Amsterdam, Memories and Divertimenti: Bier

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robtfink
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Amsterdam, Memories and Divertimenti: Bier

Postby robtfink » Sat Oct 18, 3:40 pm

Amsterdam, Memories and Divertimenti: Bier

I’m not exactly an aficionado. At least a reasonably respectable palate. In the summertime I can appreciate a well made lager and lime employing McEwans’ nicely balanced effervescence and heartiness; and when I’m really thirsty there’s that beer bar down in Paris in the Beaubourg that plays only American blues, whose on tap Kronenbourg Soixante-Quatre somehow tastes better than elsewhere, although here occasionally drinking a local seasonal wit, a weisse, is more social obligation than enjoyment, that off-putting cloudiness like a urine test awry makes me feel like a Lutheran with a lemon. As to gustatory accessories to companion a beer for a person of seriously direct taste moules et chips are just not comparable to our own Vlaamse frites, that doubly fried exterior and inner succulence – one need not hasten to Marseille for a rouille, merely mayonnaise to slick and slather – eating off the wall is never shameful (“Are we not men? We are FEBO”).

Thus a pleasure to have met a gentleman, a bartender from Arizona travelling the lowlands pursuing the ultimate brew, like a long-lost son, a protégé to be taken under wing to encourage to achieve unimaginably greater things. I broke him in easily. The Wildeman to begin, then the tutelage of maestro Peter at the Arendsnest, a graduate education, on the way home to stop by de Bierkoning for litres of artisanal blondes from Ardennes or that Belgian ale whose fairy tale label invites one to return to storybook childhood. But then on a whim or a stumble accidentally to discover in a hitherto unnoticed shop two last bottles of Chimay 1999 Special Reserve, the last batch of the last century, unlikely to be tasted ever again, but to be remembered reverently, a consummate statement of the brewer’s art, a poem whose induction, a sweetness that harkened to ancient mead and finished dryly and wryly, a summation of the age, a grail and sacrament indeed, heretofore and now and again to raise glasses to the House of Orange-Nassau, to friends momentary, forever or forgone, to forgive, to forget.

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