8% ABV on draught
I thought only the uncivilized, uncouth, uneducated, and unemployed read my blog, but I’m starting to learn otherwise. Lately I have begun getting a small slew of fan letters, something an egomaniac like myself absolutely loves. So people, especially you lurkers, especially you attractive lurkers of the opposite sex, please keep ‘em coming, they fuel my arrogance, causing me to hubristically do drunken things which lead to the funniest of stories. And, thus, your further enjoyment.
This week I got a splendid e-mail, one of my best, which I’d shudder to even call a fan letter because this man certainly doesn’t worship false idols such as the Vice Blogger. We began an online dialogue, quickly hitting it off. The man’s missives showed him to be a far better writer than me and he likewise displayed a familiarity with beer that I can only dream of. After a few back-and-forths I learned he was an NYU professor. And, an e-mail or two later, I learned he was a professor of religion, a bonafide priest. The fact that he signed his e-mails “Father” should have probably tipped me off. Hey, I just thought it was a playful affectation he was going for.
Now I’m not religious and I don’t exactly believe in God, and some folks may even call me a heathen, but when a clergyman offers me a beer recommendation, you bet your sweet ass I will follow up. Not exactly Pascal’s Wager, more like The Vice Blog Gambit, a belief that says, “Hey, why not try a complete stranger’s beer recommendation? At best, you try a heretofore unknown glorious beer. While at worst, you get gloriously drunk!”
Among his several NYC area tippling recommendations, Father Name-Redacted-To-Protect-His-Piousness was adamant that I try Lion Stout, oddly enough a Sri Lankan brew. I did my research–ten seconds of googling–and learned that Lion is indeed an esteemed stout, mightily hailed in the past by beer hunter Michael Jackson, who told of how the bottle-conditioned beer, brewed using British, Czech, and Danish malts, Syrian hops, and an English yeast strain, has all its foreign ingredients transported to the 3,500 feet-above-sea-level brewery using the most precarious of roads.
Further research found, for better or for worse, The Ginger Man to be the only watering hole in Manhattan currently offering the beer. Knowing that The Ginger Man becomes a zoo of boobs once happy hour heats up, I made sure to get down there early enough to avoid the Stella drinkers.
My confusion and worries over the quality of a Sri Lankan stout were quickly assuaged. This was a good, if not great, beer. Incredibly thriftily priced for an 8% stout that had to seemingly travel so far to get into my mouth*. One of the sweetest stouts I’ve ever had. Now, I know a lot of people don’t like sweeter stouts, but I’m quite the fan. Frankly, I hate those overly burnt, meaty-tasting stouts that seem to be what most breweries are producing nowadays. Lion Stout is the complete opposite.
Tastes of sweet prunes, mocha, and smooth chocolate. Smells somewhat like a barley wine and goes down incredibly easily. I’m stunned how high the ABV is because I could drink these all day. A very, very good beer. After only a couple though, I had to leave The Ginger Man, the tipping point being when a guy beside me simply ordered “IPA.”**
So thank you for the delicious recommendation Father, and I’m still waiting for that invitation to speak to your religion class some time soon!
*This beer definitely serves as a big “fuck you” to local food activists. Distance between where the beer was constructed and where I drank it: ~ 8,770 miles.
MEATHEAD: I’ll have an IPA.
BARTENDER: OK, sure, which one?
BARTENDER: Yes, but which one? We have several.
MEATHEAD (louder): IPA
MEATHEAD (louder, sure the bartender can’t hear him): IPA!
BARTENDER: (fed up) Sure.
Turns around and fetches the meathead something that was decidely not an IPA. I think it was a Hofbrau Oktoberfest. Later, the Meathead remarked to his friends, “I love IPA. I’ve had it here before. You should get one too.”