Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Beers of Greyhawk

Subject: [GREYTALK] The Beers of Greyhawk (A rerun, but it fits, sorry)
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 11:57:52 EST
From: AOL Keldreth
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List

The Beers of Greyhawk


"So here we were sitting in the the Pub of Vecna, which for Dorakka, is a rather nice establishment. We had just snuck across the front lines of Iuz's forces and were trying to keep as low a profile as possible for a party with three paladins. The priests were able to cloak them, but that night in Dorakka all but blew our cover. Frighteningly enough, the whole incident was caused by a little waif of a magess who had a taste for good beer.

We were actually being served by a waiter who was a Velunian spy attempting to make contact with us. Chispa requested a Rauxian Porter, and was served a Velunian ale, a drink not normally available in Dorakka, but smuggled in small quantity by this spy because Velunian Military Intelligence (namely, Rebecca of the Order of the Spear, our contact with them) knew this would be the best and most subtle way of contacting us. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to tell Chispa. After she flattened the waiter with a push spell she destroyed all of the casks behind the bar with a lightening bolt because this gentleman attempted to pass skunked ale for a Rauxian porter. Fortunately, we all survived to tell this story..."

from The Companions of Chendl by Keldreth Scaramanthelon


Before I discuss the better potables of the Flanness, I must say, in my defense, that Keldreth has a completely skewed view of the situation. First of all, I was not informed that that is how contact would be made. While I realize that doppelganger spies were following us and information was on a need to know basis, my tastebuds would have prefered something more subtle than an ale which does not travel well. Velunian Stone Mead would have been a far better choice in that it does not skunk over time and with heat. In fact it is best served at room temperature. Second of all, Akazon, Regimus and I were tired of sneaking around that pit that doubled for a city, and well, the locals needed to know that we were not a group be trifled with. With that said in my defense, I will go on to describe my favorite brews.

My taste for brews began as child. My mother was a brewer of potions for her magic shop, and on the side made a delightful spiced ale. It was my job to find a rare breed of wild hops that grew near the forests outside of Chendl. My mother taught me the art of roasting barley and the other grains so as to bring out the richest flavors. Then there was the balance of spices she added. Most were local in origin, but there were bark extracts from the Lands of the Tree in the Vesve, and a root which she obtained from a very powerful wizard from Geoff, which he found in an indoor garden in a giant metal cave in the Barrier Peaks. After I entered the Chendl School of Magic, I put both my mother's brewing skills and my excellent tastebuds to good use. Other students were concocting mnemonic enhancers, potions of translucency and warrior strength, dust of color change and other basic potions in order to fulfill our alchemy requirement. I, on the other hand, used the opportunity to perfect my own mead. Granted it was something more useful after examinations than before, but schoolwork was never my trademark during my years at the Chendl School of
Magic. Nevertheless, before I ramble further, here is a small treatise on some
of the finer potables in the Flanness.

Milagra's Spiced Mead - I have to start with my mother's brew. This honeyed drink is quite popular with the magi community in Chendl. It has a pungent nutty aroma and is more sweet than bitter. The bark of bronzewood trees from the Vesve and a rare root from the Barrier Peaks are its main spices, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon also have their role in the flavor. It has an amber color and is a perfect clarity. My mother would spice the mead as it was fermenting and then strain it through the finest Baklunish cloth, under the pressure of an air fundamental generated by my father. While it has only a mild intoxicating effect, it keeps very well and tastes delightful either piping hot, or chilled.

Rauxian Porter - This is my favorite drink. While my dear friend Mirago, now director of the Chendl School of Magic, was finishing his Phantasmagoria Phellowship, the now legendary knight, Regimus and I traveled to Rauxes to obtain the brain of an Ixitachitl for my father's research. We found a tavern called the Desicated Dragon, or something like that and I said to the barmaid, "Barmaid, give me something that is unique to the Great Kingdom," and there we were. This porter is made from a very dark roasted barley. It is not burnt, but actually has a very light feel for a porter of its caliber. Furthermore, it is not too hoppy as that would distract from its taste. It is the drink for one who likes the taste of a dark beer but does want the heavyness associated with it.

Velunian Ale - This pale ale has to be quite possibly the worst ale in the Flanness and if you are EVER in Veluna, do not drink DOMESTIC! We would drink this in Magic School after our examinations as it was the cheapest import around. Well, let me rephrase that, my classmates would drink it. I would bring a cask of my mother's mead to the festivities. This ale is bitter to the point of sourness with hops, and furthermore it tastes as if it were deliberately allowed to go bad. It does, though, have a nice ruddy hue, and if served extremely (read magically) cold, it can be put down if nothing else is available.

Celenian Bocque - This drink is like more of a sherry than a beer, but since it is derived from grain, I bring it up. The elves, who are more of a wine sipping bunch anyway, created this drink from all of the Ulekian Stout that their dwarven compatriots in the war sent to them as a gift for their aid. I tastes like a carmelized sherry, instead of the fruity taste associated with most sherry's, this has something of a smoked, almost scorched taste. But it is very subtle, and delicious. One can get rather intoxicated from this drink, so be cautious...

Ulekian Stout - This is one of the finest beverages in the Flanness. This dark drink is rather creamy and thick. My friend Keldreth once described it as drinking bread, but what does a grey elf know about beer anyway. It balances dark roasted grains with a subtle hoppyness. It has a very thick head and when floated on top of Ulekian Ale, it makes a delicious drink.

Ulekian Ale - This ale has a red hue and is delightfully bitter. While the grains dominate the flavor of the Ulekian Stout, this drink is has two flavors, on is the hops, and the other is a subtle grassy aftertaste which maybe revolting to some, but is in my opinion, the highlight of this drink.

Furyondian Spiced Ale - Another staple during my schooling (is it a wonder that I graduated), this drink is a fine well balanced ale with a host of subtle spices including one reportedly from Aquaria which does not have a taste but causes a tingling on your tongue. It makes this drink both expensive and unique.

Dorakkan Blackened Beer - This drink is notable for the sediment it leaves in the bottom of the glass. It's taste is light and yeasty, but rather hot. The drink has no clarity as it it fermented inside the charred skulls of firegiants and the sediment is suspended within the beverage. But there is something about the combination of grains and spices which make this drink unique and delightful.

Norian Firewater - While this drink is not originally from Nor, my compatriot, Akazon, had too much of this one night while in a drinking contest with a dwarf. This drink is approximately 55% alcohol. It is brewed from scorched wheat and peppercorns (yes peppercorns). While I could not put down the stuff, Aks drank three pints before flinching. Unfortunately, he still lost. But for those of you out for something different, this may be the drink for you.

Chispa's Spring Wheat Beer - OK, this is the one that I made during my training, this drink actually earned me the highest grade in alchemy by my professors. So let the record show that I wasn't completely unappreciated at the School of Magic. Nevertheless, I used a Burning Hands to flash roast the wheat (unfortunately I flash roasted a section of the library in learning the spell). Used a rare species of yeast that my mother received from Dyvers. And a raw hop in order to bring in a slightly bitter grassy taste, much like the Ulekian ale. After fermenting, I added honey, nutmeg and allspice. This drink has a sweet yet grassy taste with a hint of spice. I have a few casks of it in my tower and have shared the recipe with some brewers in Chendl. They still need me to roast the wheat since I actually use a unique coldfire variant to roast them nowadays for an improved, cleaner flavor. If you are in town, look for it.

This is only a brief treatise on the beers of the Flanness, while there are hundreds, perhaps thousands more these have been some that I have encountered in my travels.

Chispa Alicante, the Spellspinner of Chendl

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