Joe Sixpack: Picture this - the beer of your dreams
I JUST RECEIVED the latest addition to my substantial beer porn collection.
It's another grand book filled with seductive color photographs of luscious lagers, creamy ales and tempting Trappist triples, just begging to be sipped, and sipped again.
If you're in love with beer, your shelves undoubtedly have a few of these well-thumbed tomes, with titles like "Michael Jackson's Great Beer Guide" or "The World's Best Beers" or - sounding generically, like one of those campy junior high sex education texts - "The Beer Book."
You page through them slowly, admiring the perfectly posed bottles, topless with their contents gushing into shapely glasses.
Your pulse quickens upon looking at a Schell Pilsner, its bubbles racing upward, ready to burst in a shameless fit of unrestrained passion.
A pint of Sinebrychoff Porter from Finland is dark and forbidden; go ahead, you know you want to.
Or maybe you're into a firm goblet of New Belgium Mothership Wit; watch out, she's more than a mouthful.
Oh, and don't even get me started on the billowing foam of a Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse.
The latest collection is "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die" (Universe: $36.95), with 960 pages of unrelenting beeroticism.
Under normal circumstances, I would've ripped through this book like a beaver with a chain saw, furiously lusting over old favorites, thirsting for tart, unspoiled pleasures.
But the thing is, I actually wrote part of this book - about 50 reviews out of those many beers. And let me just say as both a lover and voyeur: It's impossible to be gratified by reading your own beer porn, no matter how prurient.
Nonetheless, allow me to direct your attention to the back of this book, to the section on what we'll call the "specialty" attractions. These are beers for those who are no longer satisfied by the usual malt, hops and yeast. They're for those with, shall we say, peculiar interests.
Here, the reader - whether twisted or just curious - is exposed to all sorts of strange ingredients, deviant brewing styles and freakish fermentations.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Here's an uncensored taste:
Biere Cognac (Brasserie de Bercloux, France): The brewer boils wort (the malty liquid that becomes beer) in a cognac still, then matures the beer with the addition of 6-year-old cognac.
Bastarda Doppia (Birrificio Amiata, Italy): A strong ale made with locally grown chestnuts. It sounds perverted, but brewing with chestnuts is an old tradition among Italians.
Elišcino Královské 13° (Pivovar Rambousek, Czech Republic): The brewer takes the chestnut tradition one step further and sweetens this lager with chestnut blossom honey from Slovenia.
Goedecke's Döllnitzer Ritterguts Gose (Brauhaus Hartmannsdorf, Germany): A sour ale made with wheat and barley, and spiced with coriander and salt.
iJuba Special (United National Breweries, South Africa): A sorghum beer that is consumed while it's still fermenting, packaged in paper cartons and plastic jugs with holes punched in the lids to allow foam to gurgle out. Contributor Chris O'Brien writes that, to attract younger drinkers, the brewery is now packaging Nini-Nanini, a similar beer flavored with banana or pineapple.
Nagoya Red Miso Lager (Kinshachi Beer, Japan): A dark lager made with miso, which is fermented soybean paste. Miso is said to contribute an "interesting" body to the beer.
La Mummia (Birrificio Montegioco, Italy): It gets its name from a long maturation process in which the beer is aged in a wooden sarcophagus, like a mummy.
Historisches Emmer Bier (Riedenburger Brauhaus, Germany): Searching for a more environmentally friendly grain, the brewers settled on a wheat variety known as emmer, grown at a nearby monastery. It's said to be "remarkably creamy" with a "full, fruity body."