In a hole in the ground there lived a hoppit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hoppit-hole, and that means beer. Lots of beer.
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow pint painted in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped pub very like a tunnel; a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with paneled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished bar stools, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats – the hoppit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill – The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it – and many tap lines ran into it, first on one side and then on another. No macros for the hoppit: craft lagers, pilsners, sours, IPAs (lots of these), beer fridges (he had whole cold- rooms devoted to cans and bottles), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his beer garden, and hop yards beyond, sloping down to the river.
Okay…before I violate one of the great pieces of fantasy literature of all time any further by continuing with a story of a midget bar back who essentially gets kidnapped by a dwarven bachelor party, I believe I shall move on. At least I didn’t go with my idea for The Bobbit. You really don’t want to know where I was going with that.
Bring on da funk
I love my hoppy beers. APA’s, IPA’s, IIPA’s….the veritable vegetable soup of bitterness is a favorite corner of the beer world for me. That said, there are plenty of malty beers that I love as well…actually, when push comes to shove, I guess I’m really a craft beer omnivore.
No, I don’t like everything I drink, and I don’t love every style, but I do have an appreciation for well crafted beer – even when I’m not necessarily fond of a given style (for example; rauchbier is not one I’m terribly fond of).
But this is really about touching on the American Belgians. There was one time when an American produced version of a Belgian tasted very much like the next. With few exceptions, most breweries that dove into the realm of Belgians seemed to utilize the same strain of yeast and pitched that into similar style beers. Unfortunately, 15 years ago, unless you were getting something from breweries like Unibroue or Ommegang and the like, the Belgians that the American brewers were making were….a wee bit uninteresting.
It’s a freaking Renaissance. We have breweries engaging in wild fermentation, creating sours by utilizing wine barrels, and just pumping out a wide variety of Belgian inspired flavors, – Belgian blondes, saisons, and so on. And some of those beers are truly awesome.
So, yeah…bring on da funk. I think we’re all ready.
Tapped and Uncapped
Can’t say for sure that it will still be there when you see this, but haul your butts up to Dan’s Taphouse in Boonsboro. Once you’re there, order yourself some of the Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout…on nitro. Your taste buds will beg you to die at that point because they will realize that they can get no happier than when they have the Old Rasputin. With all due respect to the many fine brewers that I know locally, this is going to be one the best beers you ever have. Particularly if you love a good stout.
Until next week, be well, and drink good beer.