Beer and Pavement

Disappointment Leads to Redemption

Posted in Beer by SM on November 20, 2011

I spend a lot of money on beer. Sometimes, I’ll spend a lot of money on just one beer. One such beer or series of beers is Odell’s Woodcut series. These are special brews that a small batched, one-offs with a hefty amount of booze, flavor, and cost. I assume the “wood” portion comes from the oak barrel aging they do, something they are demonstrating a great aptitude for with this series.

I’ve had a couple of the series in the past. The high price point makes me hesitate, but the rave reviews from beer nerds I trust convinced me to buy number 5 in the series, a wine-barrel-aged Belgian Quadruple. Even in the ballpark of $25, I felt it would be a nice beer to try. Part of me wanted to age it, but an opportunity to share it with a friend who appreciates such beers arose and I popped the cork open to consume.

The only problem was that there was no “pop.” After a slight struggle, the cork simply slid out. This worried me, but I poured two tulip glasses anyway. The first looked flat, so I poured the second aggressively. Yep, still flat. Normally, I would be mildly annoyed, but a beer this expensive coming out this flat was a real disappointment. I ended up finishing off most of it as my friend moved on to something else.

Why didn’t I pour it down the drain? For one, it was $25. Otherwise, it was a pretty awesome beer, even without the carbonation. Figs, raisins, cherries, assorted dried fruit dominated the beer. The oak present in this beer was nearly perfect. Some beers feature too much oak and some are too mild, every oak-aged Odell brew I’ve had is perfectly oaked. That touch of vanilla from the woods is so well-balanced that I nearly forgot the beer’s faults. The booze was there, but it was unnoticeable despite it sitting there at 11%. All this made the experience even more disappointing as it could have been one of the best beers I’ve had this year with a little carbonation.

As I normally do, I reported my beer on Untappd. I asked whether or not the beer should be flat. Some high-end, high ABV beers can be flat. However, this should not have been the case for a Quad. My Untappd reports post on Twitter where Odell picked it up right away. They suggested that carbonation may vary with bottle aging, which as a homebrewer I know all too well. However, they asked me to email them. As of now, I don’t know what they will/can do for me, but just responding to my concern is a good sign. I suspect they’ll make amends somehow. Just another reason why I love the craft beer industry.

I’ll update the story as soon as something happens.

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CoMusic Twitterview: The Walkmen

Posted in Live by SM on April 26, 2011

This past weekend, this post published over at The Collective. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek as whoever runs The Walkmen’s Twitter account was not ammused by the questions I sent them. Of course, if you read this blog regularly, you know how much I love The Walkmen. This semi-fake interview was not meant as a way to make fun of them. Instead, I want people to come out for once to see The Walkmen. The two times I’ve seen them here, barely anyone showed. I want people to check them out. I want New Pornographer fans to show up early enough to catch both bands. Whatever. Here’s the somewhat fake Twitterview. I have a real interview with a real-life band in a few weeks. Until then, enjoy…

As a citizen journalist trying to get a blog off the ground, I’ll take an interview anyway I can get it. With The Walkmen set to play The Blue Note this Friday alongside New Pornographers, I approached the band with an idea for a Twitterview. They allowed me five questions. The conversation is below…

This seems on par for The Walkmen. They have never shied away from diverse influences. It helps one understand their sound which harkens back to some truly classic rock ‘n roll (Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino), a little doo-wop (Dion), the alt canon (Ramones, Morrisey), and a little something from this decade to hold your interest (Cass McCombs). These selections should tell you all you need to know about the band’s sound.

Lisbon is a pretty great record. It made several best-of lists, including mine. Reports showed that 17 tracks were left off the final version. The Tweet above tells you all you need to know beyond that.

This is where the interview stalled. Only being allowed five questions at 140 characters a piece didn’t make it easy to come up with good interview questions. Apparently, my other questions were too lame with which to bother or were somehow offensive. I guess I’ll never know.

I did try to Twitterview The New Pornographers, but they never responded.

So, in the interest of telling you all you need to know about the show at the Blue Note, I’ll piece together a proper Twitterview using The Walkmen’s Twitter feed. Here goes nothing…

For the musicians out there, @orangebuffalo asked the following question and received the following response…

The sound is pretty unique and will definitely grab your attention. The band does some subtle things with their sonis to create an aesthetic that is rather pleasing to the ear.

I had considered to ask questions about the set lists for the tour, but couldn’t fit it in the five questions the band was allowing me. Luckily, @whiteskittLs took care of it for me…

So, expect a lot of Lisbon Friday night.

What’s in store for The Walkmen after this tour? Well…

If we’re lucky, we might get to hear these new tracks on which the band is working. And next time, I’ll just interview a band like a normal journalist/blogger.

The Walkmen play the Blue Note with The New Pornographers this Friday, April 29. Doors open at 8:00. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Illustration by Justin Nardy. His Tumblr is here and Etsy shops here and here.