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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Brutal Brew Tool

As I have mentioned in previous writings, the road that led me to beer enlightenment started off with a Black & Tan. I remember the evening clearly. My rugby team had just finished a preseason, evening practice session at our new field in Atlantic City. Being it was summer and the temperature was high in the 80's, with typical Jersey Shore humidity, sweat, lots of sweat was the order of the day. Our playing field, due to much planning on my part, was located around the corner from a pub. In rugby, being the game is quite physical and physically demanding, pub locale is essential. Thirsty, tired boys need to be replenished... quickly. Another well known fact about rugby is that it is also a gentlemen's game (ironic, being there is nothing gentle about it). The gentlemen part is that before and after the game, the players are very well mannered and leave whatever happened on the field, on the field. That being said, there is an aspect to the game that is very social. The home team is required to host an after match party with plenty of beer and food for the opposing team. Thus, the second reason for the close proximity of a local pub. In our case, it was the Irish Pub across from Bader Field in Atlantic City.

This brings me back to our first practice session. After the practice, we ended up at the Irish Pub, where a few of my teammates had ordered Black & Tans. I had just walked up to the bar and was about to order my typical Light Beer when I noticed this strange, oddly colored beer. Black on the top and a distinct line in the middle separating it from another beer. I had to try this concoction. When my pint was given to me and I raised the glass and took a sip, I didn't like what I tasted. I drank it down but didn't like it. I actually preferred the top portion, so my next order was a straight Guinness which I thought was Ok. By the third Guinness, I was in love. But I digress.

Now, years later and a much greater appreciation of beer, I actually enjoy a Black & Tan. Once I entered the world of Ale and learned to drink that style of beer with enthusiasm, the Black & Tan became a lot easier to enjoy. A Black and Tan is typically a Stout or Porter poured over an Ale. In Ireland, you never want to order a Black & Tan, as it is a derogatory term associated with the Irish Troubles of the 1920's. A Half & Half is the term used in Ireland. This will get you a Guinness and a Harp Lager.

A few weeks ago, I was stumbling around the Internet when I came across a website for a Black & Tan spoon. This is a tool used to pour the perfect Black & Tan. This spoon was in the shape of a Lagerhead Turtle and was called the Brutul. I ordered one and it was shipped to my door for all of eleven bucks. Let me tell you, I have been having a blast ever since. When the Brutul arrived I couldn't wait to make a B&T, so I ran out to buy a six back of Bass Ale (my never depleted stock of Guinness is always ready). I thought it would be a trick to pour, but it was as simple as can be. I had the perfect Black & Tan at home. The fun part was reading the card that came with the Brutul. It listed recipes of all the different combinations you could make. For instance, a Black Velvet is Guinness and champagne. The Patriot is Guinness and Sam Adams. I decided to make up a few of my own. A "Der Dubliner" is Guinness and a Hackor Schorr EdelBrau Ale. Very Good combo. A "GuinnyLing" is A Guinness and Yuengling. Nice taste and a terrific color. Yuengling has that nice reddish color. My next combo, which I personally feel will be the rage at all the better beer bars, is a "Dirty Hoe." Pour a Guinness on top of a Hoegarden for a summer treat. Can you imagine ordering a couple of Dirty Hoes from your bartender? For the conservatives among us, think of your garden tool after a hard day in the dirt. For the rest of you, keep your mind off of Pacific Avenue.

The Brutul can be found at www.brutul.com or e-mail bill@brutul.com. This is a great little purchase and makes a very affordable gift that will be the talk of the party.

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