A is for April, Ayinger, Avery, and mermAids!

It’s been a good beer month and with spring time upon us, get ready for the German bocks and domestic microbrew spring seasonals to start gracing the beer landscape, from Sam Adams in your grocer’s beer-cooler to the latest “saison” from Belgium on the taps at your local good-beer pub. I have to thank my Queers & Beers co-conspirator, St Luie Girl, for introducing me to this first beer I want to feature this month. The Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, from Germany, is a fine, fine beer. (For those of you who read German or who just want to see pretty pictures of happy people drinking delicious beer against mountainscapes and grassylands, see http://www.ayinger.de) Brewed by the Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei in Aying, Germany, the Celebrator Dopplebock has the distinction of being Beer Advocate’s top Dopplebock, earning an “A” for all-around Awesomeness(http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/35). St Luie Girl brought this to a tasting we held with a small group of friends, most of who were new to beer or never drank anything heavier than a “light (bodied) beer.” But when the tasters of the Celebrator went around, many of them loved its sweet malty brownsugarness, which pours a dark amber-hued brown and offered a nose that ranged from chocolatey to maple syrup. It struck me as a delicious dopplebock, which is a strong German lager (don’t let the high alcohol content fool you into thinking this is an ale!) The Celebrator was deeper and more complex than most of the other dopplebocks I’ve had, and it quickly replaced the Spaten Optimator as my favorite of the ‘genre.’ (Sorry, Spaten. But I still look forward to a big mug o’yeh when I go to Wurstküche.)I had it from the bottle the first time and on draught the second time. This might be one of the rare cases in which I prefer the bottled version of this beer instead of the draught. While the poured pint was great and reminded me why I liked the Celebrator to begin with, on draught it seemed to lack a bit of the creaminess I remember tasting the first time when it was poured from the bottle. Still, at 6.7% alcohol and currently available at great local places such as The Bottle Room in Uptown Whittier (http://www.thebottleroombar.com/), it’s definitely worth getting a pint (or a bottle) where you can find it. The Bottle Room owner Patrick Best is a friend to good local beer and those who appreciate the great rotating selection of local craft brews and international beers such as the Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock. A big shout-out and thank you to everyone at the Bottle Room for their beer-lovin’ ways, great happy hours, and their generous pours and patience every time I show up and wanna taste like 10 things 😀

The second beer I’ve been meaning to write up and again, thanks to The Bottle Room, I finally had recently, is the Mermaids Red Ale from Coronado Brewing Co. in San Diego, CA (http://www.coronadobrewingcompany.com/) At first sip, this purdy red ale took me back to my tortured days at The Pub on the campus of UCSD. There, I first learned to appreciate the tasty offerings of the local San Diego local brewscene, and therefore drank many a pint of Mermaid Red because it was usually on ‘special’ for $2 a pint, and probably because of that, I stayed away from the Mermaid for awhile. But when I came back to it at The Bottle Room the other day, that first sip reminded me of that nice malty hoppiness that characterizes most SD beers and the Mermaid Red in particular. When held up to the light, it’s a beautiful deep amber with a faint head. I like to think of the mermaid as a California-style Irish red ale. For those of you who like the Murphy’s Irish Red or even the Jeremiah’s Irish Red from BJ’s Brewery/Pizzeria, then you’d probably really like the Mermaids.

Lastly, the silky Maharaja Imperial (triple) IPA from Avery Brewing in Boulder, CO (http://www.averybrewing.com). Mmmm…this reminds me when I first had the Russian River Pliny the Elder or the Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA. This is one of those indelible IPAs that you actually want to look for. Here, I need to say hi and give a huge thanks to Mike Milan of the Verdugo Bar. On April 1, Queers & Beers paid our first unofficial visit as such an entity to The Verdugo Bar in Eagle Rock and, no foolin, Mike was very generous with the tastings of everything from O’Hara’s Irish Stout to Russian River’s Blind Pig to yes, the Celebrator Dopplebock. Queers & Beers were smitten. Mike recommended the Maharaja Imperial IPA, which is heavenly melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Ay, the imperialist origins still nag me and inspire me to write at the same time. But as a bierbutch, I have to say that this is the type of so-good IPA that will make you a fan of the style if you aren’t already. At a buzzworthy 10.4% alcohol, sip and enjoy the Maharaja Imperial, and don’t get mad if you get it served in a Belgian-style goblet. It’s not meant to be pounded! Again, I’d steer you all to Beeradvocate.com for their great information about this West-Coast style of a strong Russian imperial ale, which was historically brewed in England for export to the Russian imperial court. (So on the one hand, we have a classic IPA which was brewed in England for the British regiments stationed in/colonizing India, then on the other, a typically stronger version of it brewed in England expressly for the Russian royalty. History lessons abound!)

So here’s to raising many pints to historically-grounded beer-drinking fun! And stay tuned for more about this Queers & Beers.

cheers!

mellie von bierbutcha.

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