I apologize for taking so long to finally post notes on Rockmill’s cask aged tripel effort. It has been well over a year since I actually drank my first bottle. My bottle came to me via my old university chum Gerald who visits Rockmill, in the flesh, a couple of times each year. The bottle was actually given me by the proprietors of this Has No Earthly Reason To Exist Where It Does business in southeast Ohio. I thank them not only for their kindness but for the fact that in 2+ years in the blogosphere this still remains the only tangible thing I have to show for it. This one fucking bottle of beer. Obviously I’m spending my time wisely. But oh what a bottle it was. This was easily–and mind you I’ve had a year plus of drinking (hard) since this tasting so am no longer in danger of being a prisoner of the moment–one of the best beers I’ve ever drunk. Rockmill’s tripel, on its own, is a gorgeous offering and in my humble but totally correct and unassailable opinion one of the best tripels you will find. And I include the style’s country of origin as comparison. It also has a great back story. The casks this tripel ages in are from another Ohio business within the locavore movement, Middle West Spirits located in the Short North neighborhood on downtown Columbus’s north side. For full, accurate and non-sophmoric reporting on Middle West Spirits please refer to my friend Nicole’s blog A Local Choice. As previously stated by me, if you live in or near central Ohio and are in any way concerned about the shit you put into your body, you should be reading her blog. I’ve explained this before, but I fail to mention Nicole’s full name because a Google search yielding a hit on this website could be damaging to her future earning potential. But read her fuckin’ blog already. So in summation I drank a full bottle of Rockmill Cask Aged Tripel, by myself. I didn’t let the double-digit ABV stand in my way either, like a real fucking man. To be honest it is a significant challenge trying to intimate the flavors and smells which permeate this beer in writing. Below is as close as I was able to get.
Your friend from college, Jordan, his family is wealthy. And not some flashy, trashy, obnoxious and tacky sort of new money wealth either, but rather old timey money. His grandpa golfs at a club that still doesn’t allow blacks or women. They hate catholics more than jews. Everything was going swimmingly, in their opinion, until that rebel-rouser LBJ came in and muscled through the Civil Rights Act. Their holidays consist of a ton of tartan plaid woolens and roaring fires, with plenty of aged bourbon and scotch. They don’t understand why other republicans are so bent out of shape about entitlements because the wrought iron fences and Dobermans keep those sorts of people away from the property. His father has some bullshit job as manager of the properties portfolio, whatever the fuck that means, and is unapologetically banging his secretary. His mother is pickled on Manhattans by 2pm each day and she in her own turn is being ravaged by Quintana the pool boy. Jordan played lacrosse, drives a 5-series BMW and has a trust fund which to this point in your college career has been utilized mostly for purchases of Bolivian marching dust. But really none of this matters because Jordan, above all else, has an older sister named Brianna. Brianna graduated from Mount Holyoke College and just got her JD from Georgetown. She is studying for the Bar and interns for a local judge who is on a very short list for the next federal circuit appointment. She is a beautiful brunette, in the classic tradition. She shows just enough and never too much–more a hint than an announcement. She drives a Volvo but chose a black one because red was too showy, and that isn’t her style. She can win any argument but chooses to let the intoxicated men in her family make asses of themselves at the Thanksgiving table without any help from her. She wears glasses sometimes but not because she has to–only because she can. Brianna did not play sports because sweating is beneath her. She wears riding pants, often while not even riding a horse. She volunteers at a homeless shelter and thinks the lawn jockeys her father keeps in his library are disgusting. She smells of lilac and success. You lusted over her during siblings weekends at college. She never stayed at the fraternity house but rather the University Inn because such places are beneath her. You gazed at her longingly yet forlornly because your broke, busted ass comes from shit, you look like shit, and more than likely you smell like shit. But when she got out of her Volvo that one time in a skirt for a brilliant, sparkling moment you saw space where thighs normally touch. Your heart raced and you thanked whoever it is you pray to for your sobriety then, because that glimpse occupied the #1 spot in your spank bank for many, many moons. She treated you like the country bumpkin you are but in a most dignified, patronizing manner that left you, in your intoxicated moments, believing that one day if you played your cards right, cleaned yourself up, and made all the right moves after graduation, you might be at her side during the yacht club Christmas party, holding up one of those oversized checks with tons of zeroes on it which was being generously donated to the local Boys and Girls Club. You took a job after graduation as a low-level associate at one of her family’s subsidiary companies not because you know anything about real estate, care about real estate, or even want to ever be in the same room with anyone talking about real estate. You took the job because it put you, although on the periphery, in Brianna’s sphere of excellence. You work for days at a time to develop the perfect joke to use the next time you see her. You get to listen to her bitch so eloquently about the sleaze bag judge she’s interning for. Sure, maybe even a couple of times you’ve sniffed the chair she just vacated. And at the parent company Christmas party (Her family is drawing a line in the sand on the Christmas party. It is fucking Christmas goddamnit, not Holiday. Christ didn’t die on the fucking cross so it could be called a Holiday party. Fucking Liberal chickenshits) she told you her deepest, darkest secret. The secret that she tells almost no one, not even her family. She loves to fuck. Not only does she love to fuck, but she’s dirty. Low-down pig butt nasty. She installed sound insulation walls in her bedroom on the sly to contain the screams. She has a drawer full of toys you’ve only read about. She likes it up, down, around, and most especially with 4 on the floor. Spit, sweat, slaps, hair pulls, videos, simulated violence, role-playing, just pure unadulterated filth. Sure, your asshole is sore some days, but you LOVE IT. You wouldn’t have it any other way. And when you told her you would tell no one about it, you were actually telling a woman the truth for once in your pathetic life. Why she’s chosen you is for her psychologist to figure out. Is it because this part of her life makes her feel dirty and she’d prefer to act it out with someone she deems beneath her intellectually and socially? Probably. But that isn’t your fucking problem. You are going to sit back and enjoy the ride (pun intended). And if she asks you to show up to a dumpster behind a strip mall in an ethnic neighborhood wearing lederhosen with your cock painted blue, you’ll be there 5 minutes early.
And this, in a nutshell, is Rockmill Cask Aged Tripel. It is a beautiful, elegant and intelligent tripel in the classical fashion, but with a racy, sexy, wild side. The whiskey flavor from the cask aging is a whisper, a kiss, all subtlety and nuance. It isn’t overpowering and grotesque like that abomination Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale that is all ATVs and speedboats with huge pecs and Oakley sunglasses. It dances on your palette on the back-end of a pull. I made the mistake of reading a couple of reviews on Beer Advocate where a few people called it over-powering or unbalanced. I don’t know what these nerds are talking about but occasionally they need to put on some fucking pants and leave their mom’s basement. Needless to say another superb effort from the crew at Rockmill.
Addendum: I’ve since had another bottle of the Cask Aged Tripel, this time shared in May with the aforementioned Gerald. I’m not sure that drinking a whiskey barrel aged beer in the back yard on a cloudless, 85 degree day is the best idea. But Gerald and I are not known for our decision-making acumen, to which his wife can probably attest. We excel at domination, regardless the soundness of choice which led us there. The beer was just as good in the sun as it was in the gloom–but definitely more appropriate in the winter.