Requiem For A Heavyweight

If football teaches us anything, it is that success is a delicate and often fleeting thing. Actually, if football teaches us anything, it’s that there is a town in Wisconsin called “Green Bay,” which many of us would not know otherwise. But if there are two things football teaches us, it’s geography AND the ephemeral nature of perfection.

Six years ago, I found what I consider the single finest beer I’ve ever tasted- Belhaven’s Wee Heavy. A Strong Scotch Ale, it was brewed in East Lothian. It was cold and it was sweet and it was smooth. It had a medium body and juuuuuussst enough hops-overtone to make it interesting without getting into the IBU-dick-measuring contest that seems to be the all the rage these days. A beautiful clear red-gold complexion. Subtle caramel overtones, legitimate layers of flavor instead of just main flavors and aftertaste.

It was delicious cooled to within an inch of its life during St. Louis’ famed 100 degree summers. It was wonderfully complex served near room-temperature when it was snowing outside. At 6.5% ABV, it had enough alcohol to serve as the only drink you had all night, but not so much that you couldn’t have a second without becoming Hunter S. Thompson on ether. It literally kept me from storming out of a deposition, because my partner offered to buy me one if I refrained from telling opposing counsel exactly where he could stuff his 10-minute-long speaking objections. My first homebrew experiment was to try and clone it.

AND THEN THEY FUCKING CHANGED IT.

First I couldn’t get it on draught for a few weeks at my favorite restaurant. Then the local store that carried it suddenly had one with a different label, “90 Shilling Wee Heavy”. Marketing, right? No big deal, right?

Lies.

I wish I could tell you what changed. Well, I know one thing- the ABV went from 6.5% to 7.4%. And that may be the root cause of the problem. It’s thinner. That subtle-caramel deliciousness was muted almost out of existence, I presume because there is less (fewer?) residual sugars after the yeast gets done making the extra alcohol. Without that, the hopiness came to the fore, making bitterness the leading man instead of a strong ensemble player. It’s like when Alan Alda started writing M*A*S*H episodes. Or the Beatles let Ringo put a song on the album. Or Battlestar Galactica’s writers decided that the fans wanted to see Court TV In Space instead of space battles. NO ONE CARES, RONALD D. MOORE!!!! FRACK YOU IN YOUR FRACKING EARHOLE WITH A SHARPENED SCREWDRIVER!

Wait, what was I saying?

Nevermind. The point is that the resulting beer is still better than the vast majority of the beers you will find in any bar or grocery store. But knowing what it was—what it should be, but isn’t— gnaws away at me every time I think about getting it. I’m a Bills fan who lived through the four Super Bowls and the Immaculate Deception. I only have room in my psyche for one perpetually-disappointing might-have-been.

Grade: A-

AMAZING POST-SCRIPT UPDATE: Apparently we can still get the original by ordering from Belhaven’s website!

As soon at it arrives, the St. Louis Kommentariat is invited over for BoozeTacular 2015.

The Right Reverend Electric Mayhem

The Right Reverend Electric Mayhem

Feared conqueror; scholar; poet; revered holy man; professional raconteur; soldier of fortune; gentle yet thorough lover; bandit; blazing gypsy speedboat. I have been called most of these things.
The Right Reverend Electric Mayhem

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The Right Reverend Electric Mayhem
The Right Reverend Electric Mayhem
Feared conqueror; scholar; poet; revered holy man; professional raconteur; soldier of fortune; gentle yet thorough lover; bandit; blazing gypsy speedboat. I have been called most of these things.

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make it snowMoose -The End Is Well NighSill BimmonsThe Right Reverend Electric MayhemCuntler Recent comment authors
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Cuntler

I felt the exact same way when they stopped making Zima.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

I had to look that up because I had Zima many times at the Coors Brewery when I lived in Denver.

They stopped making it in 2008, the year after I moved.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

When I tried this it was a wee bit sweet for my tastes, but I’m one of those IBU-dick-measurers that are the all the rage these days, being a strong IPA fan. I see what you are saying; it is a very well crafted and balanced, at least when I tried it.

http://41.media.tumblr.com/307594f4b3edc5053913745e1ce08d66/tumblr_nrujxkNZNm1qgtfwko1_500.jpg

makeitsnowondem

The result of my poll was I ended up getting a very fresh sixer of the delicious and local Greenhouse IPA. Great suggestions all around, though.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

But how was the Print Dress Bride?

makeitsnowondem

The Pint Glass Bride was a no-go for technical reasons. We’re watching Star Trek IV instead.

Cuntler

I love that everyone ran with the beer barrel. I’m so proud.

/sniffle

Edit: you know who else was a Nazi about stuff like grammar?

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Has run.

Cuntler

I will has used proper tense always .

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

“Has run” is passive.

I prefer the active “ran” in this case.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Stewing some short ribs with an orange ginger chili sauce.

Anyone have any soft drink recommendations?

Horatio Cornblower

Iced tea is always good. I’m partial to peach and/or mint varieties.

scotchnaut

Fanta-it’s Nazilicious!

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

I lied.

I don’t actually need any soft drink recommendations.

I just feel left out of these things anymore.

WhyEaglesWhy

Sounds like ginger ale would be perfect.

pickettschargeksk

When Scotch ales go bad, it reflects upon us all.

While we’re talking beer (FOR ONCE) I’d like to issue a DFO-wide recommendation/BOLO for Harviestoun Brewery’s (Scotland) Schiehallion Pilsner, which is everything you could want in a pilsner specifically and in life generally. It is, to borrow from Covalent, a deeply sexy beer.

makeitsnowondem

Holy shit, they have a pilsner? Their Old Engine Oil and variants thereof are basically God.

laserguru

As an aside on the beer note. Here is an L.A. Times article about my boys down the street at ESBC. They are doing a day one bottle, ship and distribution of one of their best IPA’s. That’s my godson they are talking to. Little Tommy. I’m so damn proud.

http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-el-segundo-brewing-day-one-beer-20150723-story.html

King Hippo

As a person who has spent the better part of my day ranting about overpaying for Brandon Moss to imaginary non-friends (the Cardinals internet is unsurprisingly AWFUL), I really appreciate the Right Reverend’s righteous indignation.

Also, every time I read the name, I am reminded of the Deacon character from 227, you know, the one played by George Jefferson.

Or maybe I have the goddamned title wrong. Anyway, it had an awesome cheesy 80s theme song.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons
King Hippo

just jelly of our super sweet jorts

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

I didn’t know we had a Jesuit priest in the house…although I am confused by your use of the title “Right Reverend,” which does not exist in Catholicism…

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Oh, wait.

Yes it does, but you have to be a bishop and it is only used as a written salutation.

Which diocese do you preside over?

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

“It’s like when Alan Alda started writing M*A*S*H episodes. Or the Beatles let Ringo put a song on the album.”

This place must have the highest average age of any site on the Internet not called aarp.com.

indieguy
indieguy

I knew It’d be a good idea to join

Covalent Blonde

Willkommen!

Horatio Cornblower

Got another one!

Horatio Cornblower

I am stuck in a locker without lunch money or a kickball. : (

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

That sucks.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

You know what you did.

Horatio Cornblower

OK, I didn’t write that. Who hijacked my account? Show yourself you sonuvabitch!!!!

Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis.

Old School Zero

This is New School Zero. Do not listen to OSZ. The MS ride is a farce. It’s really the opening operation in Peter King’s plot to open the breeding pens. And OSZ’s the one who’s been stealing your beers! I can’t even drink anymore since King took all our livers for his own use. Donate your money to Horatio’s locker account; the locker is a secret tunnel leading to humanity’s last stronghold. I think. I might have been bingewatching the Matrix movies again.

Horatio Cornblower

Gosh I wonder.

Now where’s my lunch money?

Old School Zero

Uh…

/looks at empty beer cans and cheeseburger wrappers strewn about

…no idea, dude. You sure you brought some with you today? Yeah, I think you just forgot it today. Best to just forget about it, man.

Horatio Cornblower

You know I’m a SERIAL KILLER right? Keep it up and I’ll use your headless body as a bidet!

Old School Zero

OH SHIT!

Horatio Cornblower

Oh you bastard. You’ve used your superior skills to keep me from editing your comments! Damn you!

/shakes fist
//rattles locker

Old School Zero

For the record, the “Penis.”es weren’t my dong. Er, doing.

Horatio Cornblower

Well there’s only about 14 other suspects around here.

Covalent Blonde

Oh, that was most definitely Ionic Blonde. She gets cunty.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

What about Van Der Waals Blonde?

King Hippo

Gob’s program clearly stated “penus” smgdh

Covalent Blonde

Also, I love that you liked your own comment. Good back patting!

Horatio Cornblower

I just liked OSZ’s hacking my comment. I only like my own Twitter comments.

I’m so lonely.

Horatio Cornblower

Back in the day there was a beer from England called Freeminer Deep Shaft Stout. it was delicious although I could only find it at this one bar in Northwestern CT called the Norfolk Pub.

Later the Norfolk Pub would set legal precedent in CT by serving someone who was obviously inotxicated, who later went out and killed 1-3 people. I forget exactly. They changed our Dram Shop laws after that one.

Anyway, they’ve now retired this beer and the thought that I will never have it again makes me very sad.

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/freeminer-deep-shaft-stout/5834/

Horatio Cornblower

This was not worth posting or reading twice

Doktor Zymm

You should edit in small changes to the second post, then we can all drink a bunch of beer and try to find the differences!

Doktor Zymm

Fullers ESB was an early discovery in my beer drinking career and continues to be my favorite, despite the abject failure of places near me to carry it on a regular basis. I would be very sad if they were to fuck with it as your beer has been fucked with. Maybe you can find a place that carries the old version and buy them out.

Old School Zero

I’ve really come to love ESBs and am sad they’re not more prevalent. Deschutes has a great one, but they only sell it on tap in Bend, no bottles. They did a very special restaurant-only release of a blend of barrel-aged ESBs that was fucking heaven, but it was a very limited time thing.

Sigh.

Doktor Zymm

That barrel-aged blend sounds divine.
Despite being a perfectly acceptable beer, the Victory Summer Love Ale I’m currently drinking is seeming increasingly inadequate.

makeitsnowondem

Kommenter Poll: I’m about to go home and watch a movie with my friend over the Internet, because even my real friends are Internet friends. I’m low on beer. I want to drink heartily but I have to come back to work tomorrow. What beer should I buy?

Horatio Cornblower

Lagunitas has a day drinking brew. I’d go in that direction.

sunrisesunrise

Stone’s Go-To is a tad better than Lagunitas’ Daytime, IMO.

Horatio Cornblower

I am OK with that. I’d forgotten that Stone had a low-ABV entry.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

grr

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Horatio Cornblower

I’ve had Skull Splitter. It is really good but Sill is lying to you. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE SILL!!!!

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

What have I ever done to you?

Doktor Zymm

Rogue Dead Guy is a good movie watching stand-by.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Old School Zero

Sierra Nevada?

Or if you’re feeling cheap-but-classy, Rainier Tallboys.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

The answer is still whisky.

scotchnaut

[over-sized bottle of The Macallan bursts through a wall]

“OH YEAH!”

Cuntler

Oskar Blues Pinner is a good session IPA. I actually like new Belgium slow ride too.

makeitsnowondem

I took a long, hard look at Pinner for tonight. Great stuff.

I’ll fight you on Slow Ride, though, because a local brewery shamelessly and inexcusably stole that name after New Belgium was already using it, and made what I think is a better beer. There’s been a trademark lawsuit and everything.

Cuntler

Austin cracks me up. They changed the law five years ago and now there are 1100 breweries. I have no idea how you guys figure out what is good. I like Jester King and the wife and I go to Pinthouse Pizza a lot when we are in town, but I feel like I am in another country when I look at the beer selection at HEB. Good problem to have!

makeitsnowondem

I think the only reason I have any idea what’s going on in the Austin beer scene right now is that I had the opportunity to absorb it a little bit at a time. It’s gotten insane in the last five years.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

If you think Fuller’s ESB is good, wait until you try Fuller’s 1845 Bottle Conditioned Ale.

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WhyEaglesWhy

I’m a fan of Red Hook’s ESB. Especially if, to paraphrase Schaefer’s, I’ll be having more than one.

Covalent Blonde

I had a Schneider Weisse I wanted to take to Kokomo (HI not IN) and lay it down on the warm sand and slowly peel its label off one strip at a time. Alas, I was unfamiliar with Schneider Weisse nomenclature and discovered only after the opportunity had left to have learned its true name that Schneider Weisse has a system of naming them after Taps. I fear that I may never be reacquainted with my sensual, malty beauty and instead my pils glass slipper will simply fall to the floor.

I am with you in spirits for lost liquid loves.

Old School Zero

There’s a traditional German deli/grocer around here that I think has every German beer that can be imported to the states. You might get lucky there.

And if not, they have an entire aisle of German, Swiss, and other European chocolate, and it’s right next to their sausage counter.

Covalent Blonde

That’s just it! They have a Tap 6, a Tap 7, a Tap 17. They have dozens of ‘Taps’ and finding the one I had that made me weep with orgasmic joy is nigh on impossible since finding a retailer that carries even one, much less the dozens made by Schneider is (g)astronomically improbable.

Welp. I think it’s settled. Off to the Schneider bierhausen I go!

makeitsnowondem

I can maybe help you figure out what this was. Taste, color, clarity?

Covalent Blonde

It was a sexy beer. Does sexy help?

I think it might have been the Tap 7. It tasted like clove and honey and something you would want a Christmas ham to taste like. It had a toasty caramel and mildly hazy. I had it at Father’s Office and warned BoS that I might need some alone time to have made sensual love to it but then drank it much too quickly for foreplay. I then went on to drink half a dozen other brews and forgot the species and could barely recall the genus. I called Father’s Office a week later and it was like it never existed.

Why aren’t you alive when I need you Serling? That would have been an awesome Twilight Zone! The girl who drinks continuously and is disappointed by every other beer because she cannot find her favorite beer only to discover that that it never existed in the first place.

ballsofsteelandfury

Covalent attacked that beer like it was going to buy her a boat, massage her feet, give her a thousand orgasms in a row, and do her work for her. Not necessarily in that order.

makeitsnowondem

From your description, my guess is either Tap 6 Aventinus, or Jeff Baca. If it was sort of a murky medium brown, it’s not Jeff Baca and it’s probably Tap 6.

Covalent Blonde

No, no. You were right with Baca. It’s summer. He had tanned a bit.

Old School Zero

Now I’m thirsty.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Weren’t you thirsty earlier?

For gob’s sake man, get yourself a drink!

ballsofsteelandfury

This may be one of the saddest things I have ever read.

Now I want to find that unicorn of an original Wee Heavy bottle…