My phone died a strange death recently and just won’t open up. The touch screen seemed to quit working and it just forces close on what ever operation that I try to open. Make sure to email me your phone numbers at email@example.com. At least a started a Flickr account to upload photos to this time so I didn’t lose all those, just some. The Flickr upload may have been what finally killed the phone though now that I think about it.
A long time ago at the Recordbar I went to see the band Hearts of Darkness with Jessica. Hearts of Darkness are a pretty well known and very popular band that make music in the vein of Fela
Kuti…..Afrobeat rhythms played by a big band, like barely fit on the stage big, headed by three female vocalists and Les Izmore. Watching them perform was a great time. All the parts of the band really make it what it is. Most impressive to me was the lead man Les. Coming from a Hip Hop background, Izmore’s participation really showcased his versatility. Talking to him after the show I ended up volunteering to do an album cover for him for an upcoming project he called Heartfelt Anarchy. He sent me the first track, I listened to it, and began to work on this piece with the very simple idea of an explosion, but a “good” one, one that made the space it exploded into more full, kind of like the title he told me, Anarchy but with good intention, Heartfelt.
With time the piece evolved to me, as I was, and still am to a certain extent, thinking about the death of Jon Sims. I sometimes sit and think about him, his talent and his plight, his life and his death, and something always sticks with me…. Chris relayed a story about how before Jon died he was with his Dad, asking questions until the end. “What is going to happen, Where am going to go?” When I think of this I am full of hope that he experienced something transcendent as he passed on to wherever, something worthy to be called the end of his life, an actual event. So I began to imagine what I refer to as “a painter’s death’.
I’ve always imaginedsome sort of explosion of colors and forms with a central point that viewer is receding into, as if the forms and various colors are rushing past them, cloaking them in memories from the past that held by these colors and forms as sort of visual abbreviation to the most important experiences of their life. And that began a series of paintings I’m still working on now.
So anyways, recently the album was finished. And it is great, I saw him perform some of the tracks live at record bar recently and left impressed.
A new wrinkle in the life of the liquor store clerk in Kansas City is the release of Boulevard Chocolate Ale. The tickle-me-elmo of beers, the chocolate ale has become the most sought after beer this city has ever seen. It’s marketability lies in its uniqueness and roots in Kansas City. First and foremost, the beer is a collaboration with local chocolatier Christopher Elbow. Elbow has been successful in his own right around town, with chocolate shops and ice creameries. Elbow himself and his own audience have to be responsible for part of the demand. What makes the beer unique is it is by far the thinnest styled beer to hold that much chocolate flavor, and consequently speaks to a crossover demographic….. you’re normal domestic beer drinkers. Chocolate in beer is usually done in stouts and porters, letting large malts and more often than not portions of chocolate malt combine and hold chocolate. These tend to overwhelm the uninitiated looking for a casual chocolate fix without the effort of drinking such a viscous beer. The Boulevard Chocolate ale is made with pale malt and tons of cacao nibs essentially. It’s a pale ale with cacao in place of hops to a certain extent. Personally? I far prefer Southern Tier Brewery’s sweet stout line called the “Blackwater Series.” Their Choklat Stout is more my flavor, but I can see the appeal in the Boulevard product especially since we’re talking people with vastly different palettes than me.
This picture was taken outside the Main street Berbiglia in the afternoon. People had started following the delivery truck around by this point. If you look close in this picture and the next you can see the people lined up across the front of the store.
Drinking this year’s batch of bottles, I immediately noticed the enhanced sweetness. Last year there had been a substantial difference between the bottled version and the draft version, so this year they sweetened the bottled version in an attempt to find a middle ground.
I liked last year better. More subtle, more integrated…. this year it was slick and sweet with a mouthfeel that I find awkward. Call me old fashioned, but this should be based in a porter or stout in my mind. The strength of last year was a chocolate pilsner taste, subdued chocolate noticeable low toned hops and yeast meeting. This? It’s all chocolate, low malt, hidden hop.
I enjoyed attempting to make a Black and tan with this Schlafly Irish Style Extra Stout. I failed at making the black and tan, but the resulting beer cocktail was great tasting without being “proper”.
All in all, Chocolate ale is a thing that happens now; people who don’t drink craft beer going fucking nuts for a Boulevard offering once a year and I probably won’t buy any next year despite working at a liquor store…
Boulevard makes other beers much more worthy of this hype, but this beer will probably always be impossible to get, and consequently sought after by all. Happy hunting and don’t be afraid to try something else when this is sold out at you’re local store…..
The shirt of the week over at Printosaurus!
I have the privilege of owning one of these fine shirts. Make sure and pick one up for a super low price and be one of the cool kids on the block. In the process you also support some of my favorite people in the whole world.