I recently had to say goodbye to a friend of mine. My best friend (‘Mother’) moved his narrow ass back to L.A. (again). Before he left, the two of us got together at Our Cute Friend’s place for a night of beer, Guitar Hero, more beer, loud music, more Guitar Hero and a ton of great beer. I took the opportunity to bring a few beers out that otherwise I probably wouldn’t crack open for myself. We drank a 2006 bottle of Dogfish Head Fort (a favorite of My Cute Friend). We drank a bottle of Avery Maharaja (one of the Holy Trinity of Weed-Smelling and Tasting Beers). We drank one of my last bottles of Stone 11th Anniversary (the instant classic; they need to bring this beer into regular production now). We pounded beers like Dale’s Pale Ale and Loose Cannon in between. We even cracked some Miller Lite for the hell of it. Thankfully we avoided the 2002 Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout I’d brought, otherwise someone may have been injured.
While we were at it I figured I’d break out a super-special Scooby Snack: A bottle of AleSmith Decadence 2007 Imperial Porter (with great thanks to Alpha-level Beer Minion Doug, who was kind enough to bring it back from one of his San Diego excursions).
We can’t get the AleSmith beers out here in VA, so don’t even ask. I’ve had their Speedway Stout before and enjoyed it immensely before realizing I was at the bottom of the (12% ABV 750mL) bottle and completely hammered, causing me to rant and rave about how amazing the beer was to my fiance who just shook her head and informed me that she indeed knew that I was drunk. As if I didn’t know.
Anyhoo, I had this bottle of Decadence and thought this would be a good time to crack it. Not only could I try out the beer, but I could get opinions of friends who aren’t in ‘the business’. Mother and My Cute Friend are into beers, so they know a thing or two about a thing or two. The ’07 Decadence is a 10% Imperial Porter, rich and malty, pouring a dark reddish-brown. Smells roasty to me at first with hints of dark fruit (very subtle, that) and the expected notes of chocolate and caramel. Expected doesn’t mean boring, though. I could’ve smelled the beer all night. That would’ve been boring. I moved on and started to drink the beer.
What an experience. Not unlike the Speedway (Imperial) Stout, the Decadence is very drinkable for its alcohol level (10% ABV). Blind, I might have never guessed that it was as strong as it was. The malts were front and center—sweet, cocoa, caramel, more of those dark fruits I’d noticed on the nose (less subtle on the palate, surprisingly) and slightly smoky. My Cute Friend was impressed, which caught me a little off-guard since he’s a die-hard HopHead usually. I guess that’s by choice, though; I’ve seen him enjoy many types of beers but I think he just gravitates to the hoppy stuff. We all came away wishing we could get more of this good stuff.
That always kills me, knowing I can’t get certain beers. That will always bother me. If there was only one great brewery out there that I couldn’t get, even if I had all others, it would still piss me off. I’d be bothering every distributor in the area to sign them up. I guess that’s what keeps me in a job. I’m off on a tangent, aren’t I? Sorry.
In the end, boys and girls, I think it comes down to this: This all happened about 6 weeks ago. This was one more night with ‘the boys’; a send-off to a guy who’s like a brother to me. Good friends hanging out like stupid kids all night—like none of us had a care. Among all of the memories of that night (admittedly there aren’t that many), the AleSmith Decadence stands out.
Forgive me if this isn’t much of a review. If you’re reading this, you’re likely into beer and you have a fairly good idea of how this beer is—it’s a fantastic, outstanding example of a type of beer that we don’t see too much of. It’s powerful, richly flavored but perfectly drinkable. The point I think I’m trying to get to is that every now and then, it’s not about the greatness of the beer. It’s about the moment and the friends you share that beer with.
I give it a 10.