I find tastings in wine and beer to be a lot like reading the first few lines of a book. When you know you will only be sampling something, you tend to savor the flavor more, tend to really pay attention to the details, perhaps more so than when you are handed a whole glass or a whole book and told to enjoy.
That’s not to say you can’t enjoy the tenth or twentieth sip of a wine any less than the first–or that a book doesn’t become more palatable the further into it you get–but I do find there is a special kind of savoring that goes on with the first. I suspect that’s why we love excerpts–knowing we aren’t settling in for a whole book but just a sampling, a taste of a novel…
My husband and I did a recent tasting of our own of three Maine beers. All good, all in different ways. As you’ll see, we didn’t have any of those sexy little tasting glasses where we were staying so we had to use full-size glasses and felt obliged to, well, fill them.
Up first, Atlantic Brewing Company‘s Coal Porter. Very mellow, even-flavored. Ian said it would make a great session beer.
Next, Sebago Brewing Company‘s Lake Trout Stout. The smell alone was worth a linger–rich coffee! The stout has a delicious subtle flavor that grows smooth, with a strong, chocolate-malty finish.
Lastly, was Marshall Wharf Brewing Company‘s Wrecking Ball Porter. Full taste up front with a sweet malt finish at the end.
Three yummy beers, with three very distinct tastes.
Now…who’s up for a book tasting? And who wants to pick the samples?
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In the world of Maine-made sweets, there is quite nothing like a genuine Whoopie Pie. Those sticky chocolate cake sandwiches. That layer of thick frosting. That very first bite and you feel the fudgey concrete form across the roof of your mouth, feel the crumbs wedge between your teeth and gums. Looking down you peel one finger from the mighty discs and see your print is now in chocolate.
So now, without further ado…
Behold, the glorious Whoopie Pie:
This gorgeous specimen came from the Megunticook Market in Camden, Maine, and no, you needn’t adjust your screen–it really is that big. Now I happen to like mine with a porter (you can never have enough chocolate) like the one above from Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast, but of course, milk goes well too.
Keywords: Whoopie Pies Maine Camden Megunticook Market Marshall Wharf Brewing Company
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Posted in Brewing, tagged beer, Brewing, homebrewer on May 20, 2010 |
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My husband is a homebrewer. At least once a year, the linen closet smells of glorious malt as the carboy bubbles away in the dark. Sometimes he brews stouts, sometimes rich browns, sometimes chocolatey porters or a spicy holiday ale. The point is in the variety. Sure, we have our favorites (I tend to favor porters–he likes the browns) but there is more fun to be had in trying something new.
A recent post at http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog got me wondering if writers (and readers) are as eager for diversity. I realize a writer’s work (and the writer themselves) in today’s market–or maybe in any day’s market–benefits from being “branded.” There is comfort in understanding the “product” of a writer, knowing from one book to the next that you will find consistency and familiarity in topics/characters/prose. How often has a favored musician taken a risk in an album only to find his or her core fan base predominantly disappointed?
In our house, there is a running joke when my husband and I want to watch a movie. He grins and asks, “What are you in the mood for?” And then he’ll say, “Let me guess; something escapist?”
But can’t we can all benefit from stepping outside of the taste box? For example, if I had known how brutal some of the passages in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi were then admittedly I might never have opened it. But, wow, am I glad I did. That brilliant book has stuck with me longer than most, and remains one of the ones that can still give me chills years later just THINKING about it.
Now it’s your turn…
Do you find yourself in a taste rut when it comes to reading (or writing)?
If so, what book pulled you, or maybe even catapulted you, out of your usual preference zone/box and made you glad you’d made the leap?
(I’ll be anxiously awaiting your thoughts, sipping a Nut Brown…)
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