Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Beer Flood

Disasters can take many different forms. Huge disasters, like Hurricane Katrina or a giant Tsunami scare the dickens out of me. Earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, tornados and large meteors are also nothing to laugh about. When one spends too much time thinking of disasters, beer will provide a pint of disaster relief. Unless you lived in London in 1814. I always thought I was safe from a beer disaster. The closest thing I had ever heard that involved beer and the word disaster was either a spilled pitcher or an empty keg. This was not the case at a local brewery in London, England. As it turns out, a vat of beer with a small crack in it exploded. The vat was holding the liquid equivalent of 4000 casks or wooden kegs, causing its very own Tsunami of beer.

A domino effect ensued, with the rushing liquid causing more beer vats to explode. The beer broke down the brewery wall and flooded into the city streets, invading and destroying buildings and homes in its path. The locals were found to be either running or swimming for their lives, while some were lapping up the "free" ocean of beer. 12 people were stampeded to death in the rush for flowing beer. By the end of the day, 20 people had been killed by drowning, stampede and a few from alcoholic coma. Interestingly enough, a riot broke out in the hospital due to the smell of beer coming from the injured townspeople. The previously admitted patients, who happened to already be in the hospital for various illnesses, accused the hospital staff of holding out on them, and wanted beer for themselves.* And the English think Americans are without restraint?

I could see a beer frenzy like this happening at a Philadelphia Eagles Football game. Imagine if only one keg burst free. It would be like yelling fire at a crowded movie theater. Thankfully, (did I say thankfully?) beer today is stored in metal vats. The odds of a beer explosion/disaster ocurring are basically slim and none, but there is always wishful thinking.

The Beer

Young's Dirty Dick Ale: Young's brewery owns a pub in England that is 261 years old. The pub was named after a regular patron who never washed or bathed, Dirty Dick. Dirty Dick's Ale was sweet smelling, red in color with a very nice, mellow taste. At 4.1% alcohol, it is a very drinkable beer.

Grant's Scottish Style Ale: Brewed in Yakima, Washington using Scottish malts and American hops, the beer had a sweet malty smell and a sweet malty taste. A hint of hops in the first swallow, Grant's had a very smooth finish.

Ruination IPA: Stone Brewing, the brewers of Arrogant Bastard Ale, also make this incredible, out of this world, IPA. I poured the beer into a large mug and placed it about 2 feet away from my body. I could clearly smell the hops coming from this beer. Based on the results of an Italian study concerning hops and curing cancer, my first taste gave me every indication that Ruination IPA may possibly be the cure that the Cancer Society is looking for. This beer was hopped up. Considering the amount of hops, this beer was very well balanced and drinkable. It is not a one beer curiosty, it is definitely a having more than one kind of beer. I am now drinking it as part of my health & wellness program.

Loose Cannon Hop 3rd Ale: Brewed in Baltimore, Maryland by Clipper City Brewing, this bottle fermented, yeast on the bottom ale had a sweet, hop smell and a hint of citrus in its taste. Sort of like a grapefruit skin. This was a very pleasant, enjoyable beer. A beautiful reddish, carmel color, it is a shame that I only had one bottle to enjoy. I like this beer. Their motto, " It's Heavy Seas that Seperate the Men from the Boys," refers to Loose Cannon's IPA style. IPA (India Pale Ale) were brewed with extra hops so that the beer could survive the long voyage from England to India. This beer will not survive long in your fridge.

* Alan D. Eames, The Secret Life of Beer 1995