Scholars tell us the New Testament was written in classical Greek, while the Old Testament was predominantly written in a Hebrew language so ancient the alphabet originally contained no vowels. A few chapters of the Old Testament were written in Aramaic. Because Greek was viewed as the language of the scholars, the Old Testament was translated into that language beginning around 300 BC, and eventually, into 2300 other languages.
It makes one wonder how the word Armageddon came about. Certainly, it was not the original word used in the text of the New Testament, but became a word so powerful it has overflowed from its role in religious circles to touch the imagination of Rock Stars, Marvel Comics, World Wrestling Entertainment, and novelists Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Beer mavens love the word too, stoking the fires with such beers as Dragonmead Armageddon Grand Cru, a Quadrupel crafted in Warren, Michigan, USA with a final ABV of 11.0% and Epic Armageddon, an American IPA made by Epic Brewing Company in Auckland, New Zealand.
Brewers, being an enormously creative bunch, love to play with the word and give it expanded meaning, riddled with complexity. Ale Asylum in Madison, Wisconsin, USA let artistry flow, and came up with Ambergeddon, an American Amber / Red Ale with 6.8% ABV. This wild child shows off its tangerine body through an unfiltered fog, while giving way to a huge cloud-cap of off-white cream. The nose is resplendent with grapefruit, oranges drenched in candy sugar, and the floral erotica of a Japanese rose garden leading to a holistic onsen. On the palate, caramel meets the tip of the tongue, then opens up to dried apricots and citrus fruits, pine resin and heated spiciness.
While your mind drifts into the lightning storm of the last world, satiate your tongue with other beers of equal magnitude. Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe Ale of Central Waters Brewing Company, Amherst, Wisconsin, USA arrives as an American Barleywine with 10.0% ABV. Unsettling predictions of the new millennium became so widespread in 1999 that Y2K survival kits were sought after as protection against misdirected hellfire. Kosmyk Charlie, with his electric ruby, yeast-like haziness, provides just such a calming security for survivalists everywhere. The frothy head and drooping lace reigns-in tender aromas of fruit, earth, wood, hot bourbon, caramel, toffee, and citrusy hops. Creamy in the mouth, the caramel-like graininess pools on the tongue, with orange, pineapple, grapefruit, and pine notes hitting over and over again. A bitter, rough edge grows with intensity, before collapsing in a puff, like an invisible cloud of cool mint. If you find pleasure in cellaring fine beers, this would be the one to save for that remarkable occasion.
No catastrophe could be complete without a vacuum sucking you into a maelstrom, and Vortex I, crafted by Pisgah Brewing Company of Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA has the strength – at 10.8% ABV – to command the forces of nature. This American Strong Ale gleams with a golden-apricot base, a massive, sand-tinted head and sheets of thickened lace. Pine, citrus, and caramel do a calypso in the air. Assertive caramel lays in the backbone like stone pillars, as the pine and citrus nose blends together on the swallow. Certified organic, the high drinkability makes this a dangerous drink with alluring powers.
You might think Odell Cutthroat Porter by Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA was inspired by the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Cast your untamed imagination aside as this thick, rich throat-stroker drenches the palate with dark, dried plums, midnight fudge cake, and roasted espresso. This American Porter at a lowly 5.0% ABV emerges as a tribute to the threatened state mascot of Colorado, the Cutthroat, an endangered fish with its own dark coloring. Cutthroat Porter, with a deep ebony body, cocoa head, and spattering of sticky patterns on the glass, settles with a roasty dry bitterness and lingering shadows of semi-sweet chocolate.
What would a list be without a champion beer with a crazy name? Ten FIDY, by Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery, Lyons, Colorado, USA has won such honors as being named on MAXIM Magazine’s list of the Top 25 American Beers, and as a Gold medalist in the 2010 World Beer Championships, held by the Beverage Tasting Institute. Although it sounds like urban slang, Ten FIDY, got its name from the 10.5% alcohol the lies waiting to attack, as is the traditional role of Imperial Stouts that were made for the long Baltic journeys to Czarist courts in Russia.
Poured into a glass from the air-tight can that protects this magnificent brew, Ten FIDY reflects like a black, slickery swath of oil, with a deep crown of brown mousse that settles oh-so-slowly. A Herculean punch of roasty coffee, blue spruce, and unsweetened chocolate fills the abyss within your nostrils. Blasts of bittersweet chocolate continue to drive in waves across the tongue, along with coffee beans, licorice, tobacco, treacle, sweet molasses, and a touch of grapefruit. The velvety mouthfeel finishes with a quick, dry edge. Crafted with two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops, the complex grain bill creates layers of flavor for the most sophisticated palate.
Photo is of Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Russian Imperial Stout (Photo courtesy of Oskar Blues