As much as mulling over the inconsistencies in ST Parts Lists absorb my waking hours, I still find the time to enjoy a bold tasting beverage now and then. Putting the distractions aside for a moment, I realize that the cold, frothy depths of a great beer does a lot to set the stage for some creative thinking, if not creative action. So, I'd like to break this post up a bit and present some unrelated material for you to dwell on. And it does mostly concern beer. Beer is good. If you drink it AND are over 21 years of age in the US, go get one now. Better yet, go grab a good Scotch. A great Scotch is even better. You'll probably be in good company because it's very possible I'm enjoying one of my favorties on a given evening. Responsibly and in Moderation. Or, maybe I'm even brewing up something nice for later. I've certainly selected something nice from the following list to celebrate my 1 year aniversary for this blog. I never thought I had the attention span and brain cells to keep it going this long!
If you're coming up short on ideas for your adult beverage choice and are looking for huge taste, I now offer up some reasonable suggestions--presented in no particular order:
1) Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Mountain Brewery. Rest assured, you ARE worthy, regardless of packaging assertions. Go the 22 oz bomber. While you're at it, go whole hog and make it a Double Bastard. You probably won't regret it. Much. Also available in a magnum size for self obliterative purposes. I presented one of these bad boys to ISP West during the '09 Classic and they cracked it during the 'after party' for their annual BBQ. Definitely got a two thumbs up.
2) Balvenie 21 yo Portwood. When funds are plentiful, this is my 'daily drammer'. It's just that good. Makes a great Christmas or birthday gift...for me.
3) Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, Great Divide Brewing Co. Another big tasting beer, neither overwhelmed nor tamed by oak aging. I liked this one so much that after I sobered up I called the brewery to let them know.
4) Lagavulin 16 yo. A grand old Islay Scotch. Truly recommended and is a rite of passage for any Scotch whisky aficionado. Some say it used to be better, but I can't even imagine how. Sidenote: there's no real point in seeking out the '91 Distiller's edition, but it's a nice one too!
5) Small Batch 471 India Pale Ale, Breckenridge Brewery. It's another enormous taste of a beer with tons of malt and hop flavor, made in small batches. I prefer the 22 oz bomber bottles over the 12 oz bottles because some bottle conditioning definitely occurs after the cap goes on and the larger bottle isn't so fizzy. Batch variations occur, which adds to the adventure. There's also a small batch ESB by this brewery made in the same small batch manner, but it's flavor fell a bit flat with me--though your mileage may vary. I plan to try it again, soon.
6) Glenmorangie 10 yo. Big bang for the buck! Look for the new packaging to take advantage of the new product formulation. This stuff is outstanding! Even the Malt Advocate agrees!
7) Hazed and Infused, Boulder Beer Co. Reminds me of an IPA beer recipe I used to use when homebrewing. I dry-hopped it to expand the finish. This commercial product has a wonderfully floral nose and powerfully hoppy finish. Takes me back...to the front porch at the McMennamins High Street Pub in Eugene...or even Triple Rock, in Berkely. It's a hauntingly familiar experience, that way.
8) Talisker 10 yo. Nice, distinctive peppery finish, somewhat subdued these days over the old batches, but my understanding is that they are trying to get this characteristic back into the product in the current releases. In my opnion, there is little point in seeking out the Distiller's Edition, but the 18 yo might be a worthy dram. However, the 10 yo gets the job done, with change to spare.
9) Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium Brewery. Of everything on this list, this one's a nice, congenial, balanced beer that goes well with just about anything edible, just about any time of year. I had forgotten just how good it was, until recently when I was offered one by my neighbors as a token of appreciation for some yard work I did for them. I actually ended up with two, and now plan to buy a case.
10) Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist, or 'Lair of the beast.' Good Lord, this one is tasty! Recommended over the 10yo on the basis of complexity, alone--and the 10yo was Jim Murray's whisky of the year for 2008. So you know it's good, assuming you can stomach a whisky with the Islay character. And that's a character profile I like.
11) Bruichladdich 3D3, "The Norrie Campbell Tribute Bottling". They might as well subtexted this, "Distilled for Greg Skinner's Private Reserve", I like it that well. My wife gave me my first bottle of this for Christmas last year and I was amazed by both the heavy handed peat and the beautifully complex fundamental character of the whisky. A guy I work with once commented on the Talisker 15yo, "If Duraflame made a whisky, this would be it." Well, Jeff, the 3D3 beats that one by a mile. Highly recommended for any 'peat freak'.
12) Bourbon Barrel Stout, Odell Brewing Company. This last one is a newly discovered favorite. I won't be buying it much because it's rather expensive. It's an extremely potent and well done Russian Imperial Stout that's been aged for 4 months in a Bourbon whiskey barrel. Each bottle I've tried represents my all time personal favorite adult beverage flavor nexus. While I'm actually jealous that I can't make a beer this good, I am in turn quite thankful that somebody can.
Now...back to our regularly scheduled blogging...
Remember that what you have in the ST Parts lists is some substantial knowledge to allow you to put your car back together correctly. Safety comes into play here, as well, because black oxide coated parts are stronger than their bright zinc plated brothers. If the ST Parts list calls for a black oxide plated part, Grade 8, DON'T SKIMP! Even if it looks prettier. There's a reason VW originally plated parts they way they did. I don't know about you, but I can't think of a reason to try to second guess them on this point. Be safe!