Matt’s letter, which I’ll type up below this brief intro, was simple, but life altering. It changed what I drink, how I drink, how I spend money, and how I appreciate rare moments of down time. Without meaning to be corny about it, beer drinking, which had been an afterthought, became ritualized. Matt shifted beer from that cold, often bland, alcoholic thing I drank after mowing the lawn or weeding the garden (and only that because kids drink sodas and adults drink beer), to a considered choice of tempting options poured out in a measured span of time, after work, before dinner, when I relaxed enough to focus on what, exactly, I was consuming. These days, many years later, that measured span of time is usually the time it takes to play one side of an LP. I no longer drink out of the bottle, but out of a glass, so I can better appreciate the color and the aroma of the beer. There’s still a sense of having ‘earned’ the beer because I rarely drink a beer unless I’ve run three miles after work; that’s my attempt to fight the effects of both the beer and Fat Daddy’s latest sweets. I ponder which beer to drink, because I try to keep six or eight varieties in the beer fridge, but a run only earns me one. If there’s not a momentary struggle – this Double IPA or that Flemmish Sour or this Bourbon Barrel Stout – then I probably don’t have the right mix of options around the house.
Without continued blather, here is Matt’s sic letter:
Beers of My World
1. O’Dell’s 90 Shilling – This is maybe the best overall, ubiquitously available on-tap local Ft. Collins beer. Not world class, but solid. We have several local breweries, and O’Dell’s is the best, by far. They have some brews better than this one, IMHO, but I often get 90 Shilling with my meals, cuz it’s draft.
2. New Belgium Blue Paddle – New Belgium is what Ft. Collins is famous for. They make Fat Tire. Fat Tire is a very average beer that is marketed well…and it led to a New Belgium pop explosion. Blue Paddle is New Belgium’s best “non-seasonal” beer by a long shot, but by my standards is just an average Pils. Urquell + Sstella Artois – among others – are better, IMHO. What think you?
3. Stone Ruination IPA – Read the label. This stuff is the proverbial shyte. And at $17 for a sixer, it better be!
4. Boulder Brewery Hazed + Infused – Another “local” from a few miles down the road. Dry + hoppy as hell. Better on tap, but…what isn’t?
5. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA – Prolly my second favorite of the lot. Perfectly well-rounded, flavorful, yet wonderfully bitter-ended, and about half the price of Ruination. 🙂
6.Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA – This beer is supposedly superior to the 60 Minute, but the first time I tried it, it was almost too much for me – it packas a flavor punch that I couldn’t handle. Since that time, though, I’ve experimented with various barleywines – which I’ve come to love + respect – and this is growing on me. A lot. Taken in the proper context, it’s nothing short of brilliant. My understanding is that if one were to continue the overwhelming hopping, beyond what they have here, you’d move into barleywines + immperial stouts. Me, I’m not there yet. But this beer is friggin good!
Man, enjoy this stash. Wish I was there to sit on the porch, pop targets, talk politics, and partake with you. … Matt
PS – Making bagels in the AM!
The personal attention of the beer by beer notes made each beer the focus of my attention when I opened the bottles over the course of a long week. The beers Matt sent, especially the Ruination and the 90 Minute IPA, forever changed my expectations of what should be ushered forth into the world when a beer is poured.