Monday, October 18, 2010

I Think My Muse Has a Problem

Do you want to know what's worse than talking about not being able to write? Writing about not being able to write. Look at my blog, ask my DadCentric buds, check out CultureBrats, hell, just look here - they'll all tell you that I have been an utter #FAIL as a writer as of late. But, that's changed. My muse, who has been on extended leave until recently, has returned (however briefly we'll soon find out) looking like she spent a year in Vegas. And what, you might ask, has inspired me so? Beer, of course. That and my brief Thoreau-like walk around the pond in the apple orchard. But mostly beer.

Friday night I stopped into a new packie in the area. Great store: big, clean, friendly. The only problem is that they are still pretty thin in the micro/craft brew area. The ubiquitous names are all there, but it is lacking some of the local faves. Anyway, I grabbed some Sam Adams Octoberfest and the Latitude 48 IPA. Not sure how I'd missed the latter, but I had. According to the Sam Adams Web site: Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA is a unique IPA brewed with a select blend of hops from top German, English, and American growing regions all located close to the 48th latitude within the “hop belt” of the Northern Hemisphere. The combination of hops in this beer creates a distinctive but not overpowering hop character. The beer is dry hopped with Ahtanum, Simcoe, and East Kent Goldings hops for a powerful citrus and earthy aroma. The hop character is balanced by a slight sweetness and full body from the malt blend. Hmmm, hop belt - who knew? Well, color me intrigued. It does have a distinctive hops character, but it isn't the full hoppy mouthfeel and bitterness of Sierra Nevada's Torpedo (but really, what is?). As far as IPAs go, this offering is on the lighter side, which I imagine, is what Sam Adams was hoping for. It has that nice fresh pine and floral aroma and taste one expects from an IPA, which is complemented by a nice malty/bready backbone to give it some decent body. All-in-all it's a nice British-style IPA and certainly a good one to try if you're not all that familiar with IPAs or have been hesitant about hoppy ales.

Saturday found us in Massachusetts at Nashoba Valley Winery for some apple pickin'. This might come as a shock to some of my Mass. homies, but I had never been apple picking until this day. I know. But I'm willing to try anything when there's a brewery involved. Or single malt whiskey. Or both. So, who knew there were some many different varieties of apples? Ok, ok, put your hands down you kiss-asses, that was a rhetorical question. Anyway, after walking the rows of the orchard we made our way up to the shop where they have their wines, beers and spirits available for purchase. I was tempted to pay the $3 for a shot of the whiskey but deferred considering I had driving to do. I grabbed a six-pack of the Nashoba Valley Winery IPA - you're surprised, no? We made our way back to the porch where I took the opportunity to try this American-style IPA. I noticed that earthy pine I've come relish almost immediately after opening. There was the distinct bitterness on the first sip, but it quickly dissipated which came as a bit of a disappointment. It finished somewhat watery and that's unfortunate because it had a good hoppy body to it - or so I thought. It does have a nice balance to it - there were some sweet malts underlying the hops, but it didn't finish. I was left wanting more. Maybe it will be borne out in subsequent bottles - I did rush this one more than I would have usually. I hope so.

Let's hope my muse has decided to stay around for awhile. Maybe I just have to give it more beer.


TwoBusy said...

I love Nashoba - and was intrigued by the single malt the last time I visited, although I also didn't work up the courage to give it a shot - but I have to admit that by and large I've been disappointed by their beers. The Wattaquadock Wheat is a pretty good hefeweizen, but beyond that... bleh. I also have to say that I've picked up a mixed 6-pack probably once a year for the past 3 years there, and each time at least 2 of the beers has been flat or actively skunked. That's a serious bottling problem.

Vicky said...

You said packie. I'm not allowed to use that word in our house because it totally puts my husband on tilt. I have to call it the lame, ABC store now that I live in VA.

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