Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tasting and Thinking- I Hardcore You and Taras Boulba

I Hardcore You Monkey Ghost!

Being a beer reviewer gives one a reason to get another beer from the fridge, effectively isolating them from conversations and social obligations. “I’ve got this new beer to try… so.. bye…”

Here I am, beer sampling and life contemplating as the men in my life pack their toys into bigger toys and ready the band for a week long Monkey Ghost tour in the south west of France.

Being a beer connoisseur also gives one a reason to be mildly anti-social, with relief. No need to drudge through heavily gestured foreign language speech or pretend to be interested in people with completely different interests when one can spend 20 minutes examining and cataloging a beer bottle. To fully ignore and disconnect yourself from the man rabble, take as much time as possible with the following:

[caption id="attachment_1467" align="alignnone" width="696"]Collage Monkey Ghost prepares for the road![/caption]

1. First there is the photographing of the bottle. Different angles and lights, backgrounds and color tones- delete, retake and tag for posting.

2. The glassware needs to be readied. Usually a wine glass or short tumbler will substitute for proper glassware as most houses only offer steins, pints or weizens when asked, "do you have a beer glass?" Remember to rinse with water before pouring to remove any dust, soap resin or lingering whatever that might be residing in the glass.

3. Now comes the opening! Bottle cap examination is in order, why not it the underside of that a sniff as well and then contemplate rather or not to keep the crown top.

[caption id="attachment_1468" align="alignright" width="338"]Collage2 Taras Boulba and roadie work[/caption]

4. Smelling of bottle opening then pouring. I like to pour my beer in steps instead of one go. Proper pouring takes a good amount of focus so there's no need to trying getting into another one of those failing conversations. Conversations that leave both partners feeling awkwardly unsatisfied, reject people who try to chat with you by nodding and saying yes and no intermittently.

5. After the pour comes the smell and sight appreciation. Remember to hold the glass in the air, to the light so that everyone in the courtyard can see that you are geeking-out to the max and should not be disturbed.

6. Cooing and talking out-loud to oneself is completely natural. Once the under nose wafting becomes unbearably close to the lips, tasting is in order. Small sips, take notes, swash around the mouth, smack the tongue against the roof of mouth and try to make more noise then when you were inspecting the appearance and smell.

7. Now comes the proper note taking rush, no more floundering in water before you get your bearings, time to swim competently. This is also a good time to take a look around and write about the area and people you happen to be planted in.


'Light Blonde 4.5% alc. Generously hopped with the finest aromatic hops, giving it a very refreshing character and a nose reminiscent of citrus.'

A: Great head on a bazed apple juice

S: Bread and rising yeast

T: Bitter, bitter, bitter! Clean citrus and smooth with a great hop bite but not much after taste or lingering bitterness.

M: Medium mouthfeel, smooth, dry finish.

O: Lovely 'extra hoppy', session beer. An every day go-to that should be purchased in mass amounts. Too bad I only have this one bottle. No, I'm not willing to share.


9.5% IIPA collaboration that is a mix of Mikkeller's I Beat You and Brewdog's Hardcore IPA that was twice dry hopped after blending, making the beer four times dry hopped.. or does that make six times? Brewdog Blog has lost count.

A: Bright copper with a snow white head that leaves rims of lacing

S: Tropical fruit, citrus and grapefruit

T: No malt backbone just sweet hops finishing bitter and resin. Beautiful light bubbles lifting sweet tart alcohol kisses into the air.

M: Leaves a sticky mouth feel with resins coating your palate.

O: That is a balanced beer! The hops are galaxy exotic sweet floral and fresh fruit. The taste is a roller coaster into hops. An exciting sugar bubble dance followed by a candy coasted passion fruit that smells of sunset on a hot summer day. Like sitting in the yard after gardening, wet earth and drip drying greenery all gently waving you thanks for a job well done. I Hardcore You is a great marriage of two attention whore breweries- there is no denying it’s beauty. As much as I hate glammed-out television personalities like Kim Kardashian, but their lot in life is to be a feast for the eyes and, I hardcore you delivers on it’s label deign and sweet IIPA perfection, beasts of beauty cannot be ignored.

[caption id="attachment_1469" align="aligncenter" width="576"]DSC01770 I Hardcore You[/caption]

As I learn the finer arts of roadie-dom. Color coding wire wraps, towel covered drums and impossible to be perfect puzzle games using musical instruments and metal boxes (and the occasional chrome plated motorbike), I sip away at I Hardcore You with relish. Thank you Ninkasi for the small pleasures in life.

I pour the last quarter of my beer into my Heineken logo beer glass with a sigh and shake of the head at regretfully having purchased a single bottle of this extraordinary beer only to realize that a gnat has taken the final trip down the green fairy river and been face down fermenting in my medical grade IIPA while I wrote my beer praises. Hardcore Figures.

The night is winding to an end as it become obvious that someone will have to walk five paces toward the house and wave at the light generating machine every three minutes. "Yes, hello, we are still here packing vans and trailers like girls packing their bags for an over sea vacation."

Which is a great relief to anti-social, non musical instrument packing Nitch who has run out of beer (good beer) and has resorted to drinking Pierre and enjoying the audio injustice that has been bleating in the background for the past 10 minutes. At least the skipping Lenny Kravitz cd hasn’t bothered anyone else.

I watch a French man chug a glass of Pierre and I am in awe. It's like chugging champagne, I can't do it. I Hardcore dare You to try power drinking soda water.

Vans, trucks, metal boxes and wires all packed and ready to go, I place my one large grocery bag of beer bottles in the back and hope that we'll have wifi where ever it is in France we are heading to this time.

Updating as we go (wifi be willing)- Nitch on the tour road!



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