January 22nd, 2012

caillebotte_man at his window

Brewing

Afternoon brought a surprise of snow flurries, but none of it stuck. It was mostly slushy and mixed with rain. Cars coming down from higher elevations brought actual snow, some of which sloughed off into little piles on the parking lots of the supermarkets. Actual snow could fall this low later tonight, but rain tomorrow will wash it away. It's semi-winter for now, but I don't expect it to last.

Today I bought some of Sierra Nevada's latest seasonal beer, Ruthless Rye. This is the first time they've come up with a winter beer I actually like. Most of the reviews I've read stress the rye and hops in the flavor, but I found it to taste almost exactly like unsweetened grapefruit juice. Unsweetened grapefruit juice is not a popular beverage, so maybe that's why most of the reviewers missed noting that particular characteristic of this brew (though one of them did mention hints of citrus rind.) I have no way of knowing whether or not this is a typical trait of rye ales, as I've never had one before. I've drunk lots of grapefruit juice, though.

Ruthless Rye is supposed to be 6.6% alcohol, but I suspect that the bottle I just drank was a bit stronger. I got a three-Bud buzz off of a single bottle. For those who don't know, grapefruit juice is very good at concealing the taste of alcohol, and I suspect that the six pack I bought came from a batch that turned out stronger than it was supposed to. Sierra Nevada usually doesn't do that, but I have had the occasional six pack that was clearly trespassing on boilermaker territory, despite the alcohol content listed on the labels. When I lived in Los Angeles I used to buy the Japanese beer Asahi now and then, and that particular brand was frequently way more alcoholic than it was supposed to be. Hooray for poor quality control!

Anyway, the rye ale is going to be a nice accompaniment to the stormy weather. It will probably outlast the storms, though. The weather is expected to start turning springlike again by Thursday. At this rate, people will be barbecuing by February. Even if it doesn't get that warm that soon, this year has already marked itself as weird. I wouldn't be surprised if the snow finally shows up in April. Maybe the ancient Mayans were right.


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