Friday, February 25, 2005

And then it dawned on me...

Saturday done come and gone. I left my local brewstore with a bounce in my step, a promise to return with great tales of barleywine joy, and a glint in my eye from the samples I'd tasted two days previously as the first draughts were being tapped. (One if which was the Deschutes double pale ale Mirror Mirror, which, despite repeat emails, I haven't been able to glean much info about from the brewery. Maybe in a later post?) But as I arrived, dark clouds gathered, and a cold winter's rain began to fall. Two blocks in the distance I could see my friend dejectedly shaking his head, surrounded by throngs of teetering, shaggy souls. The truth was, it was 12:15 in the afternoon on the first day of the Toronado barleywine festival, and that was just too late.
Maybe it was the Belgians and the Brits, what with the time change on their side, who had an unfair advantage, showing up at 9am on a Saturday to start making their way through glasses of 12% beers and taking up all the seats in the joint. Or maybe I'm just getting old, and that I think about drinking barleywine that early and I feel like I need to lie down. But when we decided to go across the street and nurse our wounds with a nice Fuller's ESB at the Mad Dog in the Fog, the truth finally came to me: We probably could have beaten our way to the bar within half an hour and placed an order for some obscure old stock ale - but I don't think we really wanted to. Sure, the crowd had its rubberneck effect - hey look at all those people, let's go join them! - but in the end, I had to admit to myself, my friend, the strangers at the table next to me, and the beergods, that I just don't really like barleywine that much. Maybe it's been my experience - a recent bottle of Lagunitas Brown Shugga didn't do much to help, with its overwhelming bitterness and overt alcohol taste (no disrespect to the Lagunitas folks - don't even get me started on the joy of their IPA). But honestly, unless I'm already sacked in for the night and there aren't any obstacles between me and my bed, barleywine just isn't going to be in my drinking regimen. I'm sorry! Forgive me! But, thankfully, good man John made it in on Sunday afternoon (while I was enjoying my first Hoegaarden of the year at a charming little cafe, thanks to unseasonably warm weather - it's kinda like Groundhog's Day that way) and his report's over here, now that he remembered what happened. Or made it up, or whatever. With kittens.


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