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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Beer for your New Year!

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As we rapidly approach the New Year, we’ll soon be in need for celebratory beverages for when the ball drops and we sing “Auld Lang Syne” and wear silly hats and all that amateur hour bullcrap. The go-to for most people is champagne, of course, but is that what you REALLY want?

I say no!

As far as I'm concerned, there are two types of people in this world: people who say they don't like champagne and dirty rotten liars! I'm sorry, but unless you are mixing in a heavy dose of some fresh squeezed OJ (ah, who am I kidding? Sunny D will be just fine), I have little to no interest in this glass of bubbly that is getting warmer by the second in my hand as the minutes far too slowly tick down to midnight. And what is my reward for holding this beverage and staying awake for so long? A face full of warm, now-flat, sour garbage-juice. Thanks, but no thanks.

You might be thinking “Well then, Mr. Three Pint Stance - what is the solution to this problem that you have clearly invented for this column?” Well, despite your suspicions, I actually have one.

Surprise! It’s beer!

Think about it. Beer is the ultimate toasting liquid. I dare you to drink a half-liter (or be a pro and drink a full liter!) from a traditional German mug; within minutes, you will be hunting for people to whom you might raise a glass and toast. It just makes perfect sense.

But which beer will serve you best, you ask? Well, since beer is a complex liquid made from a variety of malts, hops and yeast/bacteria, there is a beer for every taste and occasion! Allow me to present a few options:

Allagash Interlude

This beer suits our purposes for a number of reasons, the first of which is its taste. Interlude is a saison brewed in the Belgian style with a mixture of ale and wild yeasts to create a dry, fruity beer that is crisp and effervescent. A portion of each batch of Interlude is aged in red wine barrels to bring out a deeper fruity flavor and an even dryer finish.

The second reason Interlude is the perfect toast beer is that it comes in an impressive three-liter corked-and-caged bottle that is perfect for sharing amongst a large group. Also, the giant bottle opens up an excellent opportunity to test out your sabering abilities. Sabering is the technique of opening a bottle with a large saber or sword. It’s super cool and all your friends will think you are awesome if you try it. (Please note: Three Pint Stance is not liable for any injuries, at all. Ever.)

(Editor's note: Neither is The Maine Edge.)

Saison Dupont

I chose Saison Dupont simply because it is delicious, traditional and pretty readily-available. If you were holding a large-scale celebration and needed to fill lots of glasses, a keg of Saison Dupont should be available as a special order through any specialty beer shop. It is crisp, dry and fruity with just a hint of the traditional farmhouse funk of the Saison style. It's like what champagne wants to be, but will never be because champagne always tastes like lemon seltzer that has somehow gone rancid.

Ram Island Lavender Lemonade

This one isn't even a beer and it is still a million times better than any champagne, I promise. Made by Maine Mead Works in Portland, Maine, this beverage is actually a mixture of honey mead and a house-made lemonade that is infused with lavender and mint. It is a carbonated beverage that is seven percent ABV; a bit sweet, but cut nicely with a citrusy flavor. The lavender and mint are present in the finish but not overwhelming. This is a drink that just about everyone on the planet can at least tolerate. It is literally gourmet, alcoholic lemonade. You'll love it. Pinkie swear.

There, now you have three perfectly good replacements for your New Year’s Eve and/or Day champagne. But don't feel like you have to replace champagne; go ahead and substitute any beer that you enjoy. If people can force the bubbly toilet water that is champagne on you, why can't you force them to drink your favorite milk stout or perhaps even a Flanders red? The sky is the limit!

Long story short - I REALLY don't like champagne.

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