Anyone that spends fifteen minutes with me knows where my hockey allegiances lie. I am a Rangers fan, long suffering and loyal to a fault. After 15 minutes of talking hockey, one might start to mistake me for the exact opposite, because usually at the 15 minute mark is when I start to get really harshly critical. At the end of the day I am a hockey fan, in general, and like any good writer I’m reasonably well informed on the subject.
I’m also a fan of good beer. I used to brew my own, and I still do on occasion. Despite this, up until a couple of years ago my drink was Smithwicks, preferably on tap. I contended that it was like a warm blanket; comfortable. But then I started to get bored, and decided to expand my horizons.
Now, my drinking, like my hockey, has become a veritable garden of excitement and flavor, metaphorically and intrinsically. It was only inevitable that I combined the two.
So here it is, taking a page from fellow LWOS writer Rory Harbaugh’s “A Pint of NFL“, I will join forces with my hockey-loving Russian-American comrade, Max Vasilyev, in today’s “NHL Happy Hour”.
On Day2 of NHL free agency, it seemed that Jaromir Jagr was going to sign with his first Canadian team, the Montreal Canadiens. I have always loved Jagr as a player and a personality.
In a move that I will always appreciate, GM Glen Sather brought this complicated and talented fellow to Broadway. In his time with the Rangers, he became the leading scorer in New York Rangers history, passing Adam Graves’ 1994 record of 52 goals. I bought a Jagr home jersey, which took it’s place in my closet next to my Gretzky Liberty head jersey and my Leetch away jersey. And yesterday, it seemed like he was going to the Canadiens. I may have to acquire a Habs 68 jersey – dammit!
Whilst waiting for word, I decided to go beer shopping once more. In my favorite shop, with my favorite beer counselor (a lanky young man by the name of Daniel, who seems to constantly have a two-day stubbly beard), I decided to further explore the world of IPAs.
I came home with Southern Tier Brewery’s 2xIPA, from Lakewood, New York. The brewery itself has only been in operation since 2002, as they are a growing brewery, and are in the midst of an expansion project that began a few years ago. If you’re curious, you may find their website here.
Back to the IPA. This is a complex one, like Jagr. It is bitter, with big woody pine hops, but finishes surprisingly sweet. It’s complexity isn’t a surprise. It boasts on the label that it is made with 5 types of hops and brewed with 3 different malts. Its game isn’t subtle in any way, just like Jagr, and it attacks you with its complex layers. BeerAdvocate gives it a 91, and rightfully so. If you enjoy a good IPA, then this is a beer for you.
What happened with Jagr? Well, the rumors receded, things quieted down, and Jagr still hasn’t signed with a team. Half a day after the rumor mill had him on the Habs, Josh Rimer of Sportsnet tweeted that he would not be signing in Montreal. Despite Rimer’s denial, the rumor mill continues to flow today. The way I figure it, as long as Jagr doesn’t sign with one of the Rangers’ biggest rivals, I’ll be happy. Although, I even found a way to forgive him when he signed with the Flyers. He’s a complicated fellow, that Jagr.
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photo credit: somecanuckchick via photopin cc