The weekend of Mole and deflated beer hopes.

What happened this weekend? Let me see. I know Jonesy and I made a big ass giant batch of Mole Poblano. Also I know I had a full keg of fresh IPA, a light IPA, purposefully made for my non crazy beer drinking friends. I know that keg didn’t go as expected, but not in a terribly disastrous way either.

The whole weekend is fuzzy, I had beer with my breakfast twice this weekend, and even let myself believe I was in Mexico for a second at the Mercadito in East LA.

But the Mercado was Saturday, what the hell did I do Friday? Today’s only Sunday, but god damn, what a freaking weekend already. I remember now. We went to Las Cazuelas in Highland park for some Salvadorean food, and $5 pitchers.

I guess that was the real start of the weekend. We had started by inviting everybody out to Downtown that night, but with no takers, and only Lil Danny, Jonesy, and your humble author out on the prowl, we decided to keep it low key, and hit Las Cazuelas, in Highland Park for their awesome Salvi food and selection of central american beers.

After dinner, Danny drove us out to Downtown, and we parked at 6th and Main, walking over to the Premiere and a bottle of Oban waiting in Jones’ apartment. On the way we picked up some beers at CVS, where the Wings tune Band On The Run came on and pretty much got stuck in my head for the whole weekend. In fact I just put the song on now, here at home, to help the story along.

Nothing really eventful happened Friday night, except that Jones and I got in some heated discussion, as is to be expected when you feed the two of us pupusas and whiskey and keep us in close quarters for more than 4 hours. Jones also mentioned he’d be reading For Whom The Bell Tolls soon, and I intend to read it with him, so I could see his reaction to various parts of the book, one of my all time favorites. Probably top 2. In a way I’m sort of forcing him to join a book club, unwillingly. Still, having just finished re-reading A Farewell To Arms, the version I link here with the newly released alternate endings, I decided I’d get myself a nice hardcover of For Whom The Bell Tolls, and join Jonesy as he romps in the Mountains of Spain along with Robert Jordan.  Don’t look up Robert Jordan, if you don’t want a whole ton of spoilers to rain down on your head. My copy of this classic is from the 60’s, and rather beat, so I think I’ll retire it anyway. After much drunken literary discussion, including a brief review of Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” as described by Dr. Jones as having gotten better for the characters. Not so grim, he said, and that, was absolutely hilarious. We made plans for the Mercadito in the morning, and called it a night.

Little Danny took me home, and I passed out immediately. My bedroom temp was somewhere around 50 degrees, so I cranked the space heater and passed out. I woke up at about 8 on Saturday, couldn’t get back to sleep so I called Jones around 10 to let him sleep, showered, picked up the white man and headed to East LA.

Once there, we meandered through the middle floor before heading up to the restaurant. We opened up with the traditional Chips, Salsa, and while Jones had a Sol, I had a Negra Modelo. If you’ve never been to El Mercado De Los Angeles, you need to get out there and dig in to it. Explore it. If you live in Los ANgeles, you have no excuses, as it’s RIGHT off the Metro Gold Line Indiana Station, and very cheap. You can get a great breakfast for under $5 if you’re thrifty, and you can pick up authentic, fresh supplies to make just about anything on a respectable Mexican food menu. I myself picked up a huge paddle for when I stir the mash in a batch of homebrew.

When we ordered breakfast, I had a Chile Verde plate, and Dr. Jones had Enchiladas Poblanas.The mole on his enchiladas inspired us to grab the fixings for a batch of our own mole. At first we contemplated making a roast beef with mole sauce, but after considering how long it would take to slow cook, we decided to keep it traditional and make some mole. We had a chance to taste three or four different kinds, and really made up our mind collectively to take a pound of Mole Poblana, and three whole chicken breasts. The lady who sold me the mole explained how to make it, it was really simple, and this was the cheaters way anyway. We weren’t starting with a pile of dry spices, oils, bread, tortillas and chunky mexi chocolate anyway. We were buying a pound of condensed, rich and smoky Mole paste. Ready for dilution with chicken stock, it was wonderfully dark and smooth, and a pound of it has an earthy musk that is unmistakable. We wrapped up our shopping and headed home.

Once home, we started into the keg of I.P.A. I had carbonating. I pulled a sample, cleared the lines of beer, and then pulled a nice tall pilsner glass full of this light ale. I’ll do a full write up on the beer later, but as for how it came across the palate at this stage, freshly carbonated, it was truly wonderful. This isn’t a beer I would make for myself, probably ever. It’s a light pale ale, hopped heavily, but without being too bitter. More floral, aromatic. It turned out exactly as I had intended, and we were getting into it pretty good. Jonesy commented that it didn’t have any offending flavors, and that it just tasted like “Beer”.

Now you must understand, to me, this sounds like a beer without a hell of a lot of character. This is why I’d never brew it. I like things that are more extreme, more defined and refined. This was a beer I had made purposefully with lighter crystal malt, and a simple one variety hop schedule, but made purposefully to smell like hops more than it tasted like hops.

After about two pitchers worth of beer out of my keg, the unthinkable happened. My CO2 tank had run out of gas, and while the keg was carbonated, I had vented the keg to relive excess pressure, and all my CO2 was gone. The beer stopped flowing, and we couldn’t pour any more.

We went downstairs, made our mole, along with a batch of beans, Jones’ lame white rice, and I made a soup using the carcasses of the chickens, an onion, potato, garlic, chile, cumin, and then strained the whole thing for a clear, flavorful broth. That was really awesome.

That was pretty much the end of our night. I took Jones home, and I went to bed, defeated. I felt bad for Jonesy last night. He didn’t get properly drunk, as he enjoys doing.  Today though, is Sunday. The homebrew supply store opened at ten, and I’m about to go recharge my CO2 tank so I can enjoy some football proper fashion.


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