Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bitter Beers, Dark Beers, Comfort in a Glass (to the tune of Soft Kitty)

My apologies for not blogging more lately, but life happens.  I made it out to my watering hole this week, and finally found an IPA that I could swallow (forgive the pun).  I know IPAs are REALLY trendy at the moment, but I don't like them.  I keep trying them every now and again, because folks just keep raving about hops.  The problem is that when I pick one up to drink, they generally smell like feet then taste worse.  I have probably tried fifty IPAs in the last year with the same reaction.  Except this week I tried the Mountain Standard Time, Double Black IPA from O'Dell Brewing company.  As you can see, it is a beautiful dark beer with a light tan head.  The aroma doesn't reak of gym socks so we were off to a good start.

Now truth be told, this beer still leads with bitter.  There are a lot of hops in this sucker, but bitter isn't the only flavor.  There is a depth to it with hints of carmel and a smoothness that buffs off the rough edges of the hops. 

Maybe it was because I was in a bitter mood (more on that later) but I liked it enough to drink a whole glass of it.  I can't say that about any other IPA I have tried.

I also had Lucky Bucket's Certified Evil (did I mention I was in a dark mood, no pun intended).   This is a fine beer.  It is both smooth and strong, like me.  The flavor is rich and well balanced.  Lucky Bucket blends some Certified Evil aged in Cabernet barrels with some aged in oak barrels. There is a hint of bitterness just to remind you there are hops in here too, but the oak and Cabernet aging give it a rich, hearty flavor.  Plus, since I am such a loyal patron of my watering hole, they gave me not one but two of these commemorative glasses from their Halloween Party.

I also tried this new beer from Guinness last night at home. We might have lit the grill for the last time this season; so it seemed fitting to open a harvest themed beer to go along with the burgers and sausages. Now Guinness claims this beer is different. I couldn't really tell. It tastes like Guinness, which is by no means a bad thing. However, the only difference I noticed was that it was a bit thinner than a regular Guinness. That might make it more drinkable for those few who find Guinness to be too thick for their tastes.

So why the tendency toward dark and bitter beers this week? Because a pillar of my congregation died suddenly this week. She was young, only in her mid-forties, and collapsed out of the blue Tuesday night. She was one of the most loyal, dedicated, talented people I have ever known. A gifted baker and cook she expressed her love for people through food. Her carrot cake is the only carrot cake I ever enjoyed, but her chocolate mocha cake with peanut butter frosting was a religious experience. It preached! One bite of that and you would give your heart to Jesus all over again. She was also a musician, with a fine voice. Over the last year she had begun taking voice lessons and her tone had acquired a new depth and richness that was capable of lifting our hearts to heaven. In a couple of hours the congregation will gather for our 'regular' Sunday worship. It will be the first time we are gathered without her, and it will be hard.  We will grieve. We will also take heart in the promise of Resurrection.  Rest in peace and rise in glory Chrissy Simmons.  We will miss you.

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