Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The McBone Beer Journal; 'Merica Farmhouse Ale

After drinking 'Merica Farmhouse Ale, crafted by the lunatic pair of Oklahoma brother-brewers at Prairie Artisan Ales, I felt changed.  Not because a sizable quantity of alcohol had splashed down into my empty gut.  No, this change was foundational.  The beer didn't just make me drunk; I was a different person after drinking it.  I don't know why, and I'm still trying unravel how.  Probably I'm a little more introspective now, and perhaps I've gained a more cynical view of the world.  On the other hand, drinking 'Merica felt something like a rite of passage--traumatic, yes, but edifying in the end. Only this is certain: I'll never quite be the same again.

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:

Barn floor
Limburger cheese
Boiled cabbage
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.


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