Archive for October 29th, 2010

Eau de Stoat
October 29, 2010

I feel it important to note, however briefly, that I have tasted The End of History and lived to tell the tale.  The tail of the stoat, it must be said, was rather perky thanks to the BrewDog taxidermist who also seemed able to eradicate any tire tracks or other signs of roadkill demise, if we are to believe the forensics from the press release.

The End of History is a lot like putting your face in a cocktail of moonshine and synthetic musk cologne. It’s half liquid, half vapor.  It might have been a blonde-Belgian-nettle-and-juniper-infused ale at one time but now it is just a £38* swallow of fuming singe, like the stoat giving up the ghost all over again down your gullet which will burn like the crap brake pads on the deux chevaux of history which has just stopped on some Aberdeenshire back road for a scampering stoat who may or may not have been drinking.

During the tasting, the charismatic James suggested one should always greet the beer with a hullo! and approach it meditatively, as one would a new friend.  So, to the tablespoon of 55% beer, just poured from the bowels of a weasel into my fluted glass, I would say, “I’m glad I didn’t have to pay £500 to taste you. And I guess this means all my pretence of being a vegetarian is blown? Just between you and me, stoat.  Between you and me.”

*calculated estimate of generous swallows in a £500 .33 pint bottle, though for the record this writer did not pay said amount.

BrewDog End of History

AB04: A Cerveza Worthy of Xochiquetzal
October 29, 2010

Xochiquetzal, Aztec Goddess of fertility, female sexual power and chocolate.

Aztlán is the mythical land of the Nahua people and the concept has been used by the Chicano movement in America to refer to the Mexican lands annexed by the US and the cultural hybridity of Mexian-Americans. I am from Aztlán, though technically it is a place that does not exist and as a gringa it gets complicated.

Last night I went to the launch of BrewDog’s new AB04 at the White Horse.  How strange to be standing in this West London gastro pub, full of upwardly-mobile young white professionals and to taste my home, Aztlán, in this beer.  Brewdog have combined chocolate and chilis in this black imperial stout– sure to make you swoon at 15%.

The word chocolate is from the Nahuatl, and new archeological findings have not only dated the invention of chocolate by the Mesoamerican peoples almost 600 years earlier than previously thought, but this evidence suggests the first chocolate was actually a kind of beer.  Researchers have suggested “the distinctive taste of chocolate was stumbled upon by ancient brewers fermenting cacao pulp to make a kind of beer known later to the Spanish as chicha.”  Chicha is a beer which involves masticating the maize prior to fermentation and is still brewed in some parts of Mesoamerica, giving us a contemporary glimpse of ancient brewing practices.

Could the AB04 hint at what that ancient cacao-beer might have tasted like?  Probably not, but like Aztlán, it can stand in as a glorious invention.

At  the tasting James Watt asked the crowd what foods they thought might pair with it and immediately I thought of mole- named for the verb moler, or to grind.  And what a grind making the mole is!  The ultimate in slow food, it’s a lot like brewing beer: labor-intensive, communal and full of variations.  It takes two days to make the mole, which contains chilis, chocolate, seeds and herbs.  And like beer, it is a food in which one can put dreams and wishes, memories and hopes as you grind and stir and grind and stir.