Monday, December 19, 2016

Fourth Beer of Christmas (2016)

Second quarter of Bills v Browns, Dec 18, 2016
On the fourth day of Christmas my trusty assistant brought to me a Ballantine Burton Ale;
Stone Enjoy by 12.25.16 (VA Prototype);
Hamburg Frosty the IPA; and a
Southern Tier Krampus

Yesterday the Buffalo Bills tackled the Cleveland Browns in yet another futile matchup between two historic football clubs. The weather was cold, icy and windy with temperatures starting in the 30s and dropping to the low 20s by kickoff.  To your left (see picture, left) you're looking at a view of from my seat in the climate controlled Time Warner Cable suite located in the corner endzone of New Era Field. This is not quite how the 1 percent live; more like the 8-15 percent but it's still better than most of us could really imagine. It is not so much the luxury suite, endless food, open bar, private coat room, clean restrooms and uncomfortable courtesy you don't often see from vendors at football games (and I don't fault vendors one bit; thankless grunt work). No, it's not all of that. OK, it's some of that but it is more the stories these season ticket holders tell each other. Don't get me wrong, they are not back slapping over some kind of debauchery you might see from a President-elect. Rather, while you and I might discuss painting bedrooms these folks talk about upgrades at the country club locker room. My house party is their private party on the roof of some club in New Orleans. Oh, and every single person there was the nicest person you could meet. What does any of this have to do with beer? Nothing, I'm just bragging.

Ballantine Burton Ale (BBA) actually dates back to the 1930s. Pabst Brewing Company brought it back in 2015 (presumably minus the 20 years of aging). It really pains me to enjoy a beer made by one of the big brewers, particularly one so tightly associated with the hipsters. That said, BBA is one good beer. An American Strong Ale that is copper or deep amber in color this is a full bodied beer from start to finish. The aroma is full, malty and fruity with not much coming from hops. I definitely get a sweet, malt flavor with a cherry-fruit finish. BBA makes you feel like you are enjoying an after dinner drink with vanilla cake and white frosting on fancy Kate Spade china with an unusually small fork. If there is one knock, it is that this one is so big (11.3 percent) and so sweet that just one or two in any given evening will warm the cockles of your heart. Consider yourself warned if you start pounding BBA at the work holiday party.

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