I am not a brewer. But I learned a process for enabling myself to think through problems, analyze the situation, break it down and then reassemble it in a way that made sense to me and those around me. I think I am pretty good at it and it has enabled me to shift from subject to subject with relative ease.
So I entered Rustico pretty confident that I could weave together a couple of brews and come out all right by the end of the night. I came in, sat down, said "Hi" to my friend Olga, chatted a bit with her, and then ordered up my first beer. This is where I made my first mistake.
I put in for a Solidarity: Red, White and Gluten, which is a American pale wheat ale, brewed by District Chophouse and Brewery. Now when you see gluten in the name that gluten will be receiving special treatment, and this was no exception. It was kind of strange tasting. I have sampled almost 1500 beers and this one was on the weird list. I found this a bit disappointing and it made more sense that it belonged on the light or perhaps even a sour one, but not American pale wheat ale. It was OK beer but I felt down after drinking it. I gave it an Untappd score of 3.5, but that was being charitable. Could I have blown it so badly?
Olga came over again to see how I was doing. I explained my situation to her and she suggested to tap into my server's knowledge and see what he could come up with as an interim solution. So I did, and it just goes to prove that should listen to your server because they are really more an artist, than a simple worker.
With Olga's assistance, my next order was a Saison De Pipaix, which is listed as a saison/farmhouse ale, brewed by Brasserie a Vapeur. Brasserie a Vapeur is a Belgian vapor brewery founded in the town of Pipaix. This beer is subtle in the way it weaves it aroma around you, slowly drawing you in. The mix of hops and other ingredients take their time, stemming from the vapor, to take their time. Weaving your head and body to the point where you think you are in heaven. It is really good beer. The alcohol is 6% ABV and no IBU is listed. The website lists is as:
A traditional Wallonian saison beer, born
with the brewery in 1785. Dry, normally hopped, slightly acidic, very
spicy (black pepper, ginger, sweet orange peel, curaçao, star anise...)
I rate it at an Untappd of 4.25.
I started to feel my power returning. I was alright, but I needed another beer of similar stature to bring me around. I explained my situation to Jesse (I somehow had two servers!) and he had two potential solutions. I ordered one and he brought two glasses. (I have discovered since then that he often does this - it is a welcomed treat.) He has definitely earned my approval.
The first one I tried was Le Terroir (Lips of Faith), a American wild ale by the New Belgium Brewing Company of Ft. Collins, CO. This starts as a battle between malts, locked in a beautiful blond ale. Some are coming early and others are sneaking in and then striking full force. The battle is epic but somehow soothing at the same time. The battle winds down until you take another drink and it is back on. It is good beer, though I can appreciate some drinker's hesitance. The alcohol is 7.5% ABV and the IBU is 12. The website couches it this way:
French, meaning ‘from the terrain, soil, land, ground, earth.’ You may
have heard it as a wine term speaking of the environmental conditions of
the vineyard, the pH of the soil, even the slope of the land. But beer
has it too, especially a New Belgium sour beer, which oozes terroir from
the pores of the wooden foeders we age it in. They produce a base beer
that’s golden-colored with a soft overripe peach aroma and just the
right amount of tart. And after 3 years in the foeders, you can bet it
has some nice earthy tones. Round out that fruity base with even more
unique fruity hops like Amarillo and Galaxy, and this beer may just have
more terroir than your classiest wine.
I rate it at an Untappd of 4.5.
Now I turned to the other glass. This was Rio De Sauvin, another saison/farmhouse ale, brewed by Stillwater Artisanal Ale (1028 S. Conkling St. Baltimore, MD 21224.) The mango and passion fruit made their presence early on. They are up and in your face, but then they go away and leave a really nice pleasant tasting beer. Over and over again. Completely different from the Le Terroir, but still in the same vein of really good beer. These beers compliment each other and I can see why Jesse could not make up his mind. I don't think I could make it up either. Both had roles to play in making my evening turn on an upswing. No information on the ABV or the IBU because this beer does not appear on the Stillwater Artisanal Ale roles.
I rate it at an Untappd of 4.5.
So I rolled out feeling pretty good - my faith restored and ready for whatever to evening had to present itself. I am glad that I had run into Olga and Jesse. Once again, Rustico helped to fill my need!
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