Brian needs sleep. I’m running on fumes as well. Saving the world comes at a price. Today the words Revolution and Beer feel symbiotic. brian was much more in this fight than I was, fighting to keep a friend from being railroaded by a demonstrably corrupt system from a life sentence for revealing to the world what the secret-keepers in the government would keep from scrutiny. A spirited beer, Anchor Brewing’s 2012 Christmas Ale seemed a fitting respite from the passion of the week.
We poured them into wine glasses and chalices from huge magnums so awesome that they would draw boisterous attention at any party. These beers needed to breath. We needed and longed to absorb every scent and enjoy each to the fullest. Brian and i were hardly disappointed.
Lifting the glass to the light I pondered the umber hue, brightening at the edges to a warm Amber. The room filled with the scent of Ginger and Pine, cut with a slight sweetness. Brian pondered it as well, smiling philosophically as he studied the seasonal brew, Anchor’s 38th annual. My thoughts were with a local independently owned coffee shop that was being bullied by Starbucks. I’d gotten in the fight beside the owner and had invested much of the week to the cause. Brian nodded.
“My brain actually gravitates towards this communal, sustainable ag stuff,” he says. he’s unstoppable, changing gears from the suite of causes he crafts with his family into culture.
We were doing something called vertical taste-testing, comparing Anchor’s 2010 and 2012 side by side. they were different indeed. The 2010 had smoothed and mellowed with age. The hops had softened leaving a sort of almond, dark chocolate bitterness. I tested first one and then the other, as if I might compare or contrast them, playing one against the other. but they were so very different that the conversation naturally gravitated to food, and what sort of dishes might work best with either.
We both thought hearty dishes like a Stroganoff or a good beef or lamb stew would be nice with the 2012. I kept finding room for cumin and cardamom, the spices common to Mexican cuisine. Food eclipsed the all-too clinical comparisons about beer. That’s as it should be. Beer is about conversation; finding it and fueling it, which maybe is why it is abundantly appropriate for Revolution, and maybe necessary.
As for Anchor’s Christmas Ale, I am intrigued enough. This vertical tasting is fun. Folks are buying up cases of this year’s Ale to compare with next year’s. given the dramatic difference between the two we tasted today, I am already looking forward to Christmas 2013.
Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., www.glunzbeers.com
For more info on Anchor’s Christmas Ale visit http://www.anchorbrewing.com/beer/christmas_ale