Am I hippie? Short answer: No.
To be fair, I probably have some tendencies with which the average hippie could agree. I’m a big fan of questioning the man (whoever the fuck that is). I consume almond butter & Nutella sandwiches on a regular basis. I fucking love Les Claypool.
But the fact of the matter is that I’m not a hippie, as I think they invest a lot of their time in bullshit. Unless you’re playing in one or watching one of the best, jam bands are boring after about ten minutes. Smoking pot can lead to great, nearly spiritual experiences but definitely shouldn’t be an everyday activity. And while there may be something behind the arguments that organic foods are tastier and more environmentally friendly, I think it’s worthwhile to recognize that most are distributed by uber-mega-big-buck companies hoping to strike a profit.
With such an attitude about the world of organic foodstuffs, I’m not really sure why I chose this week’s prospective brew. Perhaps part of my decision rests in the fact that I’m purposely avoiding the winter seasonal beers until Thanksgiving. But getting closer to the heart of the beverage-choice, I think I may have been looking for a challenge. Something that, had I not made a pact to drink a new beer every week, I would never buy. A brew at which I normally just scoff; not scoff and then actually purchase.
Today, I’m drinking Maple Oat Ale from the Peak Organic Brewing Company. As per usual, I visited the brewery’s website to see what they had to say. The Maple Oat Ale, in their words:
The Maple Oat Ale is brewed with Maine-grown organic oats from granola company GrandyOats and Vermont-produced organic maple syrup from Butternut Mountain Farms in Morrisville, Vermont. The beer is in support of Chefs Collaborative, the nation’s leading culinary organization that provides its members with tools for running economically healthy, sustainable food service businesses.
The Maple Oat Ale is a copper-colored ale with a soft, dynamic mouth feel from the organic oats and a subtle hint of sweetness in the finish from the organic maple syrup. Enjoy!
From these words, the fluid seems worthy of ingestion.
So far I’ve kicked back two bottles of the Earth-friendly intoxicant: half of the $9.37 four-pack kidnapped earlier in the afternoon. Although I have no problem paying upwards of $10 for four righteous lagers, such a price is a bit of a calculated risk for an untried beverage. But when I was in the store, I was able to reason that “The name is Maple Oat Ale. I love maple syrup. I love cereal, which sometimes has oats. And of course I love ale. Away we go!”
Maybe…maybe in the future I shouldn’t try to convince myself that something is going to taste good. After all, expectations will be created and (with few exceptions) this results in disappointment. The key to beer drinking (and life, really) is to anticipate nothing at all.
Truth be told, I’m not one-hundred percent sure where I stand on Maple Oat Ale. The first bottle tasted bitter and had no qualms about announcing the fact that it contained alcohol — my taste buds were pissed at first, utterly confused as to why I was using the ale as a lubricant with which to wash down the evening’s dose of pizza. The second consumed bottle somehow (whether through variances in bottling or my mind tricking me yet again) was contrastively sweet. Between the two, I began to imagine the liquor-water as a balance of earthy-crunchy granola and sweet pancake blood; yet this still didn’t satisfy the flavor-craving I desired in a product dubbed Maple Oat Ale.
Next time I time I conduct a tasting (i.e. next Friday) I’ll be more careful not to pair the brew with four slices of olive pizza. I can’t shake the idea that it has skewed my otherwise perfectly scientific results.
Damn it. I don’t feel like coming up with a quantitative grade this week. So in the free-spirit nature of the organic movement and the dirty hippies by whom it was spawned, I awarded Peak Organic’s Maple Oat Ale the following: Good vibes, man…good vibes.