This was the second attempt to go to Jimmy’s No. 43 with this particular date. On our previous try they were closing up when we arrived and he joked that I was trying to lure him into an unmarked basement. Fair enough given that Jimmy’s could easily be considered just that. Only difference being that this basement has a solid selection of craft beers and friendly, knowledgeable, and chatty bartenders who aim to please. As any woman on a date would, I came armed with what I already knew I wanted – go big or go home:
Firestone Walker Brewing Company Velvet Merkin: Oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar, chocolate, vanilla, espresso. Smooth, drinkable and well worth the wait.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company Velvet Merlin: Tastes more alcoholic than it is, bitter with a bit of hops, chocolate at the front, much more robust, dry to finish.
What I came to learn after the fact is exactly where each of these names comes from. It seems that Firestone Walker had planned on calling their oatmeal stout “Velvet Merkin.” Following a bit of an outcry over this name since, well, google what a merkin is… or maybe don’t… especially if you’re at work… they changed the name of their standard oatmeal stout to velvet merLin and later released the barrel aged merKin as part of their large format “Reserve Series.”