Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Royal Loggers

"Everyone to the Palace!"

And so it was that the merry revelers sallied forth to yon Palace for much mirth and festivity.

No, you have not just stumbled on to some weird fairy tale blog. That's actually what happened a few nights ago after my friend successfully passed his 1st kyu test in aikido. On a technical scale, the test was darn-near perfect. Well, on all other scales, it was darn-near perfect, too. There was extra high praise for the paired weapons demos involving none other than yours truly.

Test participants and audience members all made their way to The Palace for some late-night drinks, appetizers, and general good times. If I ever join the military, I want to be in HIS platoon.

Now, The Palace is probably the third restaurant Zach and I have been to in Durango. We're often a.) too frugal to eat out, b.) too busy, or c.) too pragmatic to go anywhere other than one or another favorite suds-sippin or food-munchin' spot (like Steamworks or Home Slice). d) We make some rockin' food ourselves, and e) we know how to cook it without inducing nasty crease-crinklers afterwards.

The Palace was not as palatial as the name suggested. It looked more like a good-time saloon, with dark wood paneling, stained glass hanging lamp shades, and sturdy, basic chairs and tables. But the juxtaposition of name and setting did not prevent the ensuing hootenanny!

Along with a shared plate of gnocci (no-chi? no-ki? nyo-gki?), Zach and I asked to hear a rundown of the local beers on tap. The waitress responded: Ska. We're not trying to curry favor with only the one brewer, honest. The Palace simply didn't have any other local choices. Not that we're complaining. We are NOT complaining. Ska's beers are yummerlicious! Remaining your staunch artisan advocates (avid craftbeer "sipporters"), we both went for a pint of seasonal Mexican Logger.

Yes, you read that right. Logger instead of lager. It had to be the cleverest pun I had ever seen. That's saying something because I'm a devoted pun-master who had never once made that whimsical, linguistical flip. Liar. We came up with at least a dozen better puns that night we stayed up, punning all fifty state names.

We toasted (and roasted) the successful, new 1st kyu seated at the head of the table, and then we took our first slurps of the logger lager. My tongue's first thought was: bashful beer, but then as the liquid spread through my mouth, I got a big yummy dose of lager toasty nuttiness.

This beer reminded me that Mexican-style lagers really are the children of European-style pilsners. Tingly and zingy, with rich yeastiness. A whiff of nuttiness on the exhale. I have to agree with Jenny that the taste here is a bit timid up front. The rest of the Logger experience makes you quickly view that first encounter with friendly remembrance, though. This is a quality summer brew. Inferior beers require a lime to add some pizzazz, but this one? Not so much. It's become my crusade to teach local waitstaff and barkeeps to ditch the fruit.

In the end, Zach and I wound up giving the Mexican Logger a five-chain, top rating! Sure, we risk looking like a couple of kiss-axes, always praising Ska. But can we help it if those west slope brewers "saw" the right way to craft the perfect summer sipper? Caution: reader should wear protective eyewear. Such sharp wit may become dislodged and sent airborne!

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