Boak and Bailey are hosting this month's edition of The Session. They have picked an excellent topic, the traditional mixing of beers. I like this topic because it asserts, nay, confirms that the experience of the drinker is the only experience in relation to any given glass of zymergistic goodness that matters. Brewer's intentions be damned. That being said, I am off to the other Weslakian end of Lake Ontario in a few minutes to partake of the old barley sandwich with Messers. St. John and Pattinson - aka "SinGinRonnieNacht" - so I am tight for time. Therefore, I am going to rely on that old trick of the double digit blogger and foist an old post upon you. Feel cheated? Remember: had I not told you... you would never have guessed. See? I am honest. A cheater pants extraordinaire but an honest one. That being the case, I am off with the car stereo blasting that old Scots bagpipe lament I Travel To Toronto So Weep For Me leaving you to consider what happens when the finest corn based beer in America meets the finest of the Trappist beers.
This is the second in my triptych of posts about blending New Glarus Spotted Cow with Belgian ales of note. In the first its blending partner was Duval and I came to like the 66.7% Spotted Cow 33.3% Duval ratio the best. Tonight? Who knows?
- 50% Spotted Cow - 50% Orval: On the nose, this brew is eerily like Oro De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin: musty brett, sweet malt and a touch of light plummy fruit. In the mouth, not so much with the ODC but not bad. The corniness of the Spotted Cow does not stand out so much as you might have thought as brett masks it well. But the sweetness is there and is well cut by the must and antiqued hops. Well worth doing to stretch out the quality.
- 33.3% Spotted Cow - 66.7% Orval: No. Not enough corn to assert itself above the brett making just for a weirdly diluted Orval with some off flavours. Don't try this at home.
- 66.7% Spotted Cow - 33.3% Orval: Here the sweetness has more corniness standing out and the ODC effect is gone. Yet, it is still a brew with brett. The Spotted Cow stands out as a quality brew with none of the off flavours of the Orval heavy version.
Results? I am really surprised by the 50%-50% blend as it was what I had in mind but was way better than I could have imagined. It bodes very well for mixing Orval with other slightly sweetish beer as sort of a brett concentrate. Is that disrespect? No more than calling this blend a Cornval. Beer blendings that say bugger off to the barley bullies.
There. That didn't hurt at all. Did it. By the way. One more thing. If you can get a copy of what B+B call "...1976 book Beer and Skittles [by] early* beer writer Richard Boston..." do so. What you will see is the basis of the other branch of the evolutionary tree of beer thinking. Separate from the slavish authority-based top-down world of the CAMRA / Jackson / BJCP Style Guidelines cabal which would have you believe beer is difficult and requires you to buy field guides explaining the structures and results of beer production as is you were studying the fungi of Madagascar, Richard Boston who was actually a rather late beer writer - compared to, say, the author of Piers The Poughman - who was an extremely entertaining all-round journalist and essayist. Because of that, he did not live under the shadow of beer industry boosterism and actually observed the beverage in its natural state and experienced it as an everyman. He shines a righteous beam of light for us to guide us out of the deep, dank, dreary cave in which we and the beery discourse have found ourselves abandoned within. He is the godfather of where we now are heading.
*Made you look!