Friday, March 5, 2010

Bell's Batch 9000 - Black Gold, Texas Tea

Well, you're probably familiar with that quote, "black gold, Texas tea", from the Beverly Hillbillies introduction. That ballad was an ode to the slick substance that made ol' Jed a millionaire and prompted his proto-reality-TV-like move to America's ritziest zip code. What does this have to do with Bell's Batch 9000? This beer is not all that different from the fossil fuel that made t.v. characters like Jed and J.R. Ewing rich. Next time your car's check oil light turns on, considering pouring in a 12 ouncer of this baby.

Only, don't do it! Batch 9000 is far too beautiful a concoction for automotive use - it should be greasing your palate, not your engine. And at 12.5%, this barleywine should be as far removed from all things related to driving as possible.

From what I gather, Batch 9000 is part of a series of releases from legendary Bell's brewer Larry Bell. Every time he hits a millennial barrel of beer, at least among the last few thousand, he makes the batch with the triple zeros in its number sequence a special release. And is Batch 9000 ever special. It's a viscous, oily beer that has hints of everything imaginable - everything dark, and sweet and/or syrupy, that is. Think of licorice, Malbec, candied blackberries, rum, chocolate coffee honeydews. Stevie Wonder could write a rambling coda to one of his awful 80's songs about this beer's flavor profile. Batch 9000 is like wine. It pours no head and sits in the glass like a pool of tar. Its ABV gives many Zins and California Cabs a run for their money.

Sipping is required. Batch is so rich and thick, you'd gag trying to gulp it down. It takes only a few sips before you get a deep, enchanting buzz. While enjoyable, you realize that two or three of these beers in rapid succession would put you in detox for a couple of days. Slug a couple of these on a Sunday night before work and you'll be searching later that week.

HOLY WATER/DRINK/POUR DOWN THE SINK: This one's holy water. Your priest might literally pass out just from sniffing it too closely. Good luck finding this limited release. It will soon be gone forever except at beer trading sites as we await Batch 10,000, a beer that will probably be illegal in 38 states and New Brunswick.

* * * * * stars (exceptional, elite).

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