Thursday, August 20, 2009

Old beer and new posts (sort of)

Here's a helpful tip: beer doesn't age well. At least not Japanese beer.

Years ago, a friend brought me back a can of Orion beer from Japan. I thought that was pretty cool and decided to save it (I have a thing about saving booze). At the time (1998) you couldn't a find can of Orion beer in Florida, much less Tampa. Besides, it was a gift and I would've felt bad chugging the contents and ditching the can.

Well, I hung on to that can of beer for the past 11 years until the missus gave me an ultimatum: drink it or dump it. Mind you, I didn't store this beer in any refrigerators or cool, dark closets. The beer lived on shelves and tables. It got packed and unpacked during several moves, and generally spent its life at room temperature.

Of course I would drink it.

So a couple weeks ago I took the beer off the shelf and stuck it into the fridge. Every time I opened the fridge, it was sitting there, staring at me. Every time I shoved it aside to grab a drink, it reminded me of my decision. But I was scared. I mean, what was this thing going to taste like?

At best, it would be flat and sour. At worst, the aluminum would have deteriorated and mixed with the skunked alcohol, sending me to the porcelain oval of misfortune for the night. Was it worth it? Was the consternation even worth it?

As it turns out, not really. I finally cracked the beer the other night. To my great surprise, I was greeted with a resounding "keesshhh." The beer had maintained its carbonation. When I poured it into a glass, it even produced a respectable head. As for the taste, that wasn't too surprising. It wasn't skunked, but the beer was clearly past its prime. Instead of that crisp, dry, faintly sweet flavor Japanese lagers tend to have, the aged Orion was all sweet and funk. But it was drinkable. Well, drinkable in a "trapped on a desert island and I have no other options" kind of way, but there would be no harried trips to the thunder bucket.

After a few sips, I decided my curiosity was satiated and so the rest went down the drain.

My latest grilling post on DC Foodies is up. In fact, a few postings have gone up since I last updated the blog, including my second beer bar profile and my review of a two-day cooking class at CulinAerie. Obviously, it's been a while since I updated the old Gastronomy blog, but I have been super slammed with house guests and projects.

I also blame Facebook, which has allowed me to get the word out about new DC Foodies posts toute suite. That's great, but it gives me an all-too-convenient excuse to blow off posting any updates here.

Speaking of the DC Foodies posts, I've started adding a link to my new Flickr account. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but the account will allow me to post all the photos that I don't have room for on my blogs. And given all the photos I shoot, that's a lot of photos that go unseen, which feels like a waste (especially when I'm still paying to develop some of them). The first Flickr link went with my write up of the Beyond Basics cooking class at CulinAerie, but I'll pop in a slide show link whenever I have additional photos to share.

Finally, the new season of Top Chef began this week. This year, the missus and I started holding a Top Chef pot luck with a few other folks. It was a great time. We ate a bunch of food (duck sliders, sweet potato cakes, homemade cookies, a few cocktails), and watched the vegetarian get kicked off the first episode. I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner.