Saturday, July 14, 2007

Brickskeller Notes

Last night's trip to the temple of beer with Mike, Heather, Tara, and Michelle (celebrating Mike's new job and Mike and Heather's new house), summed up in four excellent bottles:

1. Laguinitas IPA. I've been drinking a lot of pilsner lately--it's high summer in DC--but a crisp, hoppy India pale ale is really a wonderful thing to drink in hot weather, with thirst-banishing properties found nowhere else in nature. So I asked the bartender what her favorite IPA was, and this was it. This is almost a perfect example of the style. Lovely, dry and bitter.

2. Stone IPA. After my friends arrived and we took a table, I continued my theme by asking our waitress what her favorite IPA was. Stone is very like Laguinitas in its indisputable IPAness, but with an incredible floral overlay from aggressive dry-hopping. I could sit with my nose in a glass of this stuff, smelling it, for--well, for minutes anyway. This went down nicely with my steak, which was a mediocre piece of meat grilled perfectly.

3. Thomas Hardy Ale 1995. This works pretty well as a digestif. I've had most of the vintages from the 80s, the oldest of which were almost like tawny port. The 1995 is a little lighter and less sweet than what I remember of the older vintages, with a dense chocolate note. Sometime I'd love to hit the Brick and taste straight through all the years of Thomas Hardy they have in stock. Preferably a chilly night in early November, preferably with a friend to roll me home in a wheelbarrow.

4. Lindemans Peche Lambic. I was going to end with the Hardy, but Mike and Heather split a bottle of this, and once we tasted theirs Tara and I had to do the same. Lambics are generally sweeter than I like, but the Peche is beautifully balanced, with all the cinnamon/vanilla/caramel complexity of fresh peaches. Summertime in a bottle.

Afterward we adjourned to Larry's Ice Cream Parlor (double scoop of Jack on the Rocks for me) before goodnights and totterings home. All in all a perfect night out.


Jeanette said...

Sigh. It's hard to be ensconced in the hinterlands. At least NC approved the selling of higher alcohol content beers a while ago, so I can now get the good Belgian stuff. Sounds like a lovely evening.

hsempl said...

Aww!! It was really nice to get out (I don't often, even when the kids are gone for the summer) and especially nice to get to see you. And I told Jose about that Lagunitas; he's interested to try it. I wish I had a higher alcohol capacity! Oh well, some day I can drink a different beer every night.

I realized though that actually I should stick to beer and not switch to water; I think the water was too chlorinated and that caused my chest to feel tight and *think* I needed to quit drinking when maybe I didn't : ) I've noticed this effect before when out at bars (I've always been sensitive to chlorine). I wonder if anyone else has that problem.

Mike said...

That's how the weekend began. Since then, I've had my stock of green coffee beans replenished and my Irish coffee brownies won a contest judged by Mary Cliff.