Greetings, Michigan Faithful!
It's been so long since last we drank. Sorry. I promise to make it up to you today. On tap today: a high-end Belgian, a thrifty brew, and a beer that's just plain weird. Stick around and see.
It's no secret that spring is in full bloom. As a Washington, DC resident, I've been lucky enough to enjoy countless 70 degree days since early March. I see the Tigers game was rained out tonight, meaning that Michigan spring is also in full force. Sorry, guys and gals. As a Michigander on hiatus, I feel your pain. It's okay.
I was lucky enough to get up to Camden Yards for an O's game Opening Weekend this year, and it's an absolutely beautiful stadium. I'm going to do a beer profile for the stadium later this spring, so get excited about that. In short, though, they had a Belgian beer stand (Stella, Leffe, and Hoegaarten) that really made the night. I, as I am prone to do, hopped on the Belgian beer train and happily enjoyed my night. The next weekend, a houseguest brought over a Belgian beer I've had on my list for a while - a quadrupel by Ommegang called Three Philosophers Ale.
It's delicious. At eight bucks a bottle, it's not cheap, but it's also a quad, meaning it's the strongest Belgian-style beer (dubel=6%, trippel=9%), and this one clocks in at roughly 10% ABV. It's not for the faint of heart. That said, it's quite smooth, and for a beer brewed with cherries you'd think it would be sweet, but the cherries really add a nice sour note to the aftertaste.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, my trip to Camden also netted me a National Bohemian. Yes, I'm a beer elitist, but as a Midwesterner living in DC I had never had a Natty Bo - cheap beer here is either PBR or some light garbage. Rather than pay $8.50 for a glorified college beer, I waited till after the game and had one for $2 at a pub across the street. If you haven't seen it, they have the coolest beer mascot ever - a one-eyed spectacle man who looks like a drunk Monopoly guy. They love it in Baltimore - it used to be brewed there, but now Pabst(!!) makes it up in Miluakee. Whatever. I know I write a lot about expensive beers (the above Belgian principal among them) but I have a soft spot for Natty Bo. It was cold, it was sweet, and it was just beer. Incredibly unassuming. I don't know, man. I just really liked it when I had it. I got a case for my roommates and we polished it off in about an hour. It's smooth.
I suppose I could wax about the taste and whatever. I"m not going to. But if you drink eight of these (responsibly, please) you really won't be disappointed. I promise the mascot gets much, much weirder. It's technically a pilsner, which means it isn't a lager, like every other cheap American beer. There's really no difference. I'm assuming it's a preference thing - mine is for a cold case of some of these. If I were a frequent golfer, I would imagine a case would go well with eighteen. I am not. I just do the drinking part.
Lastly, I have for you what might be the weirdest beer I've ever tried. My girlfriend and I have a joke about banana bread - she bakes a bunch of it and then I eat it all, usually very quickly. I find this hilarious. She does not. I have yet to find someone else who thinks it is funny. Well, whatever. Asides aside - back to beer. Wells Banana Bread Beer (from the UK) is actually pretty darn tasty. It's really strange though. I know most beer is kind of bready given the whole "oohh, beer's made from wheat?" thing. Shut up. This brew actually tastes like banana bread. I have no idea why. It just does. Other beer tastes like banana, and other beer sucks. This beer is better.
Simple enough for you? Go try it. It's actually a bit bitter, as you might expect from a UK beer. Everything British is bitter. Ask this guy. At least it isn't stuffy. But it's weird. Skrillex weird.
Until next time - Cheers, Michigan Faithful!