Firehouse Walker came to the Rose and Crown in Palo Alto for a beer night, and we got the beer crew together. I was hoping for some Double Jack double IPA, which is perhaps my favorite beer ever.
They didn’t have it.
I sidled up to the bar and thought, well, I heard them talking about “XV” being on tap, what do I know.
“I’ll take one of the ex vee,” I said, knowingly, to the bartender.
“You mean the fifteen?” she said, knowing I was an ass.
Then she handed me a beer that was pretty unique. Check out all the beers that Firestone Walker mixed into their fifteenth anniversary ale:
Well, it looks like I got my Double Jack… all 5% of it.
I’ll tell you, I love some of those beers in there. I hated the XV. It was pure sludge to me. So thick, so strong, so… much. Just too much.
Next came the Velvet Merkin, which has an awesome name. A velvet merkin back in the middle ages was a fake pubic hair wig, made for whores that had to shave their lice-ridden downstairs but wanted to seem “all woman” anyway. Not *quite* the idea you want in your head while drinking, but the beer is great.
Although, I’ll admit that the XV gave it an assist. Because the XV was so thick, the Merkin seemed airier than it did in the past. I was so drinkable, although I guess an 8.6% Oatmeal Stout is not the heaviest thing in the world. But in contrast, it was pretty much a session beer. Coulda kept going with that.
This process repeated itself minutes (hours?) later.
A friend came outside with Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge, a Belgian red that tastes like a sour. Why are so many sours so sweet? This one hit hard on the sweet and on the sour, and it was puckersome like a sweet tart. It worked for me as a switch-it-up, but not sure I’d want a whole pint.
But this friend got worked up. They have Consecration inside he said, that’s really great. It’s just, like, $35. So we each threw $5 on the table, and got our half-glasses of discontinued 2009 Consecration.
Quite a beer.
That dark Belgian style ale aged in Cabernet barrels, with currants added, was a sour (technically a ‘wild ale’), with some of the sweet, and yet it wasn’t as in your face on either level as the Cuvee. Just enough sour, just enough sweet, alcohol well masked, hints of all sorts of fruit — worth every penny. Worth heading to Russian River for.
But maybe the Cuvee gave it a boost again. Maybe the Consecration just wasn’t AS sweet or AS sour. I’m sure that pro beer tasters have a palate cleanser… lo and behold, these twenty tips for beer tasters recommend French bread for just that purpose. Just going from one to the other means that the last beer you had might have as much to do with your appraisal as the the new beer itself.
Something tells me that Consecration really didn’t need the help, though.