Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And...One Year of Memphis

Funny how that is: the same day I started my anti-PLCB blog, Brendan and Leigh opened the Memphis Taproom. You could argue that they were more constructive, I guess.

Cathy and I went down to Memphis for their anniversary celebration tonight. It was jamming, but we managed to wedge our way in and grab a Bear Republic Racer X (rocking hopper, and I expected nothing less) and a Schlenkerla Fastenbier (smoky, light, and...tart? Not sure about the condition of this one...). It was an awesome line-up of drafts. About then, Leigh came busting in, holding high a sampler of meatball sandwich chunks: delish.

We slowly slipped into the dining room (past Nodding Head's Curt Decker, who was "just going to stand here and drink cask Fuller's ESB till my eyes bleed," which didn't seem like a bad idea at all (Curt's wife Paula is Brendan's second partner in Memphis, and the third, Ken Correll, can be seen in the pic just over the tray Brendan's holding)), and found, to our surprise and delight, an empty table for two. We grabbed it, and tasted some other stuff: ham and onions on rye, a buffalo wing, some chicken liver mousse with dried fruit soaked in JW Lee's Harvest (awesome, BTW), and blueberry soup. Cathy got a Sly Fox Instigator (sweet and delicious, dark, rich), I got some of that ESB (smoother than silk, not as intrusive as the bottled ESB) and then I had another.

Then I had an Uerige Doppelstike, and it was one of the very best beers I've had in months. I may go back to Memphis tomorrow just to get more. Wow. Malty-dry (Germans are geniuses with that), hoppy, big, but not boozy, holy crap. Excellent beer. Then I tried Taras Boulba again... I don't get it. It's citrus peel-pith bitter, shallow, with just a bit of fruit character. Didn't do it for me when I had it the first time, after WhiskyFest NY at dba last year. Low alcohol, session beer, yeah, but it didn't make it for me this time either.

And then...we went home. Happy birthday, Memphis!


dmoore2 said...

Funny, I had my first Taras Boulba tonight and felt the exact same thing. Seemed really tight or something, overly better without enough flavor. Eh.

The 3 glasses I had of Cantillon Fou'Foune made up for it, at least. /swoon

Brew.Drink.Repeat. said...

Unfortunately I couldn't make it down. Congrats to the Memphis, IMO one of the best beer bars in the city.

The Doppelsticke is one mighty beer, I agree; State Line has it every time I've been there, so I always grab a bottle or two when I drive down.

Josh Witkowski said...

Interesting. I had the Schlenkerla Fastenbier here in Boston on Monday night and I can't say I found it to be at all tart. It's light on the smoke compared to, say, the Ur-Bock, and has that ever-so-slightly astringent malt character... but is not what I would call tart.

I am generally gonzo for the De La Senne beers, but I have to admit that Taras Boulba is my least favorite. I think a lot of people just give it a pass because it's a "session beer" from Belgium. Zinnebir is far better, as is the Saison de la Senne.

Russ said...

Like Josh, I picked up a slight astringency when I had the Fastenbier at the Publican in Chicago but didn't perceive it as a flaw. I actually found it to be the Ur-Bock's little brother: it had the same smoke-to-malt balance as the Ur-Bock (as compared to the Märzen, which I find has either too much smoke or not enough malt, depending on how you look at it) but both the smoke and malt are scaled down. If that were available year-round I would spend far too much money on it.

Doug said...


We will have the Uerige on draft when we eventually open up (hopefully in 5 weeks or so)it really is a great beer. Have you checked out our opening draft list yet?

Doug from Brauhaus Schmitz

Lew Bryson said...

Damn, no, but you sure got my attention with that!