The Dark Journey begins…..

WHAT a 24 hours….Halloween, first 3 beers down, an incredible wine tasting involving 9 delicious Pinot Noirs from Oregon, lots of macaroni and cheese (thank you Maureen!) and Where the Wild Things Are. Wowza. Its not called Sunday Funday for no reason….

IMG_0805For my first beer, I went to the Mid-City Bulldog bar with friends Becca and Shannon, the best cheerleaders a girl could ask for. After guzzling down several Guinness (I wanted to keep it light until midnight), the witching hour approached.  I did what will become my signature geek move…I pulled out my Riedel Pinot Noir glass.

CAVEAT: I will be smelling and tasting ALL of the 100 beers out of this awesome glass before drinking the rest out of pint glasses. WHY? Because I have pre-tested every glass possible and I have found you get the best aeration and aromatics out of the Pinot glass. So yes, I WILL dork out and bring this to all of my events. So please don’t make fun of me, like the bartender who SOOOO wanted to at the Bulldog last night.  Its ok buddy.

So with butterflies in my tummy and feet tapping incessantly, I waited patiently as Becca and Shannon went to the bar and procured three dark and luscious pints.  The looks on their faces was priceless….

IMG_0806BEER#3 (really my first beer!)

Rogue Chocolate Stout (on draft): ABV 6% Ooh. After several Guinness, the aromas just jump out of the glass. Sweet molasses and vanilla bean skin are first up. Dark caro syrup and another sweet aroma I have trouble identifying….then it hits me: root beer.  The entry is surprisingly light, but with a longgg finish. A bit of bitterness arises, but it is a welcome aspect to waylay the sweetness.

NOW comes the chocolate. It arises after a few minutes, and as the beer warms up a bit.  Dark, dark chocolate that melds into a more milky aroma. Perfectly quoted by Shannon, “Its like a Tootsie Roll!” Now, never being a Tootsie fan myself,  I would have probably never called that one, but she was SPOT ON. Way to go Shannon!

That my friends, is the great thing about tasting with others, whether it be beer or wine. Smell is tied to memories, and everyone’s RAM is different and so….various smells trigger a virtual motley crew(Home Sweet Home, lighters up!) of memories.   Becca after bravely trying to finish her pint, ” I don’t know HOW you are going to do this.”

November 1, 2009, daytime:

After a lip-smacking lunch of Mac and Cheese and a delightful onslaught of Oregon Pinot Noir (I LOVE Sundays!), I headed to the movies with Jessica and a 10 pound handbag (I smuggled in Beer #2 and #3, along with two pint glasses AND my Riedel!)to watch THE book of my childhood come to life, Where the Wild Things Are. And I gotta tell you, I did NOT leave with dry eyes. It was amazing. GO SEE IT. That is all I will say.

Me with my delicious contraband


Reaper Ale Mortality Stout: ABV 7.75% Toasted at the beginning of the movie, this was the perfect starter beer.  Lots of coffee on the nose to wake up the senses. In the Riedel, even more so. Reminded me of my mom and sister’s beloved vanilla bean coffee.  After a few minutes….and I’m serious here…marshmallow. Definite aromas of those big fluffy, puffy, sweet delights!

A BIG mouth entry with carbonation and a burst of espresso. A bitter finish but not overwhelming, a nice aspect to cut through the weight of the beer. (Its the same in wine…when you have a big heavy monster wine, you have to have tannin and acidity to cut through the massive fruit, or it just lays there on your tongue and you don’t want to keep drinking it!) Jess and I downed this beer in no time. Could drink more than one of these guys….

Notice the bloodshot eyes people? I'm telling you...its a tearjerker. I don't know WHAT is up with my hair. Looks like I have a comma as bangs.


Bear Republic Big Black Bear Stout: ABV 8.1% Wow. What an difference from the Mortality. First aroma: rich, salted caramel. No kidding. Like something you would smell in one of those ultra-mod New York candy shops where each luscious yet miniscule piece cost $6. Yeah, something like that minus the pretentiousness.

Mingled in was a slight funkiness. Now this is NOT a bad thing. In wine, this can be a VERY, VERY GOOD thing. It reminded me of a French wine, where aromas of earth and garrigue add complexity to the nose and taste. This type of aroma always brings a smile to my face.

Then after a few more minutes….baking spices and cardamon. The aromas kept developing… It really was like a glass of wine. Then finally, aromas of port! Crazy! Overall, a really interesting beer.  Because of the level of intensity and sweet aromas, not one I could drink alot of, but perfect for after dinner, alone or with dessert. Or…for the second half of a movie.

P.S. If you are into Black and Tans, Pumpkin beers, and/or interesting new beer combos, take a look at Joe’s comment on creating a new fall version of the Black and Tan, called the Black and Orange!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Craig Collins says:


    Great, enjoyable reading as always. Keep up the good work! Skoal!

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