Saturday, February 16, 2008

Simple pleasures

As a beer geek, I am often drawn toward things that are bigger, better, more extreme. I had a phase where I was into double IPAs, though it began to seem similar to being into hot sauce. After a certain point, there was no balance, only hoppiness (spiciness). Lately I have been into barrel aged beers from the Lost Abbey (The Angel's Share was my favorite beer last year), Goose Island and others and wild beers from places like Russian River. And of course, Dogfish Head, particularly their very high gravity beers like Raison d'Extra and World Wide Stout. These are some fabulous beers, with crazy flavor profiles just begging to be shared with friends who can appreciate the art of brewing. These beers are for sipping, not drinking, making them inappropriate at some occasions. Some of them have near cult-like obsession for people, i.e. the guy who dropped $150 on a bottle of The Angel's Share on Ebay.

But sometimes, its a simple beer that brings me pleasure. Lately, I have been into Theakston Old Peculier, an old ale from the north of England and Fuller's London Pride, a bitter from London. The nutty, biscuit flavors of London Pride make an easy drinking, fairly low alcohol brew, so you could have a few at a sitting, if you should wish.

Another recent simple pleasure was two bottles of Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, an "old Bavarian dark beer" and a lager. Lagers are generally not something I consume a lot of, especially the pilsners, marzen and vienna styles. Bocks and doppelbocks are my lager exception. However, this beer was quite nice, very easy drinking with a strong malt profile and few, if any, hops, perfect for a warm winter day like today.

I'm not giving up on the more extreme beers, but I do intend to have a few more light, easily approachable beers in the fridge for those times when I just want to enjoy something completely unpretentious. I might even buy a 6 pack of Michelob Ultra Pomegranate Raspberry for "the Rabbi"...

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