer for playing at a friend’s art opening, I delved into the matter at hand: cheap crap beer.  Bud Light, an easy beer to forget, tastes like beer, and handles like beer.  It’s just not that noteworthy.  I also get MGD in a can.  While I love their advertising, I can’t even begin to describe what happened as my taste buds tried to adjust themselves to what they were experiencing as this crap washed across them.  My God, this beer sucks! It’s a complement that I called it beer.  People drink this?  People get drunk off this?  How?!?  I honestly had problems making it through the one can; I couldn’t imagine the sheer amount I’d have to drink get drunk off this.  I had the hardest time trying to place where the hell the flavour was coming from.  It’s something not unlike flat RC Cola.  On that note, let’s talk about beer shits!  They’re a unique experience, aren’t they?  That nice experience of passing something that’s not unlike chocolate chip cookie dough, and just as hard to clean up.  I’m also reminded of South Park and the sounds of Kenny shrieking as his bowels are systematically rearranged.  I won’t even bother mentioning those odd remnants that are left after you flush — twice.  So we were talking about the argument of quality versus quantity.  Just remember, you still have to wake up and deal with these things the day after; you should at least enjoy it while it’s going in.