Thursday, September 12, 2013

Just right

Thanks to my swim buddy Doug, I no longer drink just "lawnmower beers," golden and light, gulped like replenishing water.

Doug's swim persona is a cover: He's really a mad brewer bent on taking over the world. Short of that, he'll settle for bending Northern California taste buds to his will, and teaching a few philistines like me.

I now prefer porters and stouts, which long ago I described as tasting like motor oil. I'll drink IPAs, his favorite, but the piney flavor still stops me. Which, it turns out, is a big problem, because the piney flavor is from hops, the flower of the beer gods.

I'm trying. Doug's trying. It's a work in progress.

I know I've made progress when, for beers after a swim, I ordered Guinness and could not believe how weak it really was compared to the dark beers to which I've built a tasty tolerance.

Could I parse the components of a beer, and tell you the individual flavors that uphold its harmony?  Could I tell you whether this or that beer is, as they say in the business, "hoppy?" No, I could not. Like I said, work to be done.

This art (guoache and transparent watercolor on line-art-photocopied bristol board) for a story on mad brewers juggling multiple varieties within constraints of time, space and budget, reminds me of Doug.

Who, by the way, says "lawnmower beers" have their place. Such as, after mowing lawns.


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