By: Ali Owens
I’m not having a great day, you guys. I overslept. I took a client to lunch and managed to spill my (full) glass of water all over our platter of sushi. The water got in my shoe and made things all squishy. The short winter days have me feeling cranky. And to top it all off, I had to get a crown on one of my molars the other day, and it still hurts, and nothing pisses me off more than tooth pain.
In lieu of going home and bitching to my (extremely patient) boyfriend Paul, I invite him to join me at Horse & Dragon Brewing instead, where I will drown my sorrows in a taster flight.
Agitated Aardvark Imperial IPA
This beer is seasonally appropriate in that it smells like the fresh Christmas tree I made Paul hang upside down from the ceiling due to lack of floor space (yes, really – I told you he’s patient). It’s quite hoppy, with intense flavors of forest pine and lavender, but the malt adds an essence of toasted rye that balances the bitterness nicely and keeps the hops from overpowering. Things are looking up.
H&D Snug – Vanilla Caramel Double Cream Ale
“Madagascar vanilla!” I cry triumphantly upon taking a whiff, nearly falling off my stool in my earnestness – because that’s EXACTLY what it smells like, and I LOVE when things smell exactly like other things. I take a sip and am not disappointed; the flavor journey begins with vanilla bean, moves into salted caramel, and ends on sweet cream and pecan. The body is smooth and rich, and I’m definitely starting to feel better about my life.
Whistle Blast Oak Barrel-Aged Honey Brown Ale
THIS IS SO DAMN GOOD. It offers one of the most complex aromas I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing: think whiskey, sugared dates, and apple cider. And the flavors! It’s oaky and spicy, with a rich, honeyed, fig-laden sweetness vaguely reminiscent of a ruby port. The creamy, velvety mouthfeel is smooth and satisfying – so much so that Paul keeps trying to move the glass to his side of the table. Better keep an eye on this one.
Sad Panda Coffee Stout
This is hands down one of my favorite beers of all time. It smells like the end result of adding hot chocolate to your vanilla latte (which is an excellent idea). On the palate, the espresso bitterness rules, but the subtle nuances of chocolate and vanilla add a gorgeous complexity. It’s like drinking the finest Peruvian dark roast you’ve ever experienced, except there’s alcohol in it (which is also an excellent idea). It’s so good that I start thinking about all the other excellent things in my life, and I find myself deciding that it’s a pretty great day – squishy wet shoe, tooth pain, and all.
The moral of the story? Next time you’re having one of those days, treat yourself to a Horse & Dragon brew. Because it’s cheaper – and more delicious – than therapy.