If your fantasy teams do poorly, it’s a good idea to compensate with other areas in life. For me, that “area” is often beer. Once again I found myself at a writer/book event and spent the day herding baby authors making pitches to book agents. I even made my own book pitch, oddly outside of an elevator, for my great American fantasy football novel that I’d settle for being at least good.
The promise was simple: I volunteer at this event at for a new Atlanta writer’s group, the wife’s a board member and the board has been our living room, I get a trip to the Brickstore.
We all have obsessions and there’s a dream location to realize them. If you’re a football fan you probably want to go to Lambeau or the over-the-top glory that is AT&T Stadium in (almost) Dallas. If you’re into wine, head to Sonoma and you’re going to have an excellent adventure. If you like beer and are in Atlanta, go to the Brickstore.
Some day I’d like to see their cellar. One of the turning points in my beer adventure was when I went to the Brickstore, had a conversation with an excited Clevelander about a young QB named Manziel and tried a five-year-cellared Allagash Dubbel Reserve. It was deep, dark, delicious and they charged about the price of the bottle off the shelf. I’m “cellaring” about 12 bottles now.
The shop is all wood, no TVs, and upstairs is the “Belgian bar”. There’s a nice set of local/American beers on tap and then you get the international stuff as well. I started with their cellar “flight”. Earlier in the day an attendee at the conference said something about a whiskey boat. He was talking about a flight, but that’s a boat many men would like to sail. Every week, the Brick Store has a cellared flight, which is a selection of their aged beer. This week it was a flight of Fuller’s ESB Reserve from 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2012. Hell yeah I’m having an 11-year-old beer.
I hadn’t tried the Fuller’s ESB before. My understanding of the style was that there was some bitterness and maltiness to it. That wasn’t my experience with the old ones. Now you did get a nice laminated sheet describing each beer but to my taste buds it was a lot of toffee, vanilla, and maybe a hint of hops. And there was the booze. Each one had that lingering effect, so I stuck my pinky out and I sipped.
Other beers tried: Weyerbacher Mole Stout — the reason I wanted to try this beer was I saw it in stores and it was compared to the legendary Westbrook Mexican Cake. It’s a beer with chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, and a hint of pepper. It was dark as pitch and had zero head. It was fine but at least I know that the style isn’t my pace. Stilwater Oude Bae — Now this is more like it, and oak-aged sour brewed with Pinot Noir grapes. It was almost a wine color which is odd for a beer, but as this was between some super boozy beers the 6.5% was a nice rest. It was sour, a little sweet, but you got the oak and dark ale and now I know that if I can only have one style of beer for the rest of my life, it’s going to be a dark sour.
Bruery Melange: I had a Bruery beer cooling for Sunday but saw this one and had to have this “American Strong Ale”. Think boozy, and add more. This was 13.5%, and the beer advocate description calls it a blend of Black Tuesday, anniversary ale and white oak sap. I’ve had a few barrel-aged beers and you’re normally bashed over the head with booze. This one was smooth and so good and I’m glad I had a ride home.
Bruery Tart of Darkness: My first Red Zone experience of 2016 was me coming home late, hastily making burgers that fell apart, and by the time I finally settled down I was worn out (might have been a bit of the Brick Store and the additional beer I had when I got home) and passed out. After waking up I had the urge for Big Green Egg pizza so I did what was necessary and pulled out this beer. The description was a sour stout and I know how much Mike Margossian hates beer out of season so I had it in his honor. It was dark (duh) and Sour Patch Kids sour. I’m not sure if I got the stout out of it but it reminded me of a slightly better version of the Dionysus that had to date been my favorite beer of 2016. So what if the #tannypocalypse came through as the Mayans predicted? Who cares that the Titans’ exotic smashmouth turned into “visually interesting ways to gain three or fewer yards regularly”? My dynasty team is almost toast for the year, again and my redraft teams are in the hands of Willie Snead’s toe. Who cares. I had amazing beer and great pizza (added roasted red peppers this time), so I overcame the circumstances outside my control.