20 Nov

A must have this Holiday season.

It’s not like anyone is going to feel sorry for me when I describe my problem.  It’s more like a personal problem that tends to rear its ugly head when we are cleaning out our garage/closet/house/etc.  We were getting the house ready for our new family member this weekend and my wife and I were exasperated by all the crap we have in closets and the garage.  We tend to accumulate things…mainly because I have a hard time letting go of stuff (the wife is not so sentimental).  I don’t want to give away gifts I have received.  I don’t want to run out of particular things in the house.  I think I can safely say I am not at the point where I need an intervention from the Hoarders TV show, but my low-grade packrat personality has put me in a particular bind.  You see…I have too much beer in my fridge.

I know, I know!  What a problem to have, right?  I am sure several people have openly cursed at the screen upon reading that.  I can understand that.  I haven’t exactly been wearing out a line to the beer fridge lately, and I started asking myself why tonight.  I have several 22 oz bottles that range from a fresh hop to several winter ales, but every time I look at them on the shelf I tell myself: “I’ll have that later”. What I realized is that I am purposely avoiding them so I can claim to still have them.  When I drink them, I am only thinking about how they will be gone.  Are they replaceable?  In some cases, yes…and those beers tend to be easier for me to crack open.  But the rarities and one-offs just sit there.  Look at me!  I have become the Collector!  It’s killing me.

So what do I tell myself that I am going to do tonight?  Drink a beer, obviously.  And write about it.  So what do I do?  I can’t bring myself to pull a 22, and instead go for a 12 oz Pray For Snow Winter Ale from 10 Barrel Brewing.  I have a six pack of that, so there’s five left in the fridge.  Wow.  I might need to start taking some medication.

Let’s put my condition aside for a moment, though; the beer is what’s important here.  I was first introduced to this beer on a trip to Bend last spring, where I tried the bourbon barrel aged version.  This is the first time I have had the standard version.  There are many things I like about this beer and it starts with the color, which is a deep mahogany.  The smell is all dates and caramel with a bit of vanilla.  But the flavor is where this beer really stands out for me.  It has the same, intense tastes of caramel, figs, raisins, and dates up front, but the hops kick in almost immediately to balance it out.  They (the hops) offer a slight spiciness, which is a real nice addition to any winter beer.  The mouthfeel is what I would call medium heavy, which allows it to hang around and offer up some of its complexity.  Best of all, the beer finishes both sweet and slightly dry.  That’s a feat in my book.  It’s hard to find beers with this type of flavor profile that have a crisp, drier finish.  Usually the malt bills are so big there is no way the yeasts can clear out all the sugars.  I guess the hop finish could be tricking me on the dryness, but whatever it is, I really like it.

No idea where or for how long this will be available this winter, but I can’t recommend it enough.  It’s probably one of the better winter ales I have ever had.  I am sure I’ll have some beers at the Holiday Ale Festival this year that will top it, but as a standard seasonal it’s top notch.


One Response to “Problems”

  1. Chad November 21, 2012 at 5:08 AM #

    One day at a time papa bear. I still marvel that you have a beer frig. Dedication. I think my possesions have been whittled to a small rack of clothing and a crate of records that i would kill to protect. Thanks for the brew tip, maybe I could acquire this beer at City Beer or online. Aside from that much from the northwest is elusive here; and what a shame.

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