Monday, January 11, 2010

Finland in Ireland

Had dinner at Mulleady's Pub in Magnolia (a nice neighborhood in Seattle). The wife had a BLT (on toasted potato bread) - absolutely yummy. Very decent Caesar side salad as well, plenty of depth, not too many croutons, a slab of fried Parmesan on top. I had the fish'n'chips, which were good, but not amazing or anything. Good flavored fish, battered well (with a batter that stayed relatively crispy even after I'd doused it in vinegar), the chips well-cooked, not particularly greasy or floppy (though not a single oil-bomb in the bunch - I kind of missed that).

I started with the Wildcat IPA from Snoqualmie Falls brewery - a very good, local IPA, and in a very generous pint glass (one of those 20 oz pints). Then came the revelation...

I saw it on the menu, a collaboration between Seattle's Elysian Brewery and the New Belgium Brewery of Denver, CO, called Trip IV (this was their fourth collaboration). This is a brew combining the malts of rye, wheat and oats, flavored with juniper berries and citrus peel. Essentially a lot of different things together that I would normally abhor by themselves. I don't like fruit flavored beers - the interaction of hops and malts often creates such flavors without help (don't most highly-hopped IPAs smell a little like grapefruit?). Juniper berries - the flavor of gin, which is one of the few hard liquors that (to me) tastes worse with each passing sip. I'm not a big fan of wheat beers - personally, I think they're for sissies. Rye ales and oatmeal stouts are a different matter, love 'em both if done right.

Round Belgian ale glass. This does not bode well.

First sniff, the scent of...... vanilla? Oak aging? First sip. Completely confounded. What the hell am I drinking? It's beer alright, but it tastes like nothing I've ever had before. Sweeter than I normally like, but I like this a lot. I give it over to my wife to try, and she takes a sip or two, then keep swiping it from me the rest of the meal (to be fair, we were both almost done, when I got this). Normally, her idea of good beer is Apricot ale (see above comments). If she smells alcohol, she won't like it. She really liked this, and I think would order one for herself (an unheard of event).

Modeled after a Finnish Sahti beer, this was one of the most amazing beer experiences of my life. It has bitter, sweet, flowery, and fruity all over the place, and it's balanced so well that nothing overpowers, but at the same time the flavor and nose invade your mind as if they were designed to brainwash you. Must go back for more. Must go back for more. Must go back for more.


Had it again, and the flavors got me again. Someone else had to tell me what I was tasting: peaches. I hate peaches. Still love this beer.

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