| Booze |

Beer Bandwagoneering Ain't So Bad: Kulmbacher Brauerei's EKU 28

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I make some "discoveries" all on my own, stumbling on a great bottle through some combination of a passable knowledge of styles and breweries, interesting bottle design and dumb luck. Most of the time, though, I rely on a sophisticated intelligence network of forward scouts, market analysts and "Non-Official Cover" assets, operating covertly to bring me intel on what I should be drinking. Without compromising their cover, I can tell you that they go by code names like "Birdie" and "Zuckerberg."

One of my assets leaked information to me recently regarding the appearance of Kulmbacher Brauerei's EKU 28 at D&Q. Whether or not he knows he did this is beside the point. (Thanks, JV!) As I've come to trust intel from this source, I immediately went out and secured the material. The intel was good.

I drank my EKU 28 as my dishwashing beer a few nights ago. You see, my wife and I have a standing arrangement that, in general, whoever cooks dinner gets to dodge the dishes. I say "in general" because of the "too damn many dishes" clause. Basically, it stipulates that, if I engage in an overly complex preparation on a weeknight, I'm responsible for all of the prep dishes. She still handles the service dishes, and I understand her point.

Still, nobody really likes to do dishes. That's where the dishwashing beer comes in. Depending on how my day has gone, I skew to almost completely different ends of the beer spectrum in my dishwashing beer needs. Sometimes, I want something light, refreshing and somewhat ignorable. Other times, I need something to dull the pain. Clocking in at 11 percent alcohol, EKU is perfect for that, and delicious to boot.

EKU pours a clear orange-copper, with very little head. Instead of lacing, it almost shows legs down the glass. Moderate carbonation bubbles up, more than I'd expect given the lack of head.

The nose is rich and ruddy with dark fruit and toffee, a heady waft of alcohol cutting through but not obliterating the other aromas. Behind that, burnt sugar and a ton of Concord grape add a surprising sprightliness.

The first sip is syrupy, all dark fruits and light molasses. Surprisingly prickly carbonation livens up the otherwise ultra-luxe texture, like cream full of pop-rocks. There's an almost pumpernickelly dark bread background note, with the faintest glimmer of brininess, kind of like dark, fruity olives after all the salt has washed away.

Wait, was I supposed to be washing dishes?

There's a toasted cereal note in there, too. The fruits are amazing. Baked apple is prominent, the kind filled with nutmeats, raisins and brown sugar. The alcohol doesn't hide, but seems secure enough in its manhood not to go around dick-swinging.

Whoops. We don't need a full, matched set of wine glasses, right?

There's some acetone notes, too, and I know that might sound like a bad thing, but somehow it isn't. Hints of cherry and flits of root beer hover mid-palate, daring you to chase them down, then disappear completely.

Dang. I think I just rewashed the same pan for the fifth time.

What were we talking about? Dishes? Beer? I'm gonna go with beer, mmkay? So, this one, it's good. It makes it easier to get through the dishes. Oh, shit, we were talking about dishes. I gotta go...

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