Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beering Roots

The Nitch is feeling romantically inclined to ponder over the expressions of old. Lets take a moment to credit the arousal of beer lust that started with a Rogue Dead Guy ale box. 

My friends and I had a box, no beer, with the dead guy logo on it that we cut up and posted around our rooms. It was grungy, trendy and cool rather or not we fully understood what it was. "It'll get ya," and "blah, ick, woah," described all we knew about the potently charming beer that was nothing like the shiny ice cold silver bullets our parents stacked in the fridge for after work relief. 

Brewing and it's relations were lost in an age of Smirnoff Ice Party packs including: sour apple bite, ice oriental and raspberry burst consumed in one sitting and welcomed in mixed form on the sofa, toilet and t-shirt of the other young female (you know who you are who helped ingest the entire box the evening before.

When hops and malts started re-entering my scope of rational understanding was when I lived in Oahu, Hawaii and got club access to Brew Moon. Now closed but once a swinging spot for quick one night stand pick ups and occasionally a beer of outstanding quality. The Orion red ale was a moment of clarity as the vail of vodka excitement lifted, the bar was closing and there was Nitch, talking with the owner, Brennan about how much this beer reminded her of that Rogue Deady Guy Ale she so bitterly sampled when hops were a thing of the devil. Only now, they were refreshing and complex. Brennan was one of many beer cultured people who would resurface in Nitch's tasting story, he later helped bring beer to Nitch's Australian habitation in 2013.

With Hawaii in the wind and deserts in the foreground, the life of bad beer was covered in intense cocktail training while spending a year in Arizona. Not that the fermentation rules set only in the liquor department, a rebel visit to SanTan Brewery, one sweat mopping day caused another pinnacle change in the Taste of Nitch. Although hidden in a history with no trails on the internet there was once a Smoked Chipotle beer at the brewery that so immensely roasted my belly that I was inclined to take a growler of it home to share with my Grandma back in Oregon. Like a saltwater fish getting a healthy gulp of freshwater, she accepted that it was beer but didn't quite take to it for the evening. Nothing was holding me and my newly discovered palate from drowning in the insanely over powering flavors.  

After learning that beer has more range then the extremes of our government, I was dedicated beer without even knowing it. On returning to Oregon for rest and recovery, I was enlightened into a circle of literally underground beer enthusiasts. Venti's basement bar is a beautiful and strictly cool people only, underground bar with the capacity of a hospital room. Finding a comfortable work association through a wonderfully tattoo'd local with the
Venti's Cafe in Salem, Oregon was worth the half hour drive there and back every day. After a few months of beer growth, Nick Lopez sat Nitch down to a conversation that went something like this:

"Here, Nitch, try this barley wine from Russian River. We just added a pony keg and it's served in snifter for a ridicules price, savor the flavors, because it is exquisite."
"Nick, barley wine sounds like something people in Ashland drink before hitting the streets in their Shakespeare gear, on a Tuesday night." (see video)

He moves on with his managing duties and states something about the IBUs. I get a good smell of the beer and decide it reminds me of dead things and rotting bread. Since smell isn't going to stop Nitch from drinking something reported to be insanely high in alcohol, there is no hesitation in consumption. 

"The beer has gone bad! Nobody drink the beer!"

I rose from my stool and prepared to un-hook the pony keg before the rotten brew was washed upon any of our unsuspecting customers. My declaration was met with blank faces as Nick took me aside and explained the finer notes of the beer connoisseur world.
"Like an expensive cheese that smells like feet, this style of beer is intended to have a potent and distinct character."
The beer was off... but spot on? I rested my elbows on the bar to examine the beer more fully, noticing its syrupy texture, large floating bubbles and ruby, scarlet hue. Moving with kaleidoscope grace it brought about feelings of camp fires, running wild in open woods and soft carpets on cold toes. The stallion, a strawberry, rushing poetic words were suddenly springing to mind as lick after lick of sour, bitter barley wine filled all the cells in between. The Nitch was in love. 

"There are few things better then a good Havana. When I was young and very poor and drank only when someone gave me one, I determined that if I ever had money I would smoke a cigar a day after lunch and after dinner. This is the only resolution of my youth that I have kept. It is the only ambition I have achieved that has never been embittered by disillusion. I like a cigar that is mild, but full-flavored, neither so small that it is finished before you have become aware of it not so large as to be irksome, rolled so that it draws without consciousness of effort on our part, with a leaf so firm that it doesn't become messy on end. But when you have taken the last pull and put down the shapeless stump and watch the final cloud of smoke dwindle blue in the surrounding air it is impossible, if you have a sensitive nature, not to feel a certain melancholy at the thought of all the complicated organization that have been required to provide you with half an hour's delight. For this men have sweltered long years under tropical suns and ships have scoured the seven seas."

Excerpt from Virtue by W.Somerset Maugham 

Mr.Maugham has expressed my complete entrancing reverence for beer. As much as I love a good cigar, by the time I'm 60 and have made my fortune in life, I determine to have a beer with lunch and with dinner, every day. Just to view sadly the loss of such great art that can only be understood by consumption. 

Thank you to everyone who helps keep Nitch's lust for froth growing and flowing. I'd love to hear your story on how, when and who opened the beer gates in your life. 


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