Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lost with the Czar

In what is becoming an annual tradition, I decided to celebrate the season premiere of "Lost" with a beer that I've never had before. This was a bit of an accident this year as I meant to have the new Boulevard Imperial Stout while watching the show. But, after going to 2 stores in Kansas, I concluded that it wouldn't be in Kansas until tomorrow. Since I had my cold dark heart set on an imperial stout, I picked Avery's The Czar Imperial Stout.

Stella and I sat down to watch the 3 hours of "Lost" around 8:00. We burned through the pre-show show in about 40 minutes. In between the pre-show and the season premiere I ran my Czar through the Cooper Cooler for about 5 minutes. I would guess the Czar came out of the cooler at about 55 degrees, a little cooler than John Locke err Jeremy Bentham.

I used my trusty Boulevard Smokestack glass to pour the Czar. The Czar pours black with just a hint of a reddish tint and leaves a nice one inch creamy tan head. The smell contained some dark chocolate, a hint of hops, some fruit and a whole mess of alcohol. The smell alone would have intoxicated one of my kids. As I sat down to watch the good doctor film his training video I took my first taste. It was a little bit chocolatey with some fruit flavor and then all of that went away and all I tasted was alcohol. It was like eating a Hershey Kiss with a bourbon chaser. The aftertaste was dominated by the alcohol. I probably made a mistake by cooling it down as much as I did.

By the time it was revealed that the island is a time machine, I knew I was going to struggle to make it to 10:30. The 11% alcohol was going to have its way with me. The Czar was my own personal smoke monster. As the beer warmed throughout the 2 hour show, it never quite got to the point that I wasn't tasting the alcohol. I even had to eat a salty snack which I always want when drinking bourbon or scotch.

Don't get me wrong, the Czar wasn't a bad beer it was actually pretty good, I just think it could have had a sweetness to balance out the alcohol burn. To put it in "Lost" terms I wanted it to be like Benjamin Linus. I knew it had a lot of alcohol in it just like I know Benjamin Linus is a slimy snake. But Benjamin has a charm that even though you know he's a snake, he can still convince you to do what he wants. I wanted the Czar to have that charm, in the Czar's case a sweetness to balance out the snakiness of the alcohol. The Czar in short is what Benjamin Linus would be if he were played by Jon Voight (see Voight playing the coach in "Varsity Blues" if you don't know what this means).


  1. I've been avoiding these Avery's like the plague. I don't know why... they beckon from the shelf every time I'm at Lukas, but then I reach for the 471 IPA or the Jolly Pumpkin... maybe they seem overpriced to me? Nice review. I liked the Jon Voight reference, particularly considering that on last night's rerun of Seinfeld it was the one where Costanza buys JoHn Voight's car (the dentist, not the actor) and the real Voight bites Kramer's arm! lol

    My GF loves Lost. I stopped watching after the 1st season because I had flashbacks to how badly those fuckers burned me on X-Files (not tying up loose ends), so I decided to cut my losses. I was surprised about how much I could keep up with, though, watching last night's 2-hour extravaganza. Keep up the good work.

  2. LD, you've been avoiding some fantastic beer! The Avery bombers are fantastic.

    I was at Gomer's Midtown tonight looking for Bells' Hopslam or Delerium Tremens and they had neither. BUT, they had about half a dozen Blvd Imperial Stouts and a few Saison-Bretts.

  3. I got my I.S. at Rimann in P.V. last night before Lost started. Can't wait to try it.

  4. Avery makes one of my favorite IPAs available in this otherwise black hole of hops (Bell's Two Hearted is up there too).

    I like The Czar better then Boulevard's but the latter is certainly sweeter.

  5. Bigfoot is out now! Picked up a case at lukas on 119th.

    Lost is awesome! Will watch that episode again.

  6. I love me some Imperial Stout and I love me some Avery, but the Czar is not for the faint of heart! It's a huge beer (a Lexington Steele, perhaps, in Bull's vernacular)--about 6 oz. at a time is all I could muster.

    Overall, Avery makes some fantastic beers, and Adam Avery is a friend to craft brewing everywhere. Two reasons to buy their stuff:
    1) He has been helping Dead Canary get off the ground.
    2) Read this story about how one of their beers came to be. How can you not like that?

  7. combining two of my favorite things. beer and lost. it makes the most perfect blog post.

  8. I just tried Sam Adams Blackberry WitBier from their Brewmasters collection, or whatever they call it.

    Any chance of a review and some thoughts?

  9. "I've been avoiding these Avery's like the plague. I don't know why... "

    Maybe because they're so damned expensive? I know Avery's beers are great, but every time I reach for one and then see the price tag, I recoil in horror. There are too many other great breweries doing comparable products to justify spending that much money.

  10. Anonymous, Ask and ye shall receive. Thanks for the tip.

  11. So where'd you get your Boulevard Smokestack glass? We've been searching for those or something like it drink the Smokestacks from. Thanks.

  12. Liz, I got the glasses for Christmas last year. I think Stella bought them at the Boulevard gift shop.

  13. Yeah, the glasses are at the Boulevard gift shop.

  14. You can get Smokestack glasses from the gift shop ($6 each), but they are considerably different. They are made by Sahm in Germany - model "Bohemia". I much prefer the original style, but apparently I missed the boat.

    Lukas on State Line had Hopslam on Saturday for $15.99 a 6 pack, and Flying Saucer has it on tap for $6. It is phenomenal!

    I've actually never had an Avery brew, but I do have their Hog Heaven in the fridge. The Great Divide Old Ruffian turned me onto the wonder that is Barleywine. Needless to say, I'm very excited to try the Smokestack version...