Bottoms Up

Stress levels are going through the roof. Seniors. . .well, we don’t need to talk about them, they won’t be around much longer. Juniors are freaking out about the fact that soon we will be seniors. Everyone else: the housing lottery (ok, is the choice between Greylock – construction central – and Agard – mo’ doubles – really worth crying over? Perhaps. . .), snow in April (what the. . .?), the intimidating bouncers at the Pub, the impending visit from your parents (plus hiding your booze stash from them), quickly approaching finals, summer jobs and, of course, the fact that after spring break your motivation for work resembles that of Pauly Shore after eight years of a dying career.

We figured we’d brighten your spirits (Smile! Mommy wants a picture of you. . .quick, move the vodka!) by telling you about some great spirits that we happened upon this week. First, a French Bordeaux hailing from the region of Medoc: Chateau Cardus 1995.

Adam: A very masculine wine.

Steve: But sensitive!

Adam: Like Morty?

Steve: No, like an NFL linebacker.

Both: Who’s gone through Promise Keepers!

Adam: (I rue Promise Keepers.)

The year 1995 was an excellent one, for music at least. That year saw the celebration of such singles as Boyz II Men’s “Water Runs Dry” and Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” (a perennial favorite). And who could forget TLC’s “Waterfalls”? (Does this make you feel old?) It was a great year for Bordeaux wine as well: Wine Spectator rates the vintage an impressive 95, but recommends that purchasers “hold” the wines rather than drink them. We say, “F— that, pop the cork!”

Unfortunately, when we did pop the cork, we were punished for our transgression. The wine erupted from the bottle like a modern day Vesuvius, spraying forth its pungent vengeance. Steve cowered in pain: “Aah, my eye!” Adam laughed, pointed and then began to drink.

When we poured the wine, we couldn’t help but remark on its deep hue, a dark purple that prompted narcissistic reflection. Its bouquet conjured images of smoky board rooms, but some surprising notes – blueberry, cassis and pomegranate (who would dare challenge pomegranate?) – popped through, sort of like a trustee meeting interrupted by the eccentric and titillating artistries of Vito Acconci. Its legs were even and standard, adjectives that proved themselves applicable to most aspects of this wine. The first sip brought strange observations. We’ll repeat them verbatim: Adam remarked, “It’s like an Astropop: a pleasant cherry on the tip, but it’s a slippery, slushy slope ending with your friend making fun of your blue lips and you replying, ‘Hey, Astropops are less fattening than traditional ice cream, fatty.’ (Please, no letters.)

Steve contemplated its mineral aftertaste, finally realizing that, like vegemite, this wine is nutritious (one glass amounts to 20 percent of your daily value of necessary nutrients; drink up!). While not stellar in any single category, there’s certainly nothing unpleasant to be found in Cardus’ 1995 offering. It imparted strong, solid impressions, neither complex nor offending. On a final note, we feel compelled to mention that the wine’s label recommends that this beverage, “served at room temperature, perfectly accompanies white meat.” While the label doesn’t specify, we recommend enjoying this wine with a good hearty slab of the “other white meat:” bacon. After all, according to a prominent Southern billboard, “Time flies when you’re having pork.”

Our next test was of Catamount’s Pale Ale (the label of which reminds all of us to, “Enjoy Vermont”; side note: this beer is brewed in Windsor – you can’t get there from here).

Steve: “I think that this beer is fruity.”

Adam: “And yet rugged.”

Steve: “Like Carhartts being used for club wear.”

Pouring this brew was also an adventuresome endeavor, but, thankfully, this time without the casualties. A maelstrom of bubbles swirled within our pint glasses, giving a hint of the forthcoming energetic vigor contained within this modest bottle. The beer’s color was perplexingly meditative; at once golden and amber, while belying some similarity to urine, it was nevertheless aesthetically gratifying.

Catamount’s Pale Ale reminded us of BBC’s Steel Rail liquid tender. In other (less pretentious) words: this beer is money. Although its floral aroma can be overpowering, its taste is rewarding and compels drinkers to quickly finish their glass (against which we advise: savor!) and ask for another (oh, ok). Most impressively, it lacks the commercial overproducedness (we know that’s not a word, but who do those capitalist jerks at Merriam & Webster think they are to tell us otherwise?) of more mainstream, high quality beers like Sam Adams and Michelob’s Amber Bock.

In a late-breaking development, however, we’ve learned that Catamount has gone belly up, its fine wares no longer available anywhere in Williamstown. It’s sad to see the demise of any alcoholic beverage, but it’s especially upsetting when a brew that could have become a tried and true favorite doesn’t get the chance. Oh, the frustration of wasted potential; we’ll miss you, old buddy.

Bottom’s up for both. Neither possesses particularly virtuoso qualities, but both are fine options. Pick up a bottle of the former from one of the local establishments and throw some bacon on the grill for a fun evening. If you happen to have a few sips of the latter stashed away in your fridge, save them or savor them, but try to hold back the tears. RIP, Catamount.