Sunday, June 1, 2008

Finishing May

Not sure if this should be 3 separate entries, but, it'll just be one.

(Part 1 Friday storms and beer) Friday night I got home from work right before DEATH STORM 2k8 hit town. There were small extremely powerful thunderstorm cells that covered Illinois from St. Louis to Danville. It rained real hard for about 20-30 minutes and then there'd be a brief respite for about 15 minutes, then it'd rain again. There were tornado's (none too near me) and hail (none of that either) and flash floods and all kinds of other COOL weather things going on.
I pulled all my rugs up off the basement floor, because I was afraid my basement was going to get wet again, but I got lucky and the ground absorbed it all. My front yard had nearly an inch of water on it. The picture is dark, but you get the idea.
Then headed out to Kriddy's and took the stuff she asked for and a bunch of beer for the gathering for Saturday.
I decided against taking the country way to her place, as I was afraid the area where there's the little pond would be flooded, so I went to Cunningham.

That was flooded under the bridge, about 8 inches or so, and I didn't want to risk it with the aveo, so I turned and went down Broadway.

I made it safely there, and had about 5 minutes to unload the car before the next cell hit. From her front window we watched the wall of rain come up over the little hill and then make a lake in the farm ground across the street. There's a house across the street about 1/4 mile away. We couldn't see it at all, when the heavy part of the rain arrived.

It's kind of funny, neither of us have home phone lines. She used to and still has a phone plugged into the wall. Every now and then, a lightning strike would come close to the house, and her phone would start to ring. Not the ring of an incoming call, but just a buzz. When that happens, you can see how computers get destroyed when the modem gets fried.

Since we weren't going anywhere, I busted out a beer. Started the night with Alvinne Podge Belgian Imperial Stout. As you can see from the picture, it had HUGE head.
This head wasn't going anywhere. It looked like an unfrosted cupcake sitting on top of the beer. The beer itself was chocolate brown and had lots of chunks. Some people call it flocculation... this was chunks.
It smelled slightly vegetable-y. It felt really light and crisp from the huge carbonation. The chunks caused it to continually bubble like champagne. It tasted tart. (My notes say "muzzah fuzzah tart") So it was apparently tarter than I would expect an "Imperial Stout" to be. It left a sour aftertaste in my mouth. Overall, this was not a pleasant beer experience.

My next drink for the evening was Chaucer's Mead.You probably already know I'm not a huge mead fan, but it's like beer, so I try them anyway. I had got this bottle the first or second time that Kriddy and I went to Asheville, so it was over a year old. I don't think Mead is supposed to sit that long.

First, it was almost impossible to open this thing, a couple weeks back I tried opening it with one of those 2 part openers, where you put the cover through the top and then pull. That proved difficult. So I took my opener with the arms that go up. It still didn't want to give up the cork. After several minutes fighting it, I finally got to the honey nectar.

This thing poured completely clear, not a bit of carbonation. It reminded me of urine (except urine normally has more bubbles). It smelled like... paint thinner. Well, like paint thinner mixed with alcohol. It tasted like applejuice (a little) mixed with alcohol... lots of alcohol. It dried out my mouth from the alcohol, and had a slightly sweet aftertaste. It didn't really do anything on the tongue except leave.

Kriddy said it smelled like wine a little. It proved impossible for me to drink. As it warmed up, the paint thinner quality in the smell became more pronounced. Part of the joy of drinking a beer is smelling over the top of it before you take a swig. It was impossible to do that with this mead. I had to force myself to not breath before taking a sip. It was tasty, but was way to hard to drink.

(Part 2 archer liquors) Woke up on Saturday and called up hippy to see if he wanted to go up to chicago with me to go to Archer Liquors. He decided he wanted to go, and then checked the weather and thought he'd like to drive his lime green charger. So he came by and picked me up around 10.

He got a ticket for going 83 around 1045.

The cop who pulled him over was very nice; he probably mostly wanted to check out the car. He did inform us of a speed trap about 10 miles up the road. But hippy stayed under 75 the rest of the day.

That sucked. I was told to be back by 4 for the gathering at kriddy's. Going the 150 or so miles to Chicago and the 150 back shouldn't really take that long to do. Normally I drive it around 80-85 mph, hooked on with the fastest car. Hippy got the speeding ticket in the first 40 miles of the trip, which caused a 10 mph slow down for the rest of the trip. 10 mph is roughly 10 minutes per hour. This caused me to not get back to my house until 3:55 and didn't get to kriddy's until 4:15 or so.

As for the store; Archer Liquors has some great reviews on Beer Advocate and on RateBeer. They do have some stuff that I can't get locally, but I'm not sure if it's an "A" store. Friar tucks has a larger selection. It was nice to get 4 Southern Tier beers and 5 Dieu De Ciel beers, but other than that I wasn't overly impressed with the selection. Sure I spent $120 there, and got a box and a half (a box of beer is $100; don't ask why, it just works out that way) of some good beers.

(Part 3 beer gathering) I got to Kriddys and StEck and Mrs. StEck were already there, the Groom from Asheville was also there as he was around for business up in chicago for the weekend. So I unloaded some more beers and went and popped a beer. Mrs. StEck said she'd probably like fruit-y-er beers, so the first one we had was New Glarus Wisconsin Red.

It wound up just being Kriddy and I, and the StEcks and frank for most of the night; so as I'd open beers, they would get a history lesson on styles and on the beers themselves. "And I got this beer... ; and it's called an IPA because... ; and this beer isn't in illinois because..." So I got to show off my beer knowledge, i could have been wrong about everything, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't. Amazingly, I talk more about beer the more beer I drink... yes, hard to believe I know.

Ultimately we opened up 23 beers between us. (at some point kriddy's cousin and new husband showed up). Some fo the highlights were Alesmith Speedway stout, Peche Mortel, Blithering Idiot, 3 guys off the scale barlewine, palo santo marron, hopslam.

I added 8 beers (I think) to the list over there <--- so it was a good night. I don't really have any tasting notes, but everything was decent. Even the AB Hurricane High Gravity had some good qualities. First off it's an 8.1% abv lager. It had most of the qualities of a good lager. So I can't rip it too much. If you look at BA for hurricane you'll find a lot of people who like to bash AB. Some people are beer snobs... some people are beer dickheads.

Other interesting parts of the night was the opening of the Bar Harbor Blueberry. This one was a gusher. I popped the cap and the little cloud of carbonation made it's little whiff... and then BAM, geyser!! I didn't get money shotted, but it shot across the room, it was kind of cool. The entire bottle foamed out. I tried getting some into a glass, but was unsuccessful. I poured an entire glass of foam. The only beer I've ever seen be that foamy was from the Bells wheat experiments they did several years ago.

We also had a bottle of what I think was (my) Gorillas on PCP Chocolate Stout, but that one foamed. Also we had a bottle of Gorillas on PCP Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Stout. Which Frank seemed to love. I'm not sure if that was the original batch or the second batch, but in the past week I've had 2 people say that it was outstanding. So that's cool.

After Kriddy went to bed and the StEck's left Frank and I attempted to polish off all the bottles that were remaining on the counter. I think I had a Hopslam and Speedway mixture that was pretty good.

Mrs. StEck seemed to like most of the stouts that we opened but StEck himself didn't seem to be enjoying himself too much. I was trying to find things he might like more, but was failing. I had too limited a selection (even though we had 23 beers) He didn't seem to be a fan of the stouts, and we opened 8 of them. He also didn't really like the barleywine's (2) but did act like he enjoyed the IPA's.

Tonight, I'm taking it easy and just drinking diet dew. Sammon's sent me a picture of a church sign he saw today. I hope you get as much a kick out of it, that I did. (The following photo is REAL and unedited)

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