Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chipotle Ale

I never realized how expensive mattresses are until the past week. We had to convert my youngest son's crib into a bed and buy a full size mattress for it. Even the simplest of mattresses cost between $300 and $400 each, plus you need a box spring, too.

But while I was in college, at least there were some super creative ways that my roommates and fellow students got some extra use out of old dead mattresses before they went to mattress heaven. My sophomore year in college, there was a massive blizzard on campus and everything was shut down for days. People were out and about, using the roads as cross-country skiing trails, making their way to friends' apartments, stores and bars. It was really quite a fun experience. But one street in Ithaca, Buffalo Street, was a 45 degree angle from the top on campus all the way down into downtown Ithaca. With no snow removed from the road, no traffic at all, and cars parked on both sides of the street, it was the perfect sled riding course. The snow-covered cars provided great banking to keep you in the middle. That's when a handful of geniuses decided 10 people per mattress would make an excellent sled. I must say it looked like a hell of a lot of fun, but I do remember them being fairly out of control, people and dogs dodging out of the way at the last second, and a few injuries. But, green people rejoice, they were reusing something before sending it to the mattress graveyard.

My senior year, another creative use. I moved into a house with one of my friends. So it was the two of us and twelve (give or take a few) other roommates. Now half of these dudes were in their own bands, sang in the a cappella groups on campus, and jammed in the house attic "band" all the time. When I signed onto the lease, I saw the actual clause where they had crossed off the "no loud music" portion of it, and actually had the landlord's blessing and initials, too. But these guys were also smart, and didn't want problems with the neighbors and police. I swear there were about 30 old used mattresses around every wall of the attic to insulate the noise from the outside. It was very effective. Who knew mattresses were so versatile? Anyway, I still wonder where so many used mattresses came from.

Today I have an hour or so of peace while my kids get some new shoes and sandals. I'm just about to crack open big 22 Chipotle Ale brewed by Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon. The bottle label, as usual, is very cool and unique. It also says this beer is "dedicated to Spanish author Juan de la Cueva, who, in 1575, wrote of a Mexican dish that combined seedless chipotles with ale."

There is a nice malty, and spicy pepper aroma. The first flavors are smoky and have lots of chili peppers. Malts and spicy black pepper flavors also are key in this beer. The chilies provide a definite burn in your mouth and are still going strong as the beer progresses, finishes and leaves an aftertaste on your palate. Carbonation is medium and complementary. I guess this beer is about as smooth and drinkable as I could expect considering the ingredients. However, I must say that this beer and its spiciness are pretty harsh, despite my love for spicy things. The spicy chilies and smoky flavors just dominate everything. Unique for sure; very different; worth a try and it will definitely provide a bang in your mouth!

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