There is something magical a-brewing in liquor stores dotting the city, something promotionally wonderful and marketably fantastic. You can now "design" your own six-pack of beer. Okay, okay, I get it. This is probably not news to most the beer-drinkers out there. However, for this beer-drinker and her boyfriend, it made us feel like maybe there was more to this bleak, gray world in which all adults inevitably walk.
So it came to pass one Saturday evening that we passed a liquor store and decided to try some new brew. Lo and behold, I discovered two full cases of assorted bottles, each one sweating with anticipation, hoping I would choose it. I stood in front of the cold freezer for a long time, contemplating all the choices. Then I grabbed six different bottles:
Great Divide - Hades, Belgium-style ale
As the night began, we put a lot of thought into each beer, discussing the scent, the taste, the mouthfeel. (As in, "The mouthfeel gooooooood.") My boyfriend said, "It's challenging right off the bat, but finishes with almost a cider taste." He also remarked that it was a lot like champagne, with its style of dry carbonation. Its fruity, light taste made it something you could drink like water, easily and quickly before the guilt really sets in. Almost like Coors, but without feeling like you are being punched in the crotch for making all the wrong choices in life.
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company - Brrrr
If Hades hinted at fruitiness, Brrrr damn near pelts you with rotting grapefruits, like a food-fight gone awry. It's overwhelming scent and flavor is of grapefruit and orange peels. While it is initially tasty at the front of the tongue, it soon hits the back of the tongue, making you feel like you have somehow wronged God and are now being punished. While I picked up this bottle because of the name, thinking, "Ooh, 'Brrrr,' this sounds like a good holiday brew!" However, as it turns out, the "Brrrr" isn't referencing snowy evenings or crisp December mornings; it's giving props to the chills you get while viciously puking up last night's festivities.
Tommyknockers - Maple Nut Brown Ale
Count on Colorado to get it exactly right. The locally-brewed ale is as close to perfection as a beer can get without also being a drinkable hair-growing or boob-enhancing concoction. The smooth, thick taste is remniscent of Guiness, but with no hint of a bitter aftertaste. My boyfriend excitedly said, "I could drink nine of these!" but unfortunately, for us, there was only the one bottle.
New Belgium - Frambrozen Raspberry Brown Ale
Say you had an occasionally girly boyfriend who likes his beer on the, uh, fruity side. What might you do? You might take the aforementioned Maple Nut beer and add Framboise to it. And if you did that, you'd get pretty close to the taste of Frambrozen. It is a dark, heavy brew with a very strong taste of raspberry. Yet unlike Framboise, which tends toward being too sweet, Frambrozen finds a decent balance. And how did that occasionally girly boyfriend like it? "Taste-T!"
Widmer Brothers - Drop Top Amber Ale
You know, by the time you get through analytically tasting and tastefully analyzing five beers, you might find yourself losing momentum (or gravity, one or the other). My first and lingering impression of light, hoppy, Drop Top went something like this: "Huh. It smells like marijuana. Or B.O. It tastes like it too. No, the marijuana, not the B.O. Don't you think?"