I gotta say, my first reaction to the Michael Jackson news was “who gives a shit.”

But after a couple hours went by, and the more I thought about it, I had an uncharacteristic reaction to the whole thing. I actually got a bit sentimental. As weird as he was in his later years, and as much as I think the guy really did have some inappropriate relationships with children, I couldn’t help but remember back to me as a six-year-old…the Mini Captain. It was 1983, and I was down in our basement family room with my parents, anxiously waiting for the debut of Michael’s new video “Thriller.” My mom was a huge Michael fan, more than anything, and despite her love for the Gloved One she vehemently argued with my dad that it might be too scary for a young guy like me. My dad retorted back that it was just a silly video, just a bunch of stupid make-up and goofy dance moves.

My dad must have won out, as the lights dimmed and the short film popped up on the screen of our console television. I hid behind the couch for most of the video, scared out of my mind as the zombies curiously danced about, flinching as Michael appeared on the screen with sunken eyes and rotting flesh. It was one of those childhood memories that sticks with you, as it was such an iconic, shared moment in time across our culture. I’m a huge horror movie fan, but to this day, that video, as benign as it is compared to today’s standards, still gives me the chills. Maybe the news today snuck up and hit me the way it did because my mom, who died several years ago, always loved his music. Kind of the second passing of something that I held close. I don’t know. But either way, the world will surely mourn his loss for some time to come.     

Sigh. So back to the beer.

My buddy Aaron at the Vice Blog kindly shipped this one out to me, Aventinus Doppelbock from Schneider & Sohns. I’ve never run across it here in the Twin Cities (if anyone knows where it is around here, please, do tell). Aventinus is a weizen starkbier, translated from German “strong wheat beer,” or more commonly known as a doppelbock.

Beautiful pour into a slender pilsner glass, giving way to a rich ruby brown coloring. Fabulous head retention. Aroma of soft, ripe bananas and cloves. Very perfumey and light with some pleasant phenols in the background. Some yeast also present. The taste is mildly sweet up front, segueing into a lingering bite in the middle. Spicy, bready and a bit toasty. Nice carbonation throughout, prickly and refreshing. Nice mouthfeel. There’s really nothing about this that I don’t enjoy.

I’m not generally a big fan of wheat-style beers, but this one changes my mind in a big way. Clocks in at 8.2% ABV, and let me tell you, it’s dangerously…no, criminally drinkable. You’d think wheat would be too weak to mask that kind of heft in a beer, but Schneider & Sohn found a way to do it.

Makes me want to do the moonwalk.

Rating: A+