Monday, 14 December 2009

The Lexicon Of Beer 1: Spooge Beer

This is sort of a response to a recent thread on 'extreme' beer offered up by The Boy Dredge. It sort of petered out, but it got me thinking about the lexicon of beer. This was emphasised while watching the 'Beerticker' film made by Phil Parkin, with its talk of 'scooping' and 'cellar runs'.

So: SPOOGE. I offer a definition from the Urban Dictionary which most accurately sums up what I think it means, although this definition is easily interchangeable with the more earthy definition making up the rest of the entry.

spooge
1. n. Male ejaculate; [cum]
2. v. To ejaculate; [cum]
3. v. To become intensely excited about something.
Of course, my definition is number 3 on the above list.

So, what is it? Simply, it's rare or otherwise hard-to-find beer, thoughts of procurement of which send the eager drinker into paroxysms of beer rapture. I offer this anecdote as illumination.

A London-based beer enthusiast might have been in New York City this summer, and may have had cause to visit one of the well-beloved beer establishments in Brooklyn. Upon entering this establishment, he will have met your correspondent. Once pleasantries had been exchanged (I recall my words were along the lines of "what the fuck are YOU doing here!?"), the eager tourist might have made enquiries about the availability of a very hard-to-find beer that was produced and bottled for the bar in 2005. Turning up empty-handed, the party may have departed for another fine beer establishment in the neighbourhood.

Move ahead to late Autumn, and your correspondent is to meet friends from the SE United States. They are bringing some spooge beer of their own, and I mean to reciprocate with something nice from my stash. I discuss this with the management of The Rake, since one of the many reasons why I love the place is a willingness to permit bottles to be brought in. A taste of the beer in question is the usual fee.

The assistant manager of the establishment might be a so-called 'Ratebeerian', and in the course of discussing which beers I'd contribute, I impart the information that I might have a bottle of the beer which was the object of the fruitless search in New York, which might go down well. A grown man suddenly takes on the demeanour of a wee boy woken by Santa on Xmas morn. His eyes widen in wonder at the possibility of tasting this rare nectar, and he enthusiastically presses your writer to bring this beer, telling me he means to contact the erstwhile tourist and tell him of his luck. The circle closes. End anecdote.

Spooge beer has become a tiny but disproportionately important niche of the US craft beer market. Some breweries have special launch days, notably Three Floyds, who have an annual 'Dark Lord Day' when the Munster, IN brewery is besieged by a mob resembling the shoppers queueing for the first day of Selfridges' sale. All of these people are craft beer fans determined to buy up some of the breweries' Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, which is sold just on that day. Each vintage is in a crown and corked bottle sealed with wax - a different colour wax for each vintage. Much of this beer will not be drunk by the buyer, but will be traded. It has been common in the past couple of years for beer fans who can't get to the event, to pay for others to act as 'mules' in the same way as innocent tourists sometimes wind up transporting drugs through ports.

Is this good for beer? Should breweries be feeding this hype? Does the beer stand up to the hype? That's another post or two.

So, I give you: SPOOGE.

In case you were wondering about the stars of my anecdote, step forward Duff Wallace as The Tourist, Tom Cadden as The Assistant Manager and bottle no. 139 (out of 168) of Cantillon Spuyten Duyvil, a superb blended lambic with cranberries. If you've ever tried Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic, that's wretched cold fruit tea compared to this sublime beer.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Now that's a new word to me! Nice concept though. Personally, I like the hype which some beers carry. Dark Lord Day is a real feat of marketing. So long as the beer is genuinely good then it's ok. I do worry that when tasting these beers, the hyped ones taste of the hype and this makes it all taste a bit better overall... but part of the fun is knowing you a drinking one of these beers.