Sunday, January 18, 2009

Review: Royal Embalming Fluid (Ska)

Soggy Coaster approached this review with some uneasiness: What if Ska's new Snowdown beer sucked? That would put Soggy Coaster in a no-win situation: either sacrifice the goodwill of the fine folks at Ska by criticizing their new beer, or insult readers by praising a beverage tasting of Nile River water.

Happily, Ska made it easy on Soggy Coaster by releasing a genuinely enjoyable lager worthy of his praise.

Royal Embalming Fluid is Ska's 874th release (approximately speaking) for Durango's annual Snowdown festival, an excuse for locals to drink to excess and dress up like idiots before vomiting on the snow and earning a ride to Detox.

To aid this process comes Royal Embalming Fluid, a honey lager brewed with dates and figs, sold in 1 pt., 6 fl. oz. bottles, and also on tap at Ska HQ in Bodo Industrial "Park"(ing lot).

Put simply, this beer is a winner. Ska resisted the temptation to brew a bizarre or overpowering beer. This release gives a nod to Snowdown's Egyptian theme without sacrificing drinkability. The lager is light, so too much of anything would have easily fouled things up. Ska struck the right balance, resulting in a beer neither boring nor off-putting.

The honey is the dominant note. It's not too strong, but it's there. The dates and figs could not be discerned by Soggy Coaster's untrained palate, but no matter.

Royal Embalming Fluid is a Tut-worthy beer for Snowdown. B+

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't as impressed as Soggy Coaster upon first taste. I tried it at the Colin Lake/Alex Weed blues show at the Ska World Headquarters on Jan. 10. It was my first pint that day in a nine-pint frenzy. Let's just say that Royal Embalming Fluid doesn't stack up when sampled alongside Euphoria, ESB, Steel Toe Stout or Buster Nut.

    That's not to say that the Royal doesn't warrant another sample. I bought a bomber to try at a later date, and will most certainly add it to my 12th Falconburgh's beer card next week.

    The thing about the Ska boys is they're not afraid to push the envelope. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes my opinion and taste buds differ from those of President Thibodeau and Grand Master Graham.

    I've heard some folks complain about last year's Snowdown Dopplebock. I loved it.

    The DIFF release is just around the corner and the local series continues to impress - and challenge.

    I'd give the Royal a B-. A-B-C ... it's in the top three, it's still on the medal podium. But in the Battle Royale against Ska's perennial favorites, it's a novel idea but a novelty nonetheless.