Tuesday, July 30, 2013
The McBone Beer Journal; 'Merica Farmhouse Ale
Usually I try to write a review while in the act of drinking the beer. This one required some time, distance and a chance to reflect. Though weeks have passed, I remember the experience with total clarity, the same way I remember exactly where I was and what I doing the day Don Knotts died. Am I ready to write this? Let's say I'm as ready as I'll ever be.
A dinner invite to Jenny and Thomas's house would introduce me to a number of beers. Thomas suggested we start with the 'Merica. He claimed never to have sampled it before, but it occurs to me now there was a twinkle in his eye as he spoke. Then again, that may be the 'Merica thinking for me; you see, I'm less trusting these days.
The beer almost plopped rather than splashed into the glass. What was left following the "pour" was an opaque orange-yellowish concoction, like an Indiana sun corrupted by the haze of a nuclear dawn. I was excited, but wary.
After a moderate white foam subsided, I sniffed what appeared to be the inside of an ancient cheese box, but one inhabited by a family of rodents. Thomas, somehow unafraid, was the first to sip. 'That's pretty funky,' he commented.
To say the least.
Finding descriptors seems a futile gesture, but I will try to approximate the chaos that was unleashed in my mouth. Yes, there were some surface citrus and floral notes, but I don't give a damn about that. Here's the important stuff:
Freshly baked sourdough bread
I can draw no conclusions other than this: 'Merica Farmhouse Ale is the greatest beer I have ever tasted. Prairie Farmhouse Ale is the worst beer I have ever tasted.
My sometimes-popular wife has this to say: It was one of the most remarkable drinks I've ever had, in part because it started as one thing, but ended as something completely different. Sort of like a movie that starts as a somewhat toothless romantic comedy and halfway through becomes a poetic zombie flick.
For my part, I'd say that 'Merica Farmhouse Ale is to beer what Finnegans Wake is to novels. In fact, I should like to read Joyce's work paired with this befuddling ale. Perhaps one would help unravel the secrets of the other.
Official McBone Rating: 5.0 McBones and 0.0 McBones.
This double rating is unprecedented, and perfectly reflects that night of agony and ecstasy. Would I do it again? In a second. Would I recommend it? Depends. Are you ready to look your demons straight in the face?
Drink 'Merica at your own risk.