Say Hi To Your Knee
There many things I have trouble understanding. For today let’s focus on two seemingly unrelated topics.
a) Grade school humor
b) Hatred of Heinekin
First, let’s connect them. One of my son’s playmates came up to me and said, “Say ‘hi’ to your knee.” I found this direction to be a bit perplexing. But decided to oblige the young man, so I looked down at my knee and said, “Hi.”
The youngster was visibly disappointed. It seemed I failed in the successful completion of his modest instruction. So with a bit more urgency he commands me again to, “Say ‘hi’ to your knee.” I was flummoxed. I had just done exactly that. What went wrong? What did he want me to do?
Then it clicks. He’s eight. So I say, “Hi knee.” And the boy erupts into hysterics. Get it? Heinie. All eight year old boys love a good tush joke.
Which brings us to the other incomprehensible thing I’ve discovered in my travels. People far and wide seem to hate Heineken. And I never got that either. There’s no tush joke here, but I finally had a bottle that tasted like ass.
Figuratively of course.
I guess that I’ve just had good luck in the past. Or at least in the recent past since I started paying more attention to the beers that I drink, trying to suss out what makes them good, and attempting to isolate the tastes of the malt and the hops.
Part of this beer rediscovery involved picking up an old copy of F. Paul Pacult’s The Beer Essentials. In this tome he drinks a lot of beer and provides notes in only the way he can. He’s a professional taster, and he has his tried and true methods. While his language can be a bit flowery (after all, he started off as a wine guy) his observations are typically spot on.
It was his review of Heineken that made me try it again for the first time a couple years ago:
Flaxen/gold color, moderately strong head; the sedate, distinctive, clean, grainy, mildly hoppy nose hints of barley; the satiny texture, so characteristic of Continental lagers, leaves North American lagers in the dust; on palate, it gives off an undemanding taste of soft, sweet fruit, mostly apricot, then finishes like a champ–fast, crisp, decisive, and sweet; Heineken’s sweetness element is more pronounced than either Beck’s or Grolsch’s; a really delicious, bountiful, and pleasurable beer that deserves its industry-leading position; next round’s on me; bravo. 4* Highly Recommended.
All I knew was that many among the beer cognescenti, in addition to Frank Booth, were vehemently opposed to the stuff. But how could you argue with the above.
So I went out to try some. I had it on tap at Suzie’s bar, and I totally tasted the apricots.
Well recently, Mrs. Fussy and I found ourselves at a big chain restaurant. Which one is not important. But let’s just say that I didn’t have high hopes that their taps were kept in tip top shape. And it was definitely going to be a meal that called for a beer to help wash it all down. The beer menu was abysmal.
I wanted something nicer than Budweiser (which gets a 1* rating from Mr. Pacult) and Heineken appeared to be the best thing on the menu. So I ordered a bottle of it.
My assumption is that skunkiness, much like corkiness in wine, can come in a broad range of degrees. The critical thing was that the true flavor of the beer wasn’t there. It didn’t taste like skunk. But it totally tasted off. It was sour and dull.
Sometimes you have to learn things the hard way. I’ve been told in the past that it’s Heineken’s green bottles people take issue with as they let in more light than brown glass, and far too often result in a diminished brew. It’s just that I’ve had some good luck with the beer in the past. Eventually it was time for my luck to run out.
Now I get it.
Mrs. Fussy did far better than me on the beer front. She went with something cheap and on tap. It wasn’t great. But it was far better than mine and almost half the price.
I’m chalking this up to a valuable lesson learned. Sometimes cheap beer from questionable taps is better than expensive beer sealed in bottles. And I will likely avoid Heineken in bottles down the road, unless that is, I’m doing a direct comparison on how it tastes from both a tap and a can. Because that sounds like it could be fun.