Beer: The Abyss, Deschutes Brewery
The Abyss is an Imperial Stout that is oak-aged with licorice and molasses. It's released once a year, and when it's gone...it's gone. Each year's Abyss is different than the year before because of the aging.
When it's in season, The Abyss is one of the hardest beers to find. I called around to places in the city, and luckily I found a Market of Choice with a few cases left. Their buyer was really excited that I called because she's a big fan of The Abyss. I picked up two bottles - one to have now and one to age.
I've had probably 4 or 5 bottles of The Abyss before, but none from this year's batch. It's feels great to own such a limited beer and be able to judge the differences over time. Everything else with The Abyss however is consistent over time: the label, the wax covering the cap, the excitement.
The Abyss pours like its name, deep and pitch black. No light escapes. Mine had a creamy, 1-finger, tan head. At this point, it should be obvious to anyone holding the glass that it is a serious beer. Surprisingly, the aroma is rather mellow. The taste is full of chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts and oak. The Abyss also has a high alcohol content, so this one's definitely a sipper. Not only do I recommend it, but it's one of my all-time favorites. I'd love to go taste it from the tap on release day sometime.
I feel like a dark and mysterious beer needs to be paired with some music by a dark and mysterious man. Hmm....how about some Tom Waits? A couple of weeks ago I was driving from Eugene to Portland late at night. I was almost to Portland when traffic got blocked up because of an accident and I sat for an hour. I turned on the radio and heard this song. I've never heard anything like it, but I find it fascinating. That night I heard the studio version, but I'm going to post both that and a live version. Listen to the studio one first, but I recommend watching the live one as well just to get a feel for where that voice comes from.