Snowshoes and Beer

A day in review: Sunday. Going snowshoeing with friends and new acquaintances under the guise of “Veggie Supper Club.” It’s rad. But most of the usuals dropped out, or rather, puked out due to illness, while others were out of town or over-socialized for the weekend. Whatever the reasons, nine people still managed to make it to Gold Lake Snow Park and crunch their way to a “warming” hut (note to y’all: you must make it warm yourself. Otherwise it’s just a hut).

Before departure into wild white yonder, popped a bottle of Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh, 2007 vintage. Ebony in a glass. Kinda snuck it into the ranger station lodge while we were snacking on bleu cheese biscuits and spicy green beans. Drank around a hot wood stove, like black tea made of old whiskey wood and burnt liquified raisins. It aged well,  but gave the sense of loose skin over a once meaty body. Continued to warm after leaving the lodge.

Two miles later around a picnic table under a roof beneath three feet of snow, surrounded by banks of snow and icicles, eating kitchen sink quinoa salad, olive bread, and ginger cookies, a bottle of Cascade Blackberry 2007 (interesting year) gushed from its waxed top into several small plastic glasses labeled “unbreakable.” Sour, tart, acidic, lemony aromas left cold rings around my nostrils and champagne bubbles on my palate. Assessment: opened none too soon, a little too late. Not the best for winter hikes.

Speaking of a little too late, Haand Bryggeriet’s Nissefar, a Norwegian Holiday Ale, should have been opened six months ago! But I’ve opened it this evening. It smells old, but good, like a cedar box with trinkets inside. Spices, probably traditional cinnamon and clove, maybe some juniper or spruce, float on some alcohol notes with a hint of almost-good oxidation. It too has lost some body over the years, but gracefully. A testament to the hardiness of beer and clean brewing.

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