We've heard Etan's side of our beer swap (below)—how it made him feel all naughty and such—so now it's my turn. For me, the fun began when I went to my mailbox to pick up a bunch of packages that had stacked up (it really makes the UPS Store grumpy). Amidst the usual assortment of promo CDs, boxes of beer samples and drop-directly-in-recycling-bin crapola was a giant friggin' Lava Lamp box. WTF? Since I didn't remember ordering a Lava Lamp, this struck me as odd.
Once I got the awkward thing home, it was the first box I opened. And there, cushioned by what seemed like the entire goddamn Sunday edition of the LA Times, was a 750ml bottle of The Bruery's Autumn Maple. Nice. Since I'd never had any of The Bruery's offerings, I was stoked to see this.
And there it sat in my "cellar" (a wine box in a kitchen cabinet) for the next few months, just waiting for the right occasion. Which turned out to be a playoff football game with four friends. Since I wasn't going to polish off 750ml of 10% ABV beer on my own, I figured I should share the wealth.
Though I had refrigerated it before the game, we let it warm up a little bit and poured it into red wine glasses (all that my buddy, Andrew, had). First sniff of the hazy medium-brown brew confirmed that, yes indeed, there were some yams in there. Though the pumpkin pie spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice—were also in there. Not much head to speak of, but I could have happily just sniffed this beer for a quarter or two. It smelled deee-liteful.
And it tasted just as good. Incredibly complex and well-balanced would be the best way to describe it. The spices, the Belgian yeast, the maple syrup, the molasses, the yams were all present, but perfectly integrated. I instantly regretted sharing this and reconsidered my assessment that drinking it alone would have been a bad thing. A great intro to The Bruery. I am a convert.
I've already sent Etan another box o' beer and am looking forward to seeing how he packages up his next shipment as much as the getting the beer itself.