A Poor Excuse To Be Late For Beer

I did not overhear what prompted the comment, nor did I hear what the reply was. No matter; some phrases carry the weight of full paragraphs, and this is one of them. A poor excuse to be late for beer. Especially Belgian beer at the Blind Tiger, Wednesday night.

As usual, the place was packed by 6 p.m. and the regulars were in position. I dug right in with a Binchoise Amber, a floral, sweet beer redolent of honeysuckle and orange blossom; a relative lightweight at 6.5%, it is nevertheless a worthy reminder of its more potent siblings, especially the splendid Noël, which we hope to see again on these shores in the near future.

The “last keg in America” of Rodenbach Red, the classic Flemish sour red beer, was a disappointment. It is not clear if this was a result of the dumbing down process that has plagued the brewery since its acquisition by Palm, but it has lost all its original character –not a bad beer yet by any means, just not as distinctive and interesting as it used to be.

From Belgian to Belgian-style, Weyerbacher Quad, from Pennsylvania, is big, in the recently invented “quadruple” style. This particular keg from 2002 was also somewhat disappointing. A dominant single-note of raisins overwhelmed everything else. At 12% alcohol, one should expect more, and such a strong brew should be able to deliver more for years and years.

Quick tastes of the Southampton Triple (L.I.) and the Allagash Triple (ME) were spot on, the former more assertive than the latter, with the classic estery nose, sweet with banana and honey. Not a style I much like, however. Heavyweight Special Reserve (NJ), an aged version of their Lunacy, was farther from the triple style, and more interesting, spicier.

I did not have enough time for the other nine beers on the list, among which Hair Of The Dog’s Fred, Achouffe’s McChouffe, and Victory’s Golden Monkey are sure winners.

In what has lately become a Wednesday transition, beer then leaves the stage to burlesque. In a break with recent custom, Low presented a clever retelling of the “good bits” of Jean Luc Godard’s Une femme est une femme, with Anna Karina and Jean Paul Belmondo. Amber Ray, Julie Atlas Muz, and Ms Saturn, with the help of The Great Russello in mufti and Low manager Ariana in drag, recreated the strip-club scenes from the movie, to the songs of Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf. A clever idea well brought to life! If only Low had better beer…

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