The neatly manicured hand is Josh Rubin's. After the very successful Southern Tier dinner on Friday night, he snabbed Phin DeMink, Southern Tier's brewer Paul Cain
(aka "Paul whose business card I misplaced") and me taking us on a taxi ride to BeerBistro! where we popped tops until we closed the place down. After I earned the nickname butter blogger boy for my lack of distress for those bottles found to have high diacetyl levels, the final beer to be shared was Lost Abbey's Angels Share. It was quite lovely and we had a reasonably (or perhaps just almost) contemplative discussion on value and style categorization as we sipped its bourbon oaked vanilla, cherry, dark plum and cocoa goodness. We couldn't come to agreement on the first point but did agree that it really didn't fall into the barley wine slot given its lack of pale malt focus and absence of the sort of hops you see in the US take on the style.
What was good was how it triggered communal consumption as we were joined by another beer hound, an aspiring brewer whose name I am sorry to say I missed (given the, errr, late hour) but who reads the blog so may be able to remind me. What I found most interesting was how it was not massively heated, overloaded with hops or particularly spiced and it lacked any tang. These were the sorts of things I had decided are hallmarks of extreme brewing. What it did have was discretion: this LCBO labbed 12.9% brew (even given the, errr, late hour) was as subtle a walloping brute as ever I've had. Given that, I was struck by perhaps its extreme prudence or even humility in how it made us slow down and notice it. BAers have gone gaa-gaa.