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Thursday, December 18, 2003

English cask delight in Baltimore

18 December 2003 at Sean Bolan's in Baltimore was this English ale lover's delight.

On draft was George Gale Christmas Ale: brown/ruby red in color with evident crystal malt character accompanied by Christmas fruit-cake flavors of allspice,raspberry, apple, and raisin...a tippling 8+% abv. The bottled iteration was selected by the Baltimore Sun as one of three preferred imported Christmas beers this year.

The hand-pulled cask was Butty Bach, from Wye Valley Brewery, a regional in Herfordshire. It was bright with spot-on conditioning and 4.5% abv. The nose was superb: fragrant and spicy hops intertwined with a sweet malt aroma. Ditto for the flavor. The finish was surprisingly dry for only 28 BUs. I would have had a second but ...

There was another cask, set on the bartop. It was Ploughman's, from Wye Valley as well.

Wow! With a gorgeous red garnet shade, bright and clear, this was a very well conditioned pint. The head and lace were long-lived in the glass - well at least for the few minutes before I drained it. The aroma: coffee ice cream, toffee, dark fruit, and apples. 5.6% abv made this a welcoming winter warmer. The 45 BUs weren't evident as heavy-handed bitterness but as a welcome drying balance at the finish.

The couple sitting next to me at the bar, drinking the cask as well, took the name of the beer to heart, and ordered a Ploughman's Platter.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Prohibition Repealed!

Seventy years ago today, Utah voted to approve the 21st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, thus terminating the ignoble nearly 14 year reign of the 18th Amendment, Prohibition.

Some might find it ironic that Utah, of all states, would vote to allow alcohol. On closer examination, it may have been sagacious of that state, in light of its founders' tribulations, to repudiate an amendment, in fact the ONLY amendment, that eradicated constitutional rights.

A guide for our age?

Have a beer (or, if you must, some wine) tonight and toast the great state of Utah ... and wisdom.