7.8% ABV on tap
I’ve recently started using my Twitter account to highlight, on a daily basis, the dumbest, most asinine, most asocially pathetic threads over on Beer Advocate. It’s easier than you think. Like today’s post by a guy fretting over how to pronounce the acronym for Double India Pale Ale (”Is it di-pah or die-pa? Dee-pay?!?!?”). Or yesterday’s post from a guy wondering if he’s allowed to drink a beer even though he’s just gotten over a cold. Or last week’s pathetic thread par excellence from a guy concerned with drinking too many barley wines at a party, asking advice for whether he should spit out the potent potable after each taste so as to avoid ending the night doing the hokey-pokey by himself. Now I may be a (shudder) anarchist libertarian, but I’m starting to understand why the government endorses nanny stateism so thoroughly. How would these people know when to even wipe their asses if not for asking a message board of complete strangers?
One frequent thread topic that comes up though, which you make think is incredibly dumb or incredibly important, is whether some beer is “worth” whatever it costs. For me, a beer I’ve never had is always worth paying for at least once. And there’s no way I won’t shell out for each new release from Brooklyn’s tap-only Brewmasters Reserve Series. Garrett Oliver has lately become obsessed with creating beers that taste like “other” things (i.e. cocktails or bacon or Indian food), and the idea behind this newest release, just out this very week, really tickled my fancy. Take it away, Garrett:
“Last winter, while the Brooklyn brewing team sat around a peat fire drinking some inspirational drinks, brewer Tom Price mentioned that his friend’s bakery made some very fine oatmeal cookies. Before long, we were all talking about oatmeal cookies and how good they are with beer. Pretty soon we’d somehow decided that the cookies should actually become a beer. Funny, the things people come up with while drinking in front of a good fire.”
I loved this idea because I’ve long had issues with the fact that nearly all “oatmeal” stouts, whether delicious or awful, have virtually no oat-y taste in them at all. Alas, here would finally be one that stuck the landing! So earlier this week I popped into Rattle ‘n’ Hum for an afternoon chin chin. I was the only one in the place aside from a handy man changing light bulbs and two bartenders comparing their manicures.
My Cookie Jar Porter was served surprisingly frigid and in a pint glass.* Honestly, I expected a bit of a cookie sweet dessert beer and this tasted nothing like my expectations. Quite frankly, I didn’t even much like Cookie Jar at first as I found it shockingly tart for a porter as the bitter raisins were over-powering me a bit, and not in a pleasant way as in Dogfish Head’s delectable Raisin d’Etre.** Eventually, as the beer warmed, the oatmeal cookie flavors (courtesy of Jersey City’s Feed Your Soul Bakery) start coming out more, especially on the back-end with hints of brown sugar and vanilla.
I wish the whole beer had tasted like the finish, but really this ended up being somewhat of a standard porter. I really don’t think if you didn’t know the story of Cookie Jar would you even take a sip and go, “Wow, what is that?” I greatly admire Brooklyn’s ambition, but just like another recent Brewmasters release, Manhattan Project, this is a bit of a mildly flawed effort. Nevertheless, please keep ‘em coming, Brooklyn!
Now back to the is it “worth it”? I paid $8 for this pint, a high-average price for a pint in New York. So would I rather have my $8 back? OF COURSE NOT. Then I would just be a guy with $8 still curious as hell how good this crazy Cookie Jar porter is, anxious to try it. Now I’m a guy $8 poorer, that knows that Cookie Jar Porter is a…
*I’ve never had a problem with the Rattle ‘n’ Hum’s serving glassware or temperature, but I think the JV was working the noon-time shift.
**Re-reading that review–wow–was I a tougher grader back in the day. Now I’m all “YAY BEER!” on everything.