13.5% ABV on draught
My addiction is consuming me. I can no longer keep it at bay. I am now Mr. Hyde 24/7. I am not an alcoholic. Oh no. Far from it. At least not your standard one. I can go for days without having a drink (though why would I want to?!) And loved ones never criticize me for my drinking (then again, I only love those that the love the drink themselves). Nor do I ever feel guilty about my drinking (usually too hungover to experience any other emotion).
I am not an alcoholic, yet I do have an unyielding addiction toward alcohol. Toward locating rare beers that is. It’s all I think about lately. These rare beers, these beers I’ve never touched before, these new releases, special releases, one-time releases are always on my mind. I can’t focus on work any more as I visit Beer Advocate, Beer Menus, and Beer News countless times per day for the latest updates. I read other beer blogs and trade e-mails with beer friends all day long. It’s gotten so bad I can barely follow sports any more. Or celebrity gossip! It’s even affecting my social life. I organize activities in neighborhoods that are closest to beer stores I need to visit. Strongarm dates into joining me at local groggeries with special one-offs on tap. Shit, I even found myself talking in my sleep the other night while in bed with a gal.*
I think the pinnacle of my abhorrent behavior occurred last Wednesday night. I was sitting around relaxing, unwinding as my evening neared its end, watching “Intervention” on A&E and surfing the net. I made my half-dozenth visit to Beer Menus for the day and my heart nearly hit the hardwood. Somehow, amazingly, I had failed to notice that a full line of Kuhnhenn brews had gone on tap that day at Blind Tiger, including their highly acclaimed, Top 100s in the World, Raspberry Eisbock and Fourth Dementia. Beers from a little Michigan brewery that had never before been in New York, that I thought I might never get to try. That I had been dying to try.
I didn’t know what to do. It was now past midnight and I was very sleepy. I debated throwing on a bathrobe like a local kook and hailing a cab ASAP to get me the sixty-odd blocks downtown to Blind Tiger to just rotely suck down the beers in minimal enjoyment. Alas, I decided that even I am not that obsessed.
I was wrong.
I couldn’t sleep that night, tossing and turning. Had I truly missed all these great beers, perhaps never to have them again? Why, I couldn’t live with myself if I did!
I woke up at the crack of dawn and proceeded to stare at the clock just watching the minutes slowing tick off until Blind Tiger’s 11:30 AM opening. All the while, refreshing Blind Tiger’s currently-on-draught page hoping for an update. A positive update, hopefully noting the beers were still there, but an update nonetheless. It never came. I played scenarios in my mind, of the kegs being slurped down by some lucky and unknowing sonofabitch that knew little about beer and just so happened to stumble into Blind Tiger on the luckiest of nights. Of more savvy beer geeks than me filling up growler after growler with these rare beers until the keg was dry.
Mere seconds after Blind Tiger opened for the day, I burst in, panting and out of breath. The first in the bar for the…uh morning, without taking a seat, without even answering the bartender’s friendly greetings, I simply stammered: “Do you still have the Raspberry Eisbock?”
She laughed at my overzealous ardor.
Luckily, they did. Luckily they still had every Kuhnhenn beer on tap in fact. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re a brewery known for making thick and viscous double-digit ABV beers.
As the bartender pulled me my six ounce glass of the Raspberry Eisbock, I took out my camera to photograph it.
She smiled at me.
“Lemme guess…beer blogger?”
Nope. Rare beer hunter addict!
Oh boy, and am I so fucking glad I got to try these beers! The Raspbeery Eisbock is truly like nothing you’ve ever had before. It’s fruity, sure, but thick and chewy like an imperial stout. Tastes of raspberries, sweet malts, and smooth wheat. And it goes down with a boozy, roasted dark fruit burn like a quad. A six ounce glass of it was more than enough. It is exceptionally good and well worth the hype of being the #45 beer in the world as we go to press here at the Vice Blog. Damn hard to categorize stylistically, this is a true revelation of a beer.
9.4% ABV on draught
Next, I got to try the currently 94th ranked beer in the world, Fourth Dementia, an old ale. I’ve had very few old ales in my life until very recently but it’s quickly becoming a favorite style of mine and this is the best I’ve ever had. Sweet and sugary, malty and boozy, Fourth Dementia is as equally unique as the Raspberry Eisbock but I liked it just a tad better. A long-time lover of barley wines and other malty sweet boozebombs, Fourth Dementia is right in my brew wheelhouse. Absolutely exquisite.
Also that day I had the fortune to try tasters of Kuhnhenn’s Flemish Sour Red and their ass-kicker par excellence, the 19% Solar Eclipse imperial stout, a beer that should be served in no vessel bigger than an eye dropper. Kuhnhenn may be new to me, yet with pure extrapolation, I know that it is one of my favorite breweries on planet earth and I can’t wait to try more from them to actually prove this fact. Hopefully I will.
I’m also happy to reveal that I haven’t visited beer websites since this fateful day, this moment of clarity. I’m trying get a hold of my addiction before it gets hold of me.
Oh shit, it’s NYC Craft Beer Week in two days!
*“You were talking in your sleep.”
“Really? That’s weird. What was I saying?”
“You said something like, ‘That’s the best tripel I’ve ever had.’ What the hell does that mean? Triple what?”
“Honey, I believe I may have been dreaming about beer.”