In that curious way life has of sticking its head into the room while you’re busy with something else, I’m slowly coming to realize that the play is done and that – wheee! – I have time again. The last two months I’ve had four days a week at least already spoken for. This will be fun. For now, though, lots of naps. That’s what I’m getting from the insistent weather. “Butt in bed,” it says to me. Right?
Last night I groomed my inner geek and went over to a friend’s place to watch the first part of the new “Battlestar Galactica” miniseries. (My inner geek gets a fair amount of grooming, I just try not to dwell on it too much.) I see four or five TV shows a year, since I haven’t got a set of my own, and I appreciate them endlessly. This was a fun one. I should note that I had never, to my knowledge, seen an episode of “Battlestar Galactica” before, not a new one, not an old one. My inner geek must have been having a prolonged nap while that was going on.
Our small gathering was a birds-of-a-feather event, and while Edward James Olmos as the newest Adama added his Bruce Boxleitner gravitas to the legend, we tasted our way through a wonderful scatter of beers. I contributed a stiff Unibroue Terrible (say this in a French accent for best effect), a tart and elusive abbey ale; Billy brought an aged Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada and an estimable Brooklyn Brewery Monster Ale barleywine from 2000. Monster is always delicious after it has a couple of years to belly back and relax a bit, and it’s a potent little devil, which is why it comes in those handy small bottles. Marc had a bottle of honey-toned Chimay yeast homebrew that was also delicious.
The grand surprise (you can say this in a French accent to good effect, as well), though, was Marc’s big bottle of, well, we’re not exactly sure what it was. It was from Brasserie d’Achouffe, brewers of the esteemed La Chouffe and McChouffe beers; we do know that. It was from 1994 and it was corked (Chouffe stopped using corks years ago). We think it was a precursor of the N’Ice Chouffe dark winter beer (10% ABV). The bottle was in Flemish or something similar, and it defied our good-natured attempts to figure out what was going on in there.
The beer was well past its prime, beyond the fragile and exquisite candi sugar stage and into a rich, malty state of nihilism: all through the mouth hints of wonderful flavors flirted and darted but never landed solidly on the tongue, and at the center was an emptiness that was liquid, suggestive, and grandly absent. Curiously, it was an immensely satisfying experience, brimming with a sense of – apologies to Mr. Croce – Time in a Bottle.