What's on deck? Two really, really good Belgian styled beers.
Ok, I know - people want the hoppy pale beers, the big stouts, and the super sours. And you're maybe wondering, "why classically styled Belgian beers?"
Because the beer world needs nuance. Because a beer doesn't need to be more bitter than a bad breakup, blacker than moonless midnight, or sour enough to etch tooth enamel to be good.
So when Cali Native taps out, we'll put on Bon Souvenir - a classic Saison that's about crispness, astringency, peppery spice and herbal noble hop goodness.
And when Captain Jack Turtle taps out, we'll put on The Dub - a Belgian Dubbel touched by dried black figs and candied ginger.
Your task is to slow down, enjoy the aromas, savor the flavors - metaphorically, stop and smell the roses.
Bon Souvenir and The Dub are both wonderful beers, enjoy them.
Do you have a Tio Xevie? I have a Tio Xevie - that's "Uncle Xavier" in Spanish. When I was a little five year old half Mexican dude visiting family in East LA we went to Tio Xevie's house. We sat in his kitchen, at an ice-cube patterned Formica topped table, on a black and white checkerboard linoleum tile floor. Tio Xevie turned on the gas at an old range, struck a wooden match and lit the burner, then tossed a few tortillas right on the grate. They would warm and get a few roasty black freckles - then he would reach in the fire with his bare hand, pick them up (I was 5, it was amazing) and flip them.
You got a paper napkin in front of you - and a stick of butter with half the wrapping ripped off was in the center of the table. Tio Xevie would toss a steaming tortilla on the napkin. You hold the stick of butter by the wrapped end and blot the naked end on the tortilla. Then you roll the tortilla and eat it - butter dripping down your hands, some on and some off the napkin. If you were lucky, and it was chilly, you might get some champurrado. Champurrado is Mexican hot chocolate. It's got bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, milk, and a bit of corn flour to thicken it. Delicious rich stuff.
So what's my Tio Xevie, tortillas, and champurrado got to do with a Russian Imperial Stout? Well I was preparing Captain Jack Turtle - a Russian Imperial Stout with cocoa, vanilla bean, and cinnamon - for transfer to kegs last night. I took the usual in-process taste test and was reminded of champurrado, then the memory of Tio Xevie's kitchen came to me.
Do you have a Tio Xevie? Everyone should have a Tio Xevie. But just in case you don't - I've got a Russian Imperial Stout for you that is nearly as rich as my memory of Tio Xevie.
We'll be tapping Captain Jack Turtle this Saturday December 12th at the brewery tasting room. Just in time for the winter holidays. You can have a glass at the brewery, or take a growler home for your holiday feast - and when you do enjoy it, raise your glass and say "Un brindis por Tio Xevie."