Fearful Symmetries

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13 April, 2016

A Scandalously Good Bohemian: Turntable Pils by Great Lakes Brewing Company

Today I am pleased to present another guest beer review here at Fearful Symmetries and it was written by Sherlock Holmes' friend and chronicler, Dr. John Watson. He generously took time out from his busy schedule to pen this post.



To me it is always the beer...

It was a fine spring morning when I called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes. He had only the previous day concluded a matter of the highest importance to the crown by lending his able assistance to Scotland Yard. Yet he was restless. A man of boundless energy, Holmes required at all times to be engaged in some manner, however small, of exercising his formidable intellect.

Perhaps because Holmes had refrained from cocaine, I was able to cajole him into trading some cultural badinage hoping all the while he would find some time away from ridding London of its criminal underworld agreeable. The moment of lightheartedness proved fleeting as there was a sudden knock at the door.

"Mrs. Hudson! Please do answer the door," Holmes said.

Both Holmes and myself expected the beleagured visage of Inspector Lestrade to appear before us but the light footfalls on the steps betrayed a guest of the fairer sex. A few moments later Mrs. Hudson escorted a beautiful young woman into the sitting room.

"Good day, madam. I am Sherlock Holmes and this is my friend Dr. Watson. Do come in. How may we be of service?" Holmes inquired.

The sylph-like woman sat down uneasily. Distress hung upon her narrow face, her piercing blue eyes gazing listly at the floor. After a brief pause in which she regained her composure, she sat up straight and introduced herself as Miriam Rutherford.

Miss Rutherford proceeded to relate the woeful tale of her brother Michael who resided in Cringleford, Norfolk. Mr. Rutherford was something of a rake and was carelessly spending the inheritance that both he and Miss Rutherford were to have shared...but this tale of the Adventure of the Cringleford Sybarite is to be told another day. Instead I want to relate a more pedestrian story.

After Holmes' initial investigation into the Rutherford family revealed a much grander mystery than we had anticipated, we ventured to the unfriendly confines of the Diogenes Club where Holmes sought to call upon his brother, Mycroft. Upon arrival we were escorted to the Stranger's Room to await the elder Holmes' arrival. It was a short wait and the Holmes siblings immediately began exchanging their usual insults and bon mots.

It was during this verbal duel that I looked away and noticed a nearby table against the wall. The table itself was nondescript and was home to a smattering of expected accoutrement: a gasogene, a bottle of very expensive claret, and sundry glasses. But I also espied a bottle tucked into a bucket of ice which was unfamiliar to me. I felt a bit parched and so, as the Holmeses sparred, I quietly took my leave to investigate the potential quenching of my thirst. It turned out to be a Czech pilsner beer from the Great Lakes Brewing Company of Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

On the label was a drawing of the platter of one of the new Victrola sound reproducing devices along with the name Turntable Pils. What this had to do with beer escaped me. But the Bohemians had gained a stellar reputation for their pale beers since 1842 when a brewer in the town of Plzeƈ conjured the first pilsner from his brewing tanks. Being thirsty and with time to spare, I hastily decided to sample the brew. I furtively glanced about the room to make sure no one was watching and then proceeded to decant the beer into a tall, slender, and tapered yet still capacious glass that sat next to the bucket of ice.

The beer was a thing of beauty to behold. It was dark straw in color and crystal clear. The tall glass highlighted the copious bubbles inside that were making their way up to the creamy white head that sat atop the splendid liquid.

I perched my nose over the glass and inhaled deeply. It was almost overwhelmed by a lovely, sprightly scent. The malts in the beer smelled slightly of bread but mostly of more delicate cracker. On the other hand, the hops gave a spicy and somewhat peppery aroma. Later I would learn that the beer had been brewed using Sterling hops, an American hybrid variety that claims parentage from the Czech Saaz hop plant, amongst others. Could this perhaps have been the fruit of Luther Burbank's labors?

The taste was no less elegant than the tantalizing aroma. I immediately felt the presence of those bubbles that I had seen in the glass upon my tongue. That graceful straw color translated into soft biscuity flavors with just a hint of sweetness derived from the grains. Obviously this lagering process that is so very popular on the Continent produces a nice, clean flavor. The aforementioned Sterling hops rendered a firm herbal flavor along with attendant bitterness.

After swallowing each sip, I noted that the malt flavors quickly succumbed to a sharp hop taste, the herbal component of which was joined by an invigorating spiciness not unlike black pepper. More bitterness ensued. From the beer, I mean, not the Holmes brothers whom I had all but forgotten as I refreshed myself. Just as the glass looked lovely with the newly-poured beer, so too did it appear after I had consumed the splendid drink. Streaks of foam lined the glass' interior along with large patches.

What a felicitous discovery! This Turntable Pils was most refreshing with its light body and lively effervescence. The cracker and biscuit aroma and flavor, respectively, were most agreeable to my palate. And the alternating herbal and spicy flavors of the hops stood in stark contrast to the flavors of the grain adding balance and a brisk kick, if I do say so.

Junk food pairing: Although I was without food while stranded at the Diogenes Club, I could have murdered a bag of Worcestershire sauce potato chips.


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|| Palmer, 7:57 AM

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