Friday, September 17, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Caporales & potos

On my recent trip to Peru I picked up two traditional beer vessels:

First up, a pair of caporales.   These large -aprox. 1 L capacity- glasses are the descendants of Inca keros. I would guess they came into use in the 19th C. and are still often used as the preferred serving vessel for chicha in the Peruvian Andes.   They are, unfortunately, getting harder to find as drinking preferences have moved to beer, and for chicha, the glass is replaced by cheaper plastic tumblers.  Nevertheless, at my request and moved by his own desire for some, Diego kept his eyes open for them, finally locating a bunch for sale in Lima's Mercado Central.  He bought several, and I brought home a matched pair.

Another type of chicha cup, this one use primarily on Peru's north coast, is the poto.   Made from a dried gourd, the poto is somewhat disposable.  They are used until even setting them out to dry in the sun won't fix them up, at which point they are tossed away.

When the song says "...chicha servidita en mi rico poto..."  this is what it's talking about.  

I bought this one in the market in the Lima neighborhood of Surquillo.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Charlie, Fred, and Ken's Bock" - Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Brew

 Today at Whole Foods in Walnut Creek I picked up a bottle of one of two 30th Anniversary beers on hand from Sierra Nevada.  The bottle I selected was an Imperial Helles Bock brewed by Charlie Papazian, Fred Eckhard, and Ken Grossman called, appropriately, "Charlie, Fred, and Ken's Bock".  (The other one was "Fritz and Ken's Ale", from Ken Grossman and Fritz Maytag).

As it says on the label,

 "Charlie Papazian and Fred Eckhard are two of the country's most esteemed homebrewers and writers.  ... Charlie and Fred agreed to work with us on this very special brew in honor of our 30th Anniversary.  This Imperial Helles Bock is a testament to the ever-evolving brewer's art. ..."

The beer itself is, not unexpectedly, very nice.  Smooth-drinking, with a nice head that isn't too thick but does hang around a bit.  It feels rich but not chewy in the mouth, and the hops are assertive but not overpowering.  I mean they're definitely there, right up front, but don't leave that bitter sucker punch after swallowing that some beers can.  The label described the hop flavors as "floral", and while I'm not sure about that precisely, I would agree that they tend more in  that direction  than toward fruitiness (e.g. I definitely didn't detect any citrus or banana).

Overall, I like it.  A lot.

I wish I had bought two, but at nearly 10 bucks a pop, I'm probably OK with just one at a time.

Brew Name: Charlie, Fred, and Ken's Bock
Style: Imperial Helles Bock
ABV: 8.3%
Brewery: Sierra Nevada
Serving Type: 1 pt 9.4 oz longneck