Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Tribute to St. Eadman ... Just Don't Draw Him

It is a little fuzzy.  Somewhat vague.  A picture could be made out, but someone has to connect the dots.  The dots are there.  There are even that many of them.  The only question is where to start.  As the struggle to decide grips the mind, it becomes clear that the dots are not dots at all.  They are people.  Only people. Still where to start?

Hunter S. Thompson, a.k.a. "Gonzo."  The journalist and author who got so deep into the story that he would figure as one of the central characters.  That was Gonzo.  

Ralph Steadman.  The British cartoonist who brought the Gonzo works to life with his unique, impressionist style.  Well, I am not sure that "impressionist" is the right description, but unique fits perfectly.   Steadman brought to life Thompon's works with images that have become as iconic as the words themselves.

George Stranahan.  Astrophysicist, photographer, writer, hunter, philantrophist and co-owner of Flying Dog Brewery.  Flying Dog first started in Colorado. That is where Stranahan met Hunter S. Thompson, who, in turn, introduced George to Ralph Steadman.  Soon enough, Ralph was not just bringing Hunter S. Thompson's work into the visual realm, but he was also drawing the art for Flying Dog's beer labels.  Make no mistake, Flying Dog is clearly inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, and the labels look as if ripped from the book jacket of Thompson's works. 

For all of his work with Hunter S. Thompson, Ralph Steadman never got the same recognition as Gonzo.  Or at least that is how it seems.  Or seemed, because Flying Dog has now given the cartoonist his due.  This recognition is perhaps the best of all types of recognition, because it can be imbibed.

Flying Dog released the "St. Eadman" as a Brewhouse Rarity.  The St. Eadman is brewed in the style of a Belgian Dark Ale.  The beer pouros a dark brown, with a large, vanilla colored foam.  the foam dissipates rather quickly, giving way to what the brewers describe as a beer having "bright fruity esters of pears and strawberries blend with caramel malt character and brown fruit notes of cherry and plum." 

This is a good description of the St. Eadman.The aroma is full of fruit such as raisins, figs and dark cherries, all of which are wrapped around a little caramel or toffee.  These elements are also apparent in the flavor of the beer, which is encased in a warm, boozy body with a sweetness that you would expect from a Belgian style beer.

The St. Eadman can obviously be enjoyed on its own, but it is also a beer that could pair well with certain types of foods.  I think that this beer would go well with soft cheeses, such as Camembert and Taleggio, as well as blue cheeses.  This Strong Ale could also pair well with roasted pork or beef dishes, served with a gravy or sauce that is not tomato-based. 

I found Flying Dog's St. Eadman Belgian Strong Ale at a local grocery store, but I have also seen it at beer stores.  A bottle sells for about $12.99.


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