Tuesday, March 5, 2013

El Duque's Epic Vertical Epic

I love that my first thought of trying to describe to people what going through the Vertical Epic was like was that it was a Wagner opera, each brew it's own leitmotif.

Then I realized that makes me sound like an asshole, so I'll go with this: Yeah, it was like drinking Star Wars.

Luke Skywalker: (7.7.7)-  Yes, my name is also Luke, and yes, I was tortured for years with Star Wars references, but I grew up with him and even though I think Obi Wan Kenobi is the most interesting character, Luke will always be my favorite, which means, yes, the 7.7.7 was by far my favorite brew.

I then, as I do now, refer to it as "that one beer that was Mountain Dew?"  Stone billed it as Saison and Golden Trippel influenced and it's obvious.  It's a perfect blend.  You get the refreshing lift of the citrus peel, spices, and ginger, as well as the high alcohol and candy sugars.  Like I said, Mountain Dew.  Surprisingly complex and refreshing and very glad I had it after it had aged. 

Han Solo: (5.5.5)- My second favorite beer of the night shared many characteristics with this space pirate.  It was dark, smooth, boozey, and not liked by many.  Han, like this beer, started from a simple beginning.  No spices were used in this beer.  Simple things led to complex malts and deep plum and sherry notes.  It was like drinking leather and it was damn sexy.  When I told it, "I love you." Its simple response was, "I know."

Jar Jar Binks: (3.3.3)- Jar Jar Binks is the beer equivalent of banana clove for me.  Both of these things are unpalatable and bring up deep wells of hate a loathing.  I don't remember much of 3.3.3.  I blacked out its terribleness.  It was too thin, too boring, and way too sweet. In the words of Jar Jar, "Dissen berry, berry bad. Oh! Icky icky goo!"

The Death Star: (6.6.6)- A man made moon that destroys planets and rebel trash.  Epic right?  Try huge letdown.  With a number like 6.6.6 I was expecting something... foreboding, or spicy, or daaaarrrrk.  Instead it was underwhelming.  I think this suffered worst from age than the other brews.  Fresh, the oak/toasted taste, dark malts, or odd tea leaf (Stone said it was supposed to be cedar), might have been a good mix, but when I had it, it just seemed too thin.  Obviously the planetary shield generator was down.

Anakin Skywalker: (12.12.12)- This one was my dark horse.  It was misunderstood, spicy, dark, and whiny.  Everyone, including me, immediately wrote this beer off.  It was confused as to what it was supposed to be: a winter beer, or potpourri.  Like the aforementioned Jedi, It was too spicy and bi-polar.

That was until it was paired with a cigar and wow, it really came together.  Like Anakin, once this brew took a dip in smoke and fire, it chilled out.  The spice and smoke of the cigar really made the flavors congeal and the antiseptic smoke numbed the tongue and mellowed the potpourri punch.  It was a great way to end the epic.

Stone billed their Vertical Epic as an epic told in beer form and it truly was quite the journey.  It was an amazing night full of friends and laughter, even if all those Belgian strong ales may have frozen me in carbonite and gave me hibernation sickness the next morning.

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