The Beer Nut's musings on the joys of 'having written' gave me much to think about yesterday. I agree with him entirely, particularly about the joys to be had from a disciplined approach to writing. Sadly, I don't feel as disciplined as perhaps I should be, and my rigidity of thought with respect to how important it is to be disciplined and my apparent lack of it, is a source of consternation to me. I mean, take a look at Ron, he's a blogging machine, driven by what precisely I don't know, but you know he just loves it. Not just the having written aspect but the process of cramming all those facts and anecdotes into his posts. Mark Dredge is similarly prolific, but he just wants to write, it is essential to his well being and his beer blogging is a means of combining two things he enjoys. If you query The Beer Nut about why he blogs, he'll give you a glib answer along the lines of the need to document the beer he drinks, but it's clear there is far from mere ticking at work on his pages - you just don't have to write that well to make a list of conquests. The beer community is the better for it.
I'm glancing to my back garden while I painfully hammer out these words. Things are starting to stir. The tail end of hurricane Bill is heading this way, the depression slowly moving eastward across the country, promising heavy rainfall and a night of blustery mayhem that will no doubt slaughter the impressive sun flowers my wife has tended to over the summer. Much like other beer lovers, on evenings like this my mind turns to dark beers, particularly stout.
I am shameless in my promotion of American dark beers, but I feel this enthusiasm is entirely justified by the shear quality of those I have tried. The uncompromising nature of American brewing suits stout particularly well, mainly because flavour is packed into them but not in an overpowering one dimensional hop bomb way. It's just full, rich, complex roasted goodness with the occasion always just right measure of hops. The strong pedigree that this Oatmeal Stout traces its family tree from whet my taste buds from the off - Goose Island's IPA is a world beater, and the stout delivers in a similar manner. It's a cliché to say that an oatmeal stout is smooth, that's the very reason the oats are added, but this one really is. This may well be as much to do with the perfect carbonation as anything else. The one thing I didn't expect, but welcomed greatly was the quite pronounced smoky, phenolic note on the nose, very similar to Islay scotch. The smoke didn't follow through onto the palate, instead was replaced with wonderful bitter chocolate, coffee and a long lingering bitterness. I'm not surprised really, the damn label even looks tasty, and is the most striking manifestation of Goose Island packaging I have seen.
I feel much better now, having written.