Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our Year of Vacation, Plus Good Beer

OK, so, two weeks later.

In our defense, it was quite a year:
  • A home was purchased.
  • A wife was obtained, through legal, non-financial, and entirely consensual means.
  • At least one contributor had a significant career change.
  • My Jeep died, replaced by the obligatory Colorado Subaru.
All events were drink worthy. Some more than others.

The upshot being, while we've had numerous chances to drink (and have done so liberally) our willingness and/or ability to update this site have not followed suit.

But we're back. Oh dear lord, how we are back.

And with our return, why not return in style? Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you North Coast Brewing Company's Brother Thelonius Belgian Style Abby Ale.

There are things in life that converge nicely. A long mountain bike ride followed by Illegal Petes. A powder day followed by a few ice cold Olympias (yes, you heard me) and a long nap. Or, Jazz and Beer, in just about any form and just about any time.

Mind you, not any jazz: not smooth jazz, or cheese jazz like most people think of today. I'm thinking guys that made you work for it: Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, Art Blakey, John Coltrane. And of course, Thelonius Monk, the guy who made you work the hardest. For those who don't know, Monk was a pianist, whose style can be best described as challenging. But man, thats good stuff.

Also, Not any beer: yes, I can knock back an occasional Oly and still enjoy Coors 'Banquet', but I tend to prefer beers were the brewer has worked for it. Frequently, that comes in the form of Belgian beers (or at least, Belgiean-style beers). More often than not, my own beers tend to end up somewhat Belgian in style. In particular, I have a soft spot for abbey style beers: a little more alcohol content, dark amber in coloar, with a more rich flavor than most Belgians (Trippels, I'm looking at you).

So what should cross my desk (or liqour store, or whatever you're working off of) but Brother Thelonius. An Abby Ale, named after a jazz great? What? Wow. I said bring it, and it was brought. Thelonius is a strong (9.4% w/v alcohol) Belgian in grand standard. From a flavor perspective, it is a rich beer: I'm guessing the grain bill relies an a healthy dose of Special B grain, which generally imparts a sweet/rich flavor, almost along the lines of brown sugar. Unlike some beers, the amount of alcohol doesn't detract from the flavor; to the contrary, it is dangerously not noticable. Had it not been for some slight heaviness in the beer (as often happens with big beers), this would be a very easy beer to drink a whole lot of.

All in all, this one's a classic, and definitely up there in my top five. If you come across a bomber, or happen to stumble across the mythical Wisconsin bar that has Thelonius on tap (which a very relable source assures me exists), buy it, drink it, enjoy it. You won't come across many better.