Last weekend was one of two remaining “wall to wall” football weekends, with playoff games on Saturday and Sunday. We even had a sporting event between two amateur squads on Monday night because America hates productivity. That meant instant excuse for day drinking. Is there anything better than that first 1 p.m. beer, with the anticipation that the games are going to be any good and that Houston and/or Oakland actually have a shot of going to a Super Bowl? The beer turned out better than the games.
Around the time Johnny Football got drafted, I cellared my first bomber. This is an Allagash Dubbel. I put it in the mini fridge in May of 2013 and in May of 2018 I’ll drink it. Since then I collected a couple of Trader Joe’s Vintage Ales (actually brewed by Unibroue)
from 2014 and 2015, and when it’s time and I have enough friends around, I’ll have my first vertical of the 2014-2016 “vintages”. I’ve chatted with friends online and in the real world about cellaring, which beers do it best (higher in booze, maybe not so much with the fruit flavors that are supposed to drop over time), and whether to do it at all. There’s a new feeling that maybe cellaring isn’t the way to go, as a beer on the shelves is supposedly at its peak.
Here’s what I bombered last weekend:
Friday night: I’ve been a huge Three Philosophers fan for a while. I had a bottle of the 2011 version for a while, drank it on a Going for 2, loved it, then saw another three-pack at my local bottle store with the 2011-2013 vintages. Here’s the cellarer’s dream: a beer that’s pre-cellared. I opened it on a recent trip to Jekyll Island and my wine-drinking friend Don just enjoyed the smell. It’s the beer smell of a dusty old book, waiting to share its wisdom. The cherry that’s just 2% of the brew actually came out more. I’m not sure exactly how to describe the taste of an old beer. I drank the beer out of a red solo cup and it didn’t matter. I did open up a 2016 version of Three Philosophers at the same time as a comparison and there was no comparison.
On this Friday, I opened a bomber of a new variety of Three Philosophers. This one had strawberries and cranberries, and again I compared it to the 2016 version. The regular version has a subtle cherry flavor, kind of sneaking up on you at the end. The strawberry was really pronounced. I couldn’t really taste cranberry which is good because I bought some cranberry juice recently and drinking it makes you want to mute your taste buds. It was one of my favorite new beers tried in a year which was great because later I tried a local “whale” Koko Buni from Creature Comforts and it was so much coffee. I don’t like coffee. I have three Koko Bunis for trade, y’all.
Saturday was for pairing beer with football so I had a Rogue Chocolate Stout for Seahawks/Lions. My wife’s a Seahawks fan but more in a their jerseys look good and we had a good time when visiting there in 2008 than the actual sport. I’ve had stouts/porters that finished too bitter for me and boy was this bitter. It was like eating dirt. I kept trying more thinking that it would get better and did not. I had to drink a Rapturous, a local Raspberry sour after the fact to get the taste out of my mouth.
Sunday was another ultimately underwhelming double feature and this is where the bomber love got out of hand. I tried a local quad and barleywineavery at the same time, alternating sips. I bought a four-pack of the barleywine and kept it for a while, almost a year because it was too hot aka beer snob language for too boozy. It still was too boozy and the quad was ‘right on, right on’. I then opened a bomber of Avery’s Tangerine Quad. This is an amazing beer. This is why people put citrus zest on food. It’s aromatic and tasty and a bourbon-barrel bomber is too much on a Sunday afternoon after having a couple of high-gravity (beer snob language for boozy again) beers. This beer is for a couple of friends to share while talking about world peace, because who could be angry after drinking beer?
You can tell I’ve had too much beer when I don’t have a picture of it. I almost always take my little staged beer photo before drinking some.
I’m instituting a new rule. No bombers on a “school night”. It’s a beer the size of a bottle of wine and what kind of crazy person drinks a bottle of wine on a school night? Of course beer doesn’t have as much alcohol as wine but the ones I drink are pretty stout. I’ve found that beers you can get in bomber form and four-pack form (beer snobs are ok with smaller packs of beer) tend to be cheaper, and you can have “just one”. I often can’t, but you can.