Saturday, February 24, 2018

Double Trouble

What’s better than a single puzzle box?  Why, a double dose, of course.  And who better that Akio Kamei to provide this double delight.  Over thirty years ago, master Kamei designed the Pentagon box.  Kamei loves to play with conceptual ideas and bring them to reality in his work.  The Pentagon was born from a paradox – what if a box is open when it is closed, and closed when it is open? It’s such a tantalizing idea, but how can it be turned into a real object? How indeed can anything be closed once it is opened?  This is just the type of conundrum that Kamei would marvel at and love to create.  

Double Box by Akio Kamei

He solved the paradox problem by creating a double layered box – a lid for the main box, which can be opened.  Which then locks (closes) the box.  When the lid is closed, in theory, the box inside is unlocked, or “open”.  It’s the ultimate paradox, and by design, Kamei appears to have created an impossible object in the Pentagon box, or at least a box which can never be truly actualized.  It’s like Schrödinger’s cat.  He has more recently revisited this brilliant idea in a new creation, the “Double Box”, which is a simplified version of the Pentagon.  The Double Box is more reserved in appearance, with a basic rectangular form, and an upper section covering a lower.  It has nice contrasting wood stripes across the top.  And true to the original, once you open it, it’s closed.  I think I’ve heard a faint mewing coming from deep inside on occasion, but I can’t be certain.

It's open.  But only while it's closed.

To toast this mischievous marvel I’m taking a bit of poetic license for the potion pairing by using a dopplebock – the doubly strong German lager style beer known for being rich, malty, lightly hopped and associated with goats.  This last bit is a due to a bit of linguistic liberty which evolved from the origins of this beer in 14th century Einbeck Germany.  The Einbeck style was adapted in 17th century Bavaria as a lager, where it was pronounce “ein bock” due to the slightly different Bavarian accent.  An ein bock is a billy goat, and ever since, boch labels have sported the sprightly fellows.  The dopplebock, or double bock, is a stronger version of the traditional boch style, originated by the Franciscan Paulaner Friars to serve as “liquid bread” during times of fasting.

The Bishop's Wife by Howard Stelzer

Here’s a doubly delicious dose of double bock, courtesy of Howard and Ashley Stelzer from their book “Beer Cocktails”.  It combines a rich and almost chocolatey  dopplebock with cherry preserves and rum to create a decadent dessert drink reminiscent of Black Forest Cake.  This is one bock you’ll definitely want to open, even if your other bocks stay closed.  Cheers!

Like a Bavarian Black Forest Cake

The Bishop’s Wife by Howard Stelzer

1 ½ oz dark rum
2 tbsp. black cherry preserves
4 oz chilled dopplebock
quarter lime

Muddle the preserves, lime and rum together and shake with ice.  Strain into a favorite glass and top with the chilled beer.  Garnish with a double lime.

Double Bocks and Booze

For more about Akio Kamei:

For a prior beer cocktail:

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