Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Belgium makes my Mudder's Milk

From the moment you lay your eyes on the three lassies frolicking on the label, you are reminded that all good things come in threes. The Trippel by the New Belgium Brewing Company out of Fort Collins Colorado is certainly no exception. According to the brewer, the label is adorned with Zeus’s daughters Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia who represent splendor, mirth, and good cheer. All three of which immediately come to mind as I taste this beer. The first thing you notice is the thick, almost fruity smell that the beer gives off. As it hits your tongue you are enveloped by the sweet clovelike flavor that is present in a lot of Belgian beers. The hop character is present but not overpowering. Made with Saaz hops, it struggles to get past the clove and citrusy flavor. Not a bad thing by any account, certainly not if you are a fan of Belgian beer and their proclivity for using coriander and sugar candies as flavoring adjuncts. One thing though that you do not immediately notice is the alcohol content. At 7.8% ABV this is actually on the weak side for a trippel, but it still makes for a fairly potent beer. It is all too easy to lose yourself in this orangey/amber liquid and wonder why you are laying on the floor after consuming three too many.

To put it simply this sweet, thick, boozey beer is my Mudder’s Milk. What is Mudder’s Milk? Segue! Hop into the way-back machine and set the dial to 2002. Turn on FOX and watch the failed Joss Whedon sci-fi series Firefly. A bold mixture of science fiction and western, it was doomed to fail from the beginning. It has enjoyed quite the popularity on DVD and even spawned a movie, Serenity. But back in 2002 it died a quick death after airing only 11 of the 14 produced episodes. Do I blame FOX for its demise? No, I blame us dammit. Right quick, all you fellow sci-fi geeks out there raise your hands. Now who loves Firefly? I see a lot of hands still up, good. It was a terrific show. Now who watched it when it was on TV? I see like one hand up, and please note that it is not even mine. None of us watched it when it was on! We all watched later in 2004 or 2005 because some overzealous drooling friend forced us to try it on DVD. All of us know that guy, and some of us BECAME that guy. We thought he was nuts, but we indulged him. Perhaps we were curious ourselves. Perhaps we were afraid he would stab us. But we relented and gave the show a try. Then like crack we had to watch the entire series in one sitting. Then when we found out there were only 14 episodes we punched holes in the walls as withdrawal set in. But is it FOX’s fault that only 14 episodes were made? NO! ITS OURS! Had we watched it when it was on TV they would still be making episodes! Hell, they even had a second shot with their movie Serenity. If the movie did well in the box office, then they had a solid shot at reviving the series (albeit maybe in film form). But NO! They only made $38MM in the theaters, and they had a budget of $39MM! Granted it has since done well on video but it cannot make up for the fact that we science fiction fans are collectively a bunch of LAZY FAT FREAKS WHO CAN’T GET OFF THEIR ASPERGERIC ASSES AND STOP PLAYING WoW FOR TWO GOD-DAMNED HOURS TO HELP REBOOT A SERIES THAT THEY DROOL OVER and instead blame everyone but themselves.

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Deep breath now. OK, in the series there is a planet that produces an exceptionally fine mud that is the crucial organic component to a ceramic compound, and it is mined by indentured servants. To keep them complacent they are constantly fed “Mudder’s Milk” which is basically a high calorie alcoholic drink that supplement’s their diet with carbs while keeping them nicely sloshed. New Belgium’s Trippel is my version of Mudder’s Milk. Supply me with an endless supply (and an overseer with a whip keeping me in line) and I will build you a rocking set of pyramids. Seriously, I will slave and toil for you just give me that beer. Hang it on a string and dangle it in front of me like a carrot and I will plow the entire freaking Midwest. If the Midwest is the nation’s bread basket than I am the mental patient weaving the wicker.

Seriously, feed me this beer and you will have one of these in your backyard. One week. Maybe two, tops.

Another item of note? The New Belgium Brewing Co is run by hippies. That’s a plus if you into that sort of thing. I guess.

Actual portrait of head brewer. I swear.

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