Episode 44 will enter the editing phase shortly and should be released sometime soon. Before that happens, I'll take the opportunity to introduce a new occasional feature, which I am dubbing Beertendo. I've written about beer here before; it ranks as one of my great passions, along with videogames and obscure 70's German prog albums (and various activities not fit to be mentioned in family friendly blog such as this.)
I don't see any reason why I can't write about non-videogame content here. After all, Gamespite occasionally discusses weird flavors of Kit-Kat bars or even Jeremy Parish's experiments with Bruno Mars cosplay. Today seems like a good time to start, since we are smack in the middle of the multi-day, beer-intensive holiday known as Cinco de Mayo. In case you are not from these parts, Cinco de Mayo is one of America's oldest, continuously celebrated traditions. And despite what you might think, it does not derive from Mexico, nor was it created by marketing companies to sell more beer. It's as American as a Louisville Slugger or a hotdog from Coney Island, having been observed in California since the Civil War. The character of Cinco de Mayo has changed over the years; in the early 20th century it transitioned to a celebration of Mexican culture in general, rather an observance of the political ideals surrounding the Battle of Puebla.
Our first beer review is North Coast's Otsuchi Old Stock Ale 2012. North Coast Brewing, from Fort Bragg, a small town on the Northern California coastline, is probably best known for their excellent Imperial Stout, Old Rasputin. Aside from OR, North Coast makes a couple Belgian style beers, as well as some less exotic brews that you often see on the shelves of Trader Joe's. One of their very best offerings is the Old Stock Ale, of which the Otsuchi is a limited release version. The term "old stock" or "old ale" will be unfamiliar those who are not beer geeks, but it originally referred to a type of British ale: dark and slightly aged, with higher than average alcohol content, and similar to a barleywine.
I don't know how long North Coast ages its Old Stock ale, if at all, but it does have some of the characteristics you would expect of aged beer. The alcohol content is pretty high, 11.70%. The color is quite nice, a shadowy reddish copper. Upon pouring, a thick head rises but quickly subsides to a thin ring of foam. The beer itself is heavy and slightly sweet, with a bit of alcohol flavor. Hints of coffee and fruit flavors are also found, with very little hoppy bitterness. I thought it had a slight black tea aftertaste. It's definitely a "big" tasting ale, but not the best thing I've ever tasted from North Coast. I prefer the regular Old Stock, which is exceptional. I'll give it a B minus.
This beer was bottled to raise funds for the Otsuchi recovery fund. Otsuchi is a sister city to Fort Bragg, and was hit hard by the 2011 Tsunami. If nothing else, you can drink the beer knowing that the profits are going towards a good cause.