shit, i have to stop traveling to the U.S., because it is really presenting me with a ‘too much of a good thing’ sort of problem, where astringency is concerned. by which i mean i love IPAs – bitter, citrusy, floral (preferably not high alcohol) IPAs – and i often lament the difficulty of getting good ones in Montréal. thus on my recent trips to the United States (where craft beer brewing is now beginning to squirm under its self-imposed IPA tyranny) i have made a point of drinking as much and as many IPAs as possible.
unfortunately this sort of principled devotion comes with its own dear cost. because when i find myself in a beer store, it is all too difficult to resist the urge – correction: to difficult to pass up the opportunity – to buy a delicious IPA, whether i am in the mood for one or not. making things worse is the fact that the IPA is not exactly either an everyday beer or a six-to-ten-bottles-a-day beer. as a consequence i have been going around feeling like i have roundly abused my poor tongue, so ravaged by hops has it become (i think it is a challenge to think of taste as a really physical sensation. this only came to mind when i was reading Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking to better understand the action of tannins. which turn out to be phenolic compounds that actually change the surface texture of one’s tongue. tannin is derived from tanning, which practice employs the same compounds. mouthfeel, then, is not merely phenomenal, but ontological. right?). i am burned out. my taste buds just need a break. or a balm. it really shouldn’t feel like such a concession to buy bottle of Budweiser, but it has gotten to the point where it feels like a goddamn ablution. it is as soothing as spring water. it is like having one’s wounded flesh attended to by a naiad, wistfully aware that your heart belongs to the world of men and not that of the faery folk. poor sprite. it is a strange feeling to like but not respect, to enjoy but not appreciate.
dear Budweiser, i love you because you comfort me, and you are always there when i call; but then, that is not really love, is it?