Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Things Beer Taught Me: Oakshire's Heart Shaped Box

So although I don't feel comfortable claiming the identity of "student" (unless you modify it with something like 'of life,' or 'of the human condition'), I am taking a class this term in Family Counseling.  I've really enjoyed being back in the classroom, mostly because I am a big nerd.  I like reading books, and writing papers, and engaging in classroom discussion.  The one thing I have not enjoyed is the time commitment - mostly because it has kept me from posting as often as I'd like.

That said, I do have a school ritual left over from graduate school that I am going to capitalize on here at West Toast.  I looove to sit and read in bars.  I find that when I am in a crowded and noisy environment, I am able to ignore what is going on around me and focus in a better way.  Thus every week I've been posting up at least one night a week at my favorite location in Corvallis, Les Caves, to get in some reading and try out something new.  At least for a while, that is what I'll be posting about on here.

Beer and Psychology!!!

Last week beer was for breakfast, and breakfast was good.  I sampled Oakshire Brewing Company's Heart Shaped Box - a bourbon-barrel aged espresso stout made with bing cherries.  My book - In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore.  It seemed apt that I'd read a book about the benefits of slowing life down while having a beer, brunch, conversation, and watching hailstones pelt the street outside.  I enjoyed the mixture of intense flavors in the beer.  The powerful coffee flavor made it apt to drink this beer in the morning.  There was a light tartness of cherry throughout, that lingered with the bitter of the coffee at the end.  I did not detect much of the bourbon, but did find wonderful vanilla on the nose that stayed with me into the taste.  The mouth feel was low in carbonation, and smooth, which surprised me considering how thick and dark the beer appeared in the glass.  I paired my brew up with a side of potatoes and sausage, and found that the sour/bitter sensibilities of the beer stood wonderfully with the spice and grease of my breakfast meat.  All in all it was a great brunch.

My reading proved to be very interesting as well - I'll share with you a quote from Honore, who posits that the fast-paced world has led people to impatience, rage, and decreases in coping skills.

"In a way, we are all fast thinkers now.  Our impatience is so implacable that, as actress-author Carrie Fisher quipped, even "instant gratification takes too long."  This partly explains the chronic frustration that bubbles just below the surface of modern life." p. 12

(apologies for no art in this post - it was impromptu and thus I did not have a camera)


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