Stephen Beaumont and Maggie stopped at my room last night for a few drinks before we went down to the close-up cocktail party for the Cheers Conference. I wanted to show off my new portable speakers (a JBL OnTour set I got for Christmas, powered by 4 AAAs or an AC adaptor, sleek look, nice carrying bag, and great sound for the size): Stephen and I were on a trip in Germany three years ago and kept trying to get some kind of bus-filling sound out of laptop speakers, at which point I swore I'd find something that sounded good and was easily portable: these do the trick. He and Maggie agreed, and we had them hooked up to Maggie's slick little Sony mp3 player in a jiffy.
We hate going dry, so I hustled up some ice and Stephen dumped in some beers he had along for tasting. I sipped some Michael Collins Irish whiskey while we waited for them to chill -- it was the blended, and it was fine tasting stuff; like Stephen said, I was prepared to not like Michael Collins for a variety of political reasons -- none of them Irish, but let's not go into it -- but it's too good to not like.
Anyway, one of the beers he brought down was Full Sail Slipknot Imperial IPA, a new beer in their Brewmaster Reserve series. It was fully assertive, if not aggressive. The hopping was solid, but more full than edgy, if that makes sense: it was a swelling full current of hops, rather than a slashing whack of hops, a juggernaut of hop flavor without being a beast of bitterness. It was also quite drinkable, and -- not to brand it with a word that seems to be the kiss of death for a certain class of beer geek -- mightily balanced for an IIPA. I mean, a battleship is balanced, right? So's Slipknot.
I found myself wishing he'd brought another bottle. Or two.