27. Barley Island – Dirty Helen

Have you ever looked at your upcoming calendar of events and said to yourself, “Man, I don’t want to be here for that.”?

Well, this weekend is one of those situations.

It’s already ramping up now and I’m currently looking for ways to avoid it, but the NATO Summit is rolling into town this weekend.  Everyone seems to have different views on NATO and its implications on the world, but I’m not here to discuss that.  And, in all honesty, I don’t really care.

What I do care about is how this event is going to ruin my day.

Already protesters are being arrested around the city and this thing hasn’t even started yet!  The protesters are out protesting something that isn’t currently happening.  It’s like protesting the air or the sunshine.  The only thing they currently seem to be doing is aggravating residents.  People who may even agree with the protesters’ message (whatever that happens to be, I still can’t really figure it out) are getting aggravated, and they’re not even the targets of the protest.

Local news and organizers for the Summit have suggested that people in Chicago dress down this weekend.  The idea is that if we’re out there in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, the protesters won’t think we’re involved with the Summit (because, obviously, if you wear a suit you’re a NATO delegate) and we won’t get insults or worse (bags of crap) thrown at us.

A nice weekend to wander the city is ruined.  Even the Shedd Aquarium will be closed this weekend.  50 of their staff will be locking themselves inside the aquarium (in case of emergency).  Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?

At this point we’re trying to decide if it’s better for us to stick it out at home or gather up and head out in the traffic to the suburbs.  We’ll see.

This week, I tried the Barley Island Dirty Helen.

Sight:  Brown with a slight reddish hue and a thin white head

Smell:  Lots of grassy hops with light malty sweetness lingering in

Taste:  Sweet malts and biscuits.  There was a light bitter finish that ended kind of watery.

My overall grade:  C+

I expected this brown to have a little more malty character, but it fell a little short.  Not terrible, but not great… hence the C+.  Dirty Helen is named after a tavern owner in Milwaukee.  She tended to curse people out, giving her the nickname for her dirty mouth.  Knowledge!

I wasn’t able to find the 4th beer from the Two Brothers Anniversary, so, I give you Half Acre’s Ginger Twin!

Sight:  Deep red in color and very opaque.  Under the lights it glowed like a hot ember.

Smell:  All hops.  Lots and lots of hops.

Taste:  Big grassy hop flavor.  It kind of punches you in the mouth with hops.  I expected it to immediately fade into a huge bitter finish, but it flowed into a light malty backbone and finished up light and clean.

My overall grade:  A-

Get this beer.  Now.

Well, I better pack my bags and get out of Dodge.

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