Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Southern Tier Imperial Oat, tap

A month or two ago, John, one of the bartenders at Lunar, decided to start a new weekly draw, "Vinyrial Tuesday," in which patrons are encouraged to bring in their vinyl records, and we take turns playing album sides. So far it's been a bonanza, as the previously nondescript slow weeknight has given way to a full bar each week.

There's a group of younger guys that usually bring in new stuff I've never heard of while I'm left to wonder whether the '70s and '80s shit I nabbed at Value Village in college will be cool with them. But tonight--Christmas vinyl night--my collection was king. It starts and ends with the most unintentional and hilarious unintentionally hilarious album cover I've ever known:

This one never made it on the turntable tonight, but Goulet's "Do You Hear What I Hear?" is honestly beautiful:

We did listen to Christmas with Chet Atkins, which is beautiful in its own right. If The Beverly Hillbillies ever had a Christmas episode, this should have been the soundtrack.

The real prize of my collection is the New Kids on the Block's Merry Merry Christmas, featuring the signature hit "Funky Funky Christmas," which brought John and a few other folks to dancing:

For good measure, here's a live version from Arsenio:

While things got funky, I was sipping Southern Tier Imperial Oat, an impressive imperial stout that let me calm my stomach with a few quick sips while leaving enough of a challenge to slow-sip my way through the next hour. It's intended to be served in a nine-ounce glass, but I'm pretty certain John gave me twelve. No harm--it's good enough to be interesting for the full serving.

There isn't anything terribly unique about this beer, but it should satisfy expectations for an imperial stout--viscous, thick head, flavorful malts, slightly sweet, boozy finish. The aroma was pretty typical for what I've come to expect from an imperial stout--some coffee, musty basement, and chocolate. The flavor was smoky with a bit of dark fruit like cherry or raspberry, and bourbon at the finish. I don't know how many tilts this took me to finish, but if you don't lose count, you're probably drinking it too fast.

Grade: H, for hearty. Very rich, very flavorful--the kind of beer you can chew. You may not discover anything you didn't already know by drinking this beer, but you'll be satisfied if you're craving a good imperial stout.