DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE—Froggy style has a lot of variations

My Fellow Inebriates,

Two nights ago my dad returned from a trade show with two bottles of DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE.

I’d been wondering where the hell my dad was. Often I can find him spread out (his work gear, not his junk) all over the dining room table, stressing my mum out with his tentaculate electronics, and offending us all by playing Pink Floyd’s The Wall out of sequence. But for the last week he’s been scarce.

I suspect he’s been wined and dined by suppliers this week, plied with swag far beyond the two beers he brought home. But we’ll never know. My dad has this effective trick of entering the house with his headset on, carrying on a conversation until the novelty of his arrival has worn off and everyone’s forgotten to ask him about his day. Repeatedly throughout the week, and well past the bedtime of the kids—who would ignore his phone conversation anyway and attack him—he’s entered mid-conversation, muttering away about terminations and racks and permits, and—seeing he won’t respond anyway—I’ve gone back to looking at the People of Walmart or trying on moustaches or whatever other productive thing I was doing before he came in. Effectively I’ve forgotten to interrogate him about this trade show and whatall’s been going on there. For instance:

Why only two beers?

Why NUT BROWN ALE particularly? Does he know that DEAD FROG markets an array of unusual brews (mandarin orange, pepper lime, toasted coconut)?—not quite targeted at craft beer geeks (too light, too lager-y) yet not targeted at the Molson Canadian crowd either. In fact, DEAD FROG has been a bit hit-or-miss when it comes to aligning with the increasingly divergent craft and mass beer markets, particularly with its 650-mL specialty brews, and would have found itself dead indeed had it not sought $500,000 in investment money earlier this year.

 

If my dad hadn’t been yammering into the headset I would have asked about DEAD FROG’s beer portfolio—did Dad have the option to scoop some other products for yours truly or was he just not interested? Did he have his fill of them at the show? OMG, would my dad do that without me?

Fact is, Dad might have picked the best of the bunch. DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE is a nice beer. Dark and almost cola color with a moderate-to-weighty mouthfeel, it carries a hoppy punch yet doesn’t distance itself from the warming, mellowing maltiness of a good ale. Crisp carbonation focuses the hop/malt intersection nicely. You can detect chocolate in the background plus the eponymous nuttiness, making for a solid, interesting brew that doesn’t cloy and isn’t so intriguing that it becomes annoying or precious. Paws up for sure. Or flippers or whatever.

With its recent cash infusion and wealth of marketing ideas, DEAD FROG, just one of three new brewers making a splash in British Columbia, evidently has some (frog) legs. If we all boost our drinking, we should be able to keep the frog alive.

Advertisements

JAMES MITCHELL CABERNET SAUVIGNON—Big enough to chase away your trauma

My Fellow Inebriates,

Unless you are unnaturally hirsute, if you haven’t started cultivating your Movember stache you are pretty much shit-out-of-luck. Even if you start now, there you’ll be on November 30 going, Look everybody, look at my upper lip, look at my rad…baby-soft down. You’ll have to watch your copiously moustachioed pals head off for their triumphant end-of-Movember shave while your own peach-fuzz trophy succumbs meekly to the Hair-Off Mitten®.

Despite this logic, my dad has steadfastly refused to get his stache on. At first he cited work policy: “No facial hair.” But then he slipped up and mentioned that several coworkers were doing it.

“So you have to do it. You have to do it, Dad, because I can’t.” You see, I had only recently realized the static nature of my own fur growth. It is what it is, people; it doesn’t grow! (I’d always thought I was just growing and shedding simultaneously like wild bears do. OMG! This revelation was almost as traumatic as the one about my missing genitals.)

I meant to keep bugging my dad but was distracted by the severed arm we saw on the way home from elementary school drop-off. Any other day of the year I would have panicked, and for a second I did, but then my two brain cells reminded each other that yesterday was Halloween.

At afternoon pick-up the arm was still there although it had been tossed from the curb to someone’s front yard. Five-year-old Miss V asked casually if it was real or fake. She seemed receptive to either answer.

When you see something as shocking as a severed arm, you need to process the image so the horror doesn’t overwhelm you. You might even need a sedative to arrest the involuntary recapitulation of the unspeakable apparition by your unwilling retinae. I sought such a chemical this evening in JAMES MITCHELL CABERNET SAUVIGNON (2009). Its 13.9% alcohol seemed just the ticket.

Grapes from the Lodi region of central California enjoy a Mediterranean-style climate with warm days and cool nights, along with rugged, loamy soil. JAMES MITCHELL CABERNET SAUVIGNON is a good example of the area’s brawny viticulture. From the moment the cork is extracted this wine takes no prisoners—boisterously rich black cherry and lingonberry come out swinging with a hefty dose of oak, flaunting the wine’s quintessential Cabernetness like a handlebar moustache.

With these olfactory harbingers, the sipping doesn’t disappoint. This is a big, gorgeous Cab that doesn’t pull punches. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a Cabernet, get ready for a striking one. Tannins parch the tongue masterfully as berries, oak, and licorice go to town on your mid-palate; the finish reverberates with lingering dark fruit. This is a serious wine for those who like getting down with big, bold booze. And if you get some in your moustache, well, you get to enjoy it even longer.

All of which is much better than dwelling on severed arms or your dad’s non-compliance with Movember.

LOST SOULS CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN PORTER—What would you sell for it?

I threw down the hairy paw (read: gauntlet) this morning in a challenge toward the only human in the mostly estrogenic LBHQ capable of taking it on.

“Dude, you have less than two weeks to get your stache on.”

I was addressing my dad of course. Despite the ongoing flirtation peri-menopause is having with my mother, a decent moustache is well out of reach for her…this year. So it’s up to my dad and me to be Bloggers for Movember.

Poor Dad. Only rarely has he ever tried to grow a stache—each time a failure! Some guys look great with facial hair, and my dad can pull off five o’clock shadow, but an honest-to-goodness moustache? Ha! My dad looks like a tool with a moustache, which I suspect is why he said it’s “not gonna happen” this November.

He even cited his work regulations—apparently the very large company he works for regulates facial hair. OMG!

If you’re wondering why I’m so confident about winning this would-be throwdown against my dad, consider that I already have a moustache. I just have to shave 95% of myself and leave a bit of fur under my nose. Voilà!

This was pretty much my path today. The razors were in the bathroom. It’s much easier to get that little plastic tab off a Daisy razor head than it is to open a bottle of wine, let me tell you. There I was, poised to sculpt my latent moustache, when three little girls came screaming into the bathroom wearing Disney princess dresses. The youngest immediately dropped drawers to deposit solids in the toilet. The others went into a flurry of clothing exchange, obscuring Miss V’s plops with their 4-KHz exuberance. My ears exploded and the razor skittered off into the sink, from which my mother sternly retrieved it. There would be no bear shaving on her watch, she said, particularly in front of her two daughters and their playdate witness.

“P and V are used to shit like this,” I remonstrated. “They like it.”

“No they don’t,” she said. “They’d rather put makeup on you, which would be almost as difficult to undo, so make yourself scarce.”

“But I need a moustache. I’ve already committed to Bloggers for Movember. I’ve liked the Facebook page already. And I have only recently garnered the attention of Le Clown, whose charitable fundraising effort this is. If you thwart my moustache you’re basically endorsing prostate cancer. You’re telling prostate cancer to go forth and multiply.”

“That’s a bit strong, LB.”

“Speaking of strong, do you recall the alcohol percentage of LOST SOULS CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN PORTER?” (This is what is called a gratuitous segue.) “I think it was 6.5%. Do you remember?”

“Why?”

“Because at a respectable ABV it would address my DTs in short order, and one could settle for drinking it slowly; moreover, with its moderate level of fine carbonation it wouldn’t interfere too much with one’s moustache. Assuming one was allowed to groom oneself a moustache.”

I don’t recall my mother ever calling any of her other children a douchebag.

Fact is, and I’m not even going to save this for the final punch, LOST SOULS CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN PORTER is the best beer I’ve had all year. With its comic-book-style Grim Reaper label and scary moniker, it’s freaky not just for its Halloween theme but because—holy crap, people—it won’t be here for very long. In fact, when we returned a second time to the liquor store for more, it was all sold out.

Let’s break it down, my fellow inebriates:

LOST SOULS is an inky cola color with a tan head. Across the room you might take it for a Guinness, but then you’d be surprised by its snappy carbonation. Aromas of sweet malt, espresso-touched chocolate, subtle spices and just-perceptible pumpkin waft from the glass. On the palate LOST SOULS delivers a rich baker’s-chocolate wave of toasty malt and mild pumpkin, reaching into you like a succubus and stealing your very soul. Yes, guard your soul, people, if you’re lucky enough to sample this Parallel 49 product before it evaporates into post-Halloween nonexistence. With its bewitching flavor palate and satisfying viscosity, LOST SOULS will own you. (Maybe eternally.) I would sell my soul for another, people. And don’t tell Le Clown, but I would probably sell my nascent moustache for it too. Except I won’t; damn it, I’m growing that fucker.

Visit Le Clown for full details (click the picture).