Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Götterdämmerung

Götterdämmerung.  It was the last of the four operas in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. The fourth opera represents the climax of a story that begins with an ugly dwarf, Alberich, who comes across Rhinegold, an invaluable treasure that provides the possessor with power over the world.  Meanwhile, the goddess of youth, Freia, was kidnapped by giants who wanted payment in return for building a palace for the god Wotan.  Assisted by the gods Donner and Froh, Wotan finds Alberich and, long story short, Wotan takes a ring from Alberich and becomes entranced with it.  Alberich curses the ring, "ceaseless worry and death shall be the destiny of all who possess it." After being warned about the curse, Wotan throws the ring on the hoard.  The giants fight each other over the ring, with one killing the other.  Horrified by these events, Donner clears the air with lighting and a rainbow appears ... leading to the new castle, known as Valhalla.  

For hop lovers, the Götterdämmerung represents Stone Brewing's effort to create a Valhalla of India Pale Ales. A grand castle or monument to the style, all in commemoration of Stone Brewing's 17th anniversary.  The brewers used "a grain bill comprised exclusively of pilsner malts and German hops with crazy awesome names like Herkules, Hersbrucker, Magnum, Merkur, Opal, Smaragd, and Strisselspalt."  the brewers then dry-hopped the beer with Sterling hops, which are an American hop with Saaz parentage.  The brewers used this hop to impart "a bit of familiarity," but drinkers are warned that the Götterdämmerung "is a unique beer that takes the IPA - a style we've already pushed far beyond its previous limits over the years - to interesting new territory."

The beer pours a nice orange and gold color, which clearly identifies the style of the Götterdämmerung.  The aroma of this IPA evinces tart citrus and a little pine.  Those pilsner malts are completely dominated by the hops with respect to the aroma ... and the taste.  The Götterdämmerung has a taste that is chock full of hops.  The bitterness is first to greet you, with elements of grapefruit and lemon in the taste.  The bitterness of this beer acts like tannins in wine, sticking on the tongue long after the beer has been sipped.  Indeed, as I write this post, it has been at least a couple of minutes since I sipped the beer and my tongue is still in the grips of the hop bitterness.  (This is a feeling that, as a hophead, I quite enjoy.) 

When it comes to food pairing, Stone Brewing offers a variety of choices. These include honey-ginger chicken skewers, crab cakes, grilled peaches with blue cheese, citrus salad with goat cheese, Thai seafood salad, rotisserie chicken, Cajun shrimp and grits, and cedar plank salmon.  As for cheeses, they suggest Grana Padrano, Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar, Green Mountain Blue Cheese, and Point Reyes Blue.

I found a bottle of the 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung at a local beer store for about $10.99, although it was on sale for $7.99.  As this is a seasonal, look for it now because it may be gone soon ... and forever.

ENJOY!

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