This will be different. Instead of acting like a writer and laboring over a piece with various staff members looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m not a complete idiot, I want to tell you about this cool beer I just had, that would be 3:00 p.m. EST. Like I said recently, nice life I’ve got.

Mad River Brewing Co. has just put out Serious Madness Seasonal Black Ale. Julie and Greg raised the obvious question; “When is a black ale not a stout or porter?” What a cool question.

First, it pours like a porter with amber highlights, a tan head and brown/black body.  I didn’t pick up much in the aroma, but then again that seems to be an on-going problem for me.  The hops are all German or Czech.  The bittering hops, Magnum, are descendants from  Hallertau.  

The Black Ale tastes like a very dry porter, without the body in the middle.  It’s sort of a fruity, Kulmbacker style Schwartz bier. Randy wrote about something like this is our magazine quite a while ago.  There’s a slight taste of fruit in the beginning and that espresso dryness in the ending.  I’m sucking for words again, readers.  

I am registering for the Siebel course coming up in March and hope to have a better vocabulary after that.  I also need to get over to Top of the Hill for some taste tutoring with John Withey. He’s always had some great observations on taste. Then there’s Randy’s book that I’ve just started.  

Stay tuned for my attempts to train my palate. By the way, I’m still working on the Extreme Beer Festival post, slacker that I am!!