Evil Twin Yin & Yang
Balance is equal distribution of weight or amount. It’s also mental steadiness or emotional stability. To me balance is what makes a beer great. It’s also what makes a city great. Birmingham is quickly becoming a well-balanced city. The entertainment scene in our city is growing very fast. Sparked by the new ballpark, a fantastic local music presence, and a booming craft beer and food industry, Birmingham is now an awesome place to live. Music and craft beer, as I’ve said before, are what’s directing this town in the right direction. People from all over are going to places that they once feared. Because of the brewery, Avondale is now a hot spot every weekend. Their beautiful venue plays host to not only great beer, but also to fantastic local and regional music. The outdoor bar, paired with the stage, make it an obvious choice when you want to indulge in some good tunes. Homes in the area that were once hard to sell, are now being renovated into what some would call their Dream Home, again because of craft beer. Good People, Railroad Park and Regions Field are bringing visitors into parts of the city that they would have never ventured to before. Beer is what is making our city tick. Cahaba Brewing, Beer Engineers and TrimTab are molding the Ham into something amazing. Organizations like DISCO are educating our inner city, while establishments like Freshfully are making us healthier. No longer carrying the old stigma that it once had, Birmingham is close to achieving total Taiji.
Evil Twin Brewing has little, if nothing to do with Birmingham. That makes the opening paragraph to this column irrelevant yet tangible. The nomad brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø has found his own version of Taiji. Black and Tans are nothing new to the beer scene, people have mixed Ales and Stouts together since the dawn of beer. Jeppe has taken that old, boring concoction and made it fun again. This article is about balance, and how two totally different brews do just that. We are all familiar with the black and white symbol Yin Yang. His beers are called just that.
Let’s start this off with the darker side of things, Yin. As far as Imperial Stouts go, this one is amazing. Black as black can be, with a fantastic tan colored head, this is a typical looking stout. The usual roasted, bitter chocolate aroma is there, but balanced perfectly. (The word “balance” will be used to the extreme in this column.) The scent carries over into the taste as well. Those characteristics are combined with the slight sweetness of caramel, a very light dark fruit vibe, and maybe some vanilla. Boring, this brew is not, the more you drink the more flavors you find. The only things that surprised me about this beer was the body. It’s a little thin compared to most Imperial Stouts, but trust me, that’s ok. This beer does not drink like a 10% brew, however that’s what the label says. While not my favorite Imperial Stout, it’s definitely not far behind. On my industry standard 1 to 10 scale, I give this beer a very solid 8. A little bigger mouthfeel, and I would have given it more. Remember though, Yin is only part of the Yin-Yang.
Whatever Yin was, Yang is the opposite. Yang and Yin, off and on, hot and cold, you get the picture. Yang is an Imperial IPA, but not like most Imperial/Double IPAs we’re used to here in Birmingham. The appearance of the brew was not as contradictory to the stout as you would think, a cloudy copper color with a suitable white head that lingers nicely. While the Yin was as black as the label, Yang’s appearance has a lot more going on than its label’s color. The overwhelming hop aroma that’s found in many double IPAs wasn’t there in this one. Again, “balance” is what comes to mind. Hops and malts are what comprise the nose of the brew. Just like it’s brother, the taste of Yang is very similar to its scent. Light citrus, a little honey sweetness, and a nice malt backbone make this an easy beer to drink. Again, like its counterpart, this beer is 10%, and way too easy to drink. Yang is definitely not the typical Imperial IPA, more malty than most. On that same scale that you are all familiar with, this beer gets the same overall score as Yin, an 8. Remember though, Yang is only part of the Yin-Yang.
Balance is achieved to the fullest when the two beers are combined. Pre mixed Yin and Yang is available if you’re the lazy type, I’m not. I picked up a four pack of each from Hop City, and that turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. As good as the beers are separately from one another, poured together in the same glass, brings them to a whole new level. Every flavor that is found in Yin, mingles perfectly with the ones in Yang. The taste starts out like a Stout, with a nice roasted chocolate flavor, and finishes with the hops of a nice Pale Ale. Nothing is too strong or too weak, just great. Even though I gave each beer an 8 out of 10, together they are better. 9.5 out of 10, and it’s all because of balance.
Balance is what makes a great city, it’s also what makes a good musical act. The Bodega Brovas are just that. Three guys from various parts of the country who got together and started making music. Travii the White dude from Chicago, HeadKrack the Black dude from the Bronx/Atlanta, and KeyNote the Latino dude from Dallas make up the Hip Hop crew. Just like Yin-Yang, they are comprised of more than just one style. Not just the colors of their skin, the Bodega Brovas are Hip Hop balance. The three emcees bring their own flavor while mixing together like a well done Black and Tan. Our city recently had the pleasure of hearing their music at Secret Stages. The Brovas had Matthew’s Bar and Grill bouncing! Something not seen in Birmingham back in the day, was the crowd of Black and White people having a great time together. Race, just like in the group, was not an issue. Balance is equal, Birmingham is balanced. Maybe it was because The Bodega Brovas did a sweet freestyle that included some lines about my son, or maybe it’s because I really like their song "Getting It ”, but they are quickly becoming one of my favorite Rap groups. Birmingham’s doing more than Getting It, We Got It!