I cannot say I particularly love to write titles, but I really hit a home run on this one. I knew it would be stupid to pick “What’s on tap?” That’s the obvious choice. I would have looked like a total jabroni picking that title. I was considering some really terrible flashy titles for this beer column that made very little sense but certainly would have caught the eye. I considered MindTap as I am making an attempt at writing a somewhat stream-of-consciousness take on beer. I considered TAP OF THE GODS, but that title sacrifices all substance for flashiness. Besides, I have no tap, so it would really be FRIDGE OF THE GODS which again makes me sound like a jabroni.

That said, this line of thought got me rolling on mead halls. I figured I’d take the name of Beowulf’s Mead Hall, but it was Heorot. To me that was not nearly Norse enough. Again I found Valhalla to be too obvious. My research led me to understand that not all slain warriors in Norse mythology were taken to Valhalla. Half were taken to the goddess Freyja’s field (it was a very nice field), but in this field was another mead hall named Sessrúmnir.

I know you are wondering at this point why you are still reading a beer column that has yet to discuss beer at all. I’ll cut to the chase.

What Mark’s Drinking (For Lunatics)

Maine Beer Company Dinner DIPA:

Metrics: A friend and I left at midnight and got in line at 2:00 AM. Temperature was somewhere right hovering below 30 degrees. I was 44th in line. The first people to arrive did so five hours earlier.

What we expected: To wait in line for 5 painful hours.

What we experienced: All the other beer nerds came prepared with everything from Boston’s own Trillium Vicinity to San Francisco Bay-Area brew Pliny the Elder. These generous folks were willing to share. I was fortunate as it was my friend’s turn to drive, so I got to sample all kinds of tasty beverages.

About Dinner: It’s aromatically the best beer I’ve ever had. By and large, I think that Maine IPAs lack body. The body and the price are my biggest criticisms of Dinner. Of the Maine IPAs, I thought it easily the best. It is a delightful beverage with a rich bouquet, worthy of a trip.

What Mark’s Drinking (For Mortals)

Lagunitas Lucky 13:

Lucky 13 is a limited release red ale. Most red and amber ales to me have a quality that reminds me of artificial sweetener or diet soda. They just have a somewhat cloying sweetness that I find to be boring. Lucky 13 breaks the mold by committing to a hop schedule that gives the brew an interesting, dynamic flavor while retaining the best of the red ale maltiness. It’s a really nice beer, worth keeping an eye out for.

What Mark’s Brewing

Explosions, mostly. The past two brews exploded in my friend’s apartment while they were fermenting. Fortunately, he’s far enough away that I don’t have to come by to help scrub partially fermented beer from the ceiling. Additionally, we found out that the drunk guys who work at our preferred brew shop recommended we use twice as much malt extract as we actually should be using. Thus, we got crazy fermentation that quickly resulted in an explosive mix. In other words, our explosive problem is solved.

Note: I’ve succeeded in brewing an IPA and a mead before.

The mead was brewed for a final project for class in “Traditional Viking Style” which is as attentive as it sounds. It had a two day period where it was a tolerable drink. Outside that time window, it tasted like Natural Light. We aren’t sure what the professor thought, but the TA really liked it.

Final thoughts:

It’s getting warm out, so now is the time to be getting out and enjoying the pale ales and sessions. Sitting on the porch with a beer is, at least to me, the best way to sit back and contemplate how you have no idea what you’re doing – generally speaking, as a human being – without having an anxiety attack. What could be better?

Now get out there and figure out when the next Maine Beer Company Dinner release is. I may see you there.