Friday, December 30, 2011

New Beers Resolutions - 2011

Instead of putting out my beer & blog related resolutions this year, I thought I'd just take a moment to reflect on some favorite beer related things that went down in 2011. Maybe I'll get to the resolutions later, although I prefer to only make empty promises to myself instead of the public at large.

This New Years Eve I find myself rocking a night alone at home, sporting a party dress (with sweatpants underneath for warmth and fashion reasons, obviously) and enjoying some beers that I feel represent (in one way or another) the theme of my night.

First round tonight is the Ridgeway Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout. Not only is this beer super delicious but the description alone would pique anyone's interest:

"Yet another bummed-out holiday? Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout is liquid consolation. It's a deep, rich, sweetly rewarding stout to take the edge off of that grim family gathering, that cheerless annual festival of alienation. This brew is as dark as it gets, as black as the lump of coal you'll be getting for Christmas. Because, let's face it, you've been pretty bad this year."

It's got a sweet, spicy nose to it and I think they really nailed the taste. This is honestly one of the best stouts I've had, I wish it was available all year round (Christmas in July anyone?). Lots of complex flavors with a medium body, it's very intriguing but highly sessionable as well. As much as an 8% ABV beer can be anyways. Had a strong lingering mouth feel that isn't overly bitter. We still have one left in the fridge masquerading as a Reinbeer but that one has MGD's name written all over it. Picked up an extra bottle at World Beers, especially for tonight.

And now for a few 2011 bests & faves...

Best Beer Related Swag (won, bought or found)
-New Belgium Fat Tire Patagonia laptop/messenger bag (won at Parkway's New Belgium Brewers night)
-Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project "Stay Pretty and Drink Real Beer" T-shirt
-Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Growlers from Bitter Root Brewing Company. These things are awesome, we have 2 at home in different sizes. Advertised as keeping stuff hot for 12 hours and keeping it cold for 24... not a lie. These are ahhhhhmazing for collecting beer when traveling.
-Sweatshirt from Local Option in Chicago, IL. It's got a giant embroidered skull on the back. Was a mid-trip pressie from MGD and I wear it anywhere without people commenting on it.

Best Homebrews (from Beer Shares)
-Morgan Alexander's very own Pliny the Elder replica brew: Pliny Killer. Should be up to version 8 by now, delicious as ever. He basically nailed it and some even prefer it to Pliny...
-Matt Lacroix's Cranberry Beer (still holds a special place in my heart and mouthhole)

 Best New Brewery Experiences*
-Three Floyds (Munster, IN)
*There were loads of new breweries I visited in 2011. Yet after I put Three Floyds on the list, I had a very hard time putting anything else up with it. I typed & deleted several times when I finally decided that Three Floyds stands alone as the best brewery experience I had in 2011. There were many other amazing ones, but nothing compared to and at the level of Three Floyds. We went 3 times in 2 days. It was absolutely phenomenal.

Finally finished up my moment with the Lump of Coal Stout and have moved on to a lighter beer, although it's similarly strong (7.7%): Southern Tier's Old Man Winter Ale. It's bitterness doesn't linger in the end and the hoppiness is both fragrant and refreshing. It tastes... bright. That's the best way I can describe it. Plus it's one of the most well bodied IPAs that I've ever tasted. The Southern Tier Old Man is currently standing in for my favorite old man (due to obvious similarities) on this New Years Eve, since MGD is currently outta town. I only call him old (you can't though and because he's really not) because of our age difference, it gives me happies.

 While I was searching for an Old Man pic I stumbled across what can only be described as heavenly mouth deliciousness that is SO the future of my bottle of Southern Tier Creme Brulee.

More favorites...

Best Festivals
-Strange Brewfest (crazy weird beers and a weekend full of revelry)
-Tacoma Craft Beer Fest (gorgeous day, beer a flowin', amazing friends... ultimate experience that still brings a smile to my face)
- WBC Brewers Fest (keg tosses, mini-golf putting for holidays and super-success for Wingman Brewers)

Best Beer Related Moments
-TCBF Lady Fwends: A group of gals came up to ask if I was the pissed liBEERian and then proceeded to tell me what big fans they were of the blog. I loved meeting them all and was beyond flattered at everything they had to say. They made my entire day/week/year/everything. It was a total 'moment' that I won't forget and feel blessed to meet and hang out with some truly great people.
-Bootlegger House Party: MGD's cross country trip resulted in some awesome beers arriving at our house upon his return. We threw a bootlegger party for some friends so everyone could try some brews you can't normally get in these here parts. We had fire, food, beer, good friends and sunshine. Couldn't be a better day and was followed up by a dip in the lake!

Just popped open some bubbly to get ready to be ringing in 2012. Had to start early because I have a big bottle all to myself. By bubbly I am referring to the  Weihenstephaner/Sam Adams Infinium Ale that came in a big ole gorgeous bottle. This may very well be an instance where I judged a beer by it's bottle, which is absolutely gorgeous. It reminds me of some Victorian Circus font or something. Love love love.

If I had bothered to do my research about this being a Belgian Strong Ale, I probably would have opted for opening some cellar beer or another to celebrate the occasion instead of throwing down about $23 for this guy. The aroma is heavy on the sweet and syrupy side and then counteracted by the finish which was a bit barnyardy & had a heavy yeast flavor. I'm having a kind of 'meh' feeling over it which is only exacerbated when I glance over and see how much of the beer is left. I had hoped to like it a bit more after it warmed, but no dice.

It is fairly champagney and I think those who like Belgian Strong Ales may enjoy this brew. I just need to try and remember next year that I really don't like champagne all that much unless it's in a glass with OJ. It's times like these where it's important to keep in mind that this is what trying new beers is all about, ya love some and others ya don't. Regardless, I'm happy I tried it.


-52 books with 52 beers in 52 weeks: That pretty much says it all. A spin-off of a friend's 2012 challenge with beer included. Will work on reading/reviewing a book and then pair it with a beer every week. Plus it makes the whole 'liBEERian' thing all relevant like.
-Directions: Have toyed with the idea of dropping the blog off and on over the last 6mths, for a variety of reasons. I am hoping to figure out what I want this blog to be, nail down some consistency and timelines and try to make that happen. Having this blog should create mostly fun, not stress.
-Beer: Well I certainly drink enough of it and I'd like to work on becoming more educated. About different characteristics of beers, the process, everything. I hope the 52/52/52 thing will help get me started on reviewing beers and maybe 2012 will lead to an adventure in home brewing.

Goodbye 2011 and thank you for the fun ride!
Hello 2012 and all the promise you hold!
Grabbing the essentials, a trusty minon and I'm off!

the pissed liBEERian

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Tidings of 2011

I'm a Christmas lover from way back (most likely starting the year I got my Barbie Dream House, circa 1992)  but holy hangy Christmas balls am I glad it's over this year. Back to the daily grind and playing with (read: drinking) all the new pressies that are littering the house.

Beer Santa was good to us this year, the good to bad behavior ratio during the last 12 months must have been in our favor. Would love to hear about all the exciting beers and brew related presents he left under your tree but in the meantime here's what he brought us...

-Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest book by Lisa Morrison (signed copy!)
-Pickled Santa English Christmas Ale
-Big Chouffe Collector's Edition Anno 2010
-Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout (x2, obviously MGD & I have the same notions when it comes to beer giving)
-Cherish Kriek
-Warm Welcome Nut Brown Ale
-Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Gift Pack & Dogfish Head 120min/Olde School Barleywine Gift Pack (Santa delivered these a couple of weeks early, which is always appreciated) 
-Captain America pint glass
-Beer Mug & Bottle salt and pepper shakers
-Santa Butt Winter Porter
-Corsendonk Christmas Ale
-HUB Noggin Floggin Barleywine
-Beer Fridge (a gift that so perfectly toes the line between awesome and practical)
-La Citrueille Cèleste de Citracado (Bruery/Elysian/Stone collaboration brew with pumpkin, yams, fenugreek lemon verbena and birch bark... x3. Not sure how that happened so hopefully it's good)
-Candy Cigarettes (only beer related because, well, for no reason but can you believe they still exist???!!!)

Salt & Pepper Shakers (effing adorable)

 Representational Beer Fridge IOU that I crafted for MGD since the real one hasn't arrived yet. Since we still like to pretend we have secret identities, I (horribly) photoshop'd our names off the little beer name tags inside. (Note that if the real beer fridge has a padlock, there will be 2 keys.)

And because I'm so darned impressed with my skillage this year, you also get to see the Avengers Snow Globe I made for MGD as part of his Anti-Grinch holiday kit. Fabuloso!!

Rudolph the Red Nose Reinbeer,
was way hilarious to craft!
the pissed liBEERian

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A recap of Strange Brewfest 2011

Naturally it’s in the media pass securing, hotel room reserving & the getting excited that I start to think about my Strange Brewfest blog from last year. In the ‘thinking’ process I slowly turned to look at MGD and asked “Uh, did I ever write that Strange Brew blog or just post pics on Facebook?” It has to be said that I am a very lucky lady to have a guy in my life that is so sure of my abilities and timeliness and word slinging that he replies with “Of course you wrote it babe, that was forever ago! There’s no way on Earth you wouldn’t have accomplished such a feat by now.” 

The 2012 Strange Brewfest is throwing down a Funk-A-Delic 60’s theme for their 8th go around. With that being said, I find myself now sitting down to tell you all about the 2011 Strange Brewfest which I in fact never did write about. Yay for great note taking and photos!!!

(and, ermmm, thanks for waiting)

Sooooo… (puts hands in pockets while looking around aimlessly and whistling) about those notes. I just scoured my house (& collective beer journals) and there are none. Meh, I’ve worked with less. Enjoy the photos and subtle intellectual & not so subtle self-deprecating humor!!!!


You know it's going to be a good festival when the first thing you see is that Big Al Brewing brought a camper & a pop up tent and parked it across the street so they wouldn't have a hard time finding their way home!
This picture comes next because I like to pre-emptively warn you that the fest was packed on Friday night. The first thing I did when we arrived was turn right back around and head to the truck to ditch the tank top I was wearing under my sheer sweater. So sorry for my sweaty grossness and not so sorry for any bra shots due to the flash.
Flyers served up a Breakfast Stout and their Red Pepper Porter was very sporty!
Naked City looks on stoically as the Hot Tamale beer flies from the tap but the star of the NC show was the Citra Ass Down Sour Patch IPA, which brought back childhood memories

If you look at all 4 of the Elk Head pictures fast enough, it could almost be like a flip action book. Love the hairdos guys! Their Peachrind, Moka and one or two others saw them taking first place in 2011

Micah Sims of Big Al Brewing (& his bff BJ)  brought their Nut Warmer (a blend of the Winter Warmer and Peanut Butter Stout). I let the Nut Warmer do it's job on my mouth many times over during the night. It was just that delicious. I also think there was a point in the evening when I tried to take Micah & BJ into the Brewer's Lounge I was certain that existed (because I'm totally a brewer and would know these things...). Let's just say that I'm glad there are people in the universe that are entertained by my ridiculous antics & love me even when I have no idea what I'm doing or talking about.
Lotsa action at that Naked City booth. Total props on the inventive tap handle covers.
Janelle Pritchard (formerly of Trade Route Brewing) (oh, and that's totally not my hand in the picture) serves up some Ginger Pale Ale
The ever festive and entertaining group from 7 Seas
Mike Runion serving up what I'm sure is some blue ballz to some dude. He's so pretty, how could he not?! (the blue ballz was heavenly as well, which only adds to the problem)
The 7 Bloody Seas (a Bloody Mary beer) was RIDICULOUS too, I couldn't get enough of it all night and I don't even like Bloody Mary's!
I didn't let Queen Shannon in this picture. Ya know, didn't want to show her up and all with my non-dressing up when I swore up and down I was gonna show up in full masquerade costume.
This is where we kissed and made up under the mediation of Travis Guterson. Everything turned out okay in the end. As they should when beer is involved.
And this is when it ceased to work out any longer. I have a long standing phobia of things in full costumes & most circus related things. MGD said he wouldn't take me to where food is until I took a picture with this guy. As you can tell, food won. Barely. I'm so speedy that you couldn't tell in the picture but I'm already in mid-run in the opposite direction of this guy.

Being a vegetarian is a high-maintenance pain in the ass sometimes. [Read: Mostly a pain in the ass for MGD because if there isn't food I can eat then I'm drinking the whole fest with nothing in my stomach and then I'm HIS problem. I also have blood sugar issues so when I say 'problem' it's no joke. I cried in a bar once when they forgot to put my quesadilla order in.] And definitely at events where food options are limited. So we took a break and walked down the road for some Mexican nomz. Which was delicious and we got to drink cheap Mexican beer as a palate cleanser. Muy bueno! Ole!

Then back to Strange for some belly dancing by this loverly lady. And more beer. Pretty sure there was a rocking band too, but things got fuzzy later on. Suffice to say that Strange Brewfest make sure the entertainment at least equals the beer!

I reserve this space to highlight why you need to BOOK YOUR HOTEL EARLY for Strange Brewfest. Port Townsend is a small place people, and a 3 Day Weekend of beer festivalness tends to book solid the approx. 4 hotels in the area. Last year we waited until a week before the event to look into it and ended up having to stay in Sequim.


I do slightly recall a quick stop on the way back to our hotel at a grocery store. I don't know what I thought I needed so badly but somewhere in the back of my mind I thought staying at a Best Western in Sequim meant there would be a lack of body poofs, honey crisp apples (x4) and more beer (an Alaskan Raspberry Wheat). So that's exactly what I got. After wandering around the store for the better part of an hour while MGD sat idling outside. If you want a sneak peek into what happens behind the closed doors of our lives after dark, just close your eyes and imagine the following: Me laying stomach down facing the end of the bed while wearing striped knee-high socks, elbow length cable knit gloves & a hooded sweatshirt. Watching 'Pretty Woman' (watching ='s quoting the movie line for line during it's entirety) while eating an apple out of one hand and drinking my bomber of Raspberry Wheat out of a paper bag. I know what you're thinking... 


Waking up hungover in Sequim is no picnic my friends. So I bring you the newly discovered best 'Hair of the Dog' remedies known to liBEERian kind: Giant Sugar Free RedBull & Port Townsend in the a.m. Please see exhibits below... 
(two of my all time favorite pics taken by MGD)

I feel this picture is an accurate depiction of our day. We actually started at Pt. Townsend Brewery then hoofed it to the Fest. Which was a short 1.3 miles (I looked it up recently when researching hotels) but felt like FOREVER. However we did spend the entire walk laughing our asses off at nothing and primed for action by the time we go to the other end of town.
Another effing classic shot by MGD. Hello Port Townsend beers and hello Kenny T. Beerman, one of the most jovial people I know.
See how vastly improved this picture is when Kenny's happy face was in it? Told ya...
I do believe I spend my morning time at Pt. Townsend drinking, eating peanuts, reading comics & something to do with my beer journal. Which I can see in the picture so it was obviously present for the weekend but it's sitting next to me now and all I have written is the word 'strange' on a random page. Go me. The Glass Kisser Imperial IPA was a welcome wake up.

Award acceptance time!
Check out the big winners medals on Elk Head & 7 Seas!
Because I started my morning out right with Pt. Townsend, it didn't take long to get into full liBEERian mode. For those of you who don't know, this usually equals doing whatever sounds good/fun/mischievous. Including (and not limited to) hopping behind a table and grabbing myself a pour. I did leave a token. I'm not dishonest but I am impatient.
I was all up on the Flyer's business on Sunday. Two fisting even.
This is me helping. Helping what, I don't know. I do see that I have 2 gloves hanging out of my pocket at this time, whereas when I got home later... I had 1. I'm still sad about that. Maybe I'll find the lost glove in a couple weeks when we're back in the area. Scavenger hunt!
Inevitably there will be a point that comes where I'll start bugging MGD with something to the tune of "Come onnnnnn, we're not doing anything right nowwwwwww. Take pretty pictures of meeeeeee!" Here is the result. I look like Rudolph & have crazy colored alien eyes. Pretty sweet pic tho. 
This pic is definitely rad. I love the Christmas light effect. MGD recently told me this is probably his all time favorite picture of me. My asshole response was something like "Are you serious? You can't even see my face. Is that WHY it's your favorite, 'cause you hate my face? You don't even know what you're talking about." Where his normal person response is something like "Okay crazy, I just love the pic. Try and calm yourself for a hot minute."
Closing time. One last call for alcohol and Kenny T. Beerman hugs!
I love the closing up shop pics. I also love when we realized that we walked here and now have to find our way back to our car.
Which I was so distraught about that I sought comfort from the closest person available. Who was tall and had a trenchcoat and reminded me of the scary masked costumed stilt guy from before which caused me to become more distraught.
Luckily we hitched a ride from Kenny T. Beerman. Me riding shotgun & MGD in back with the meat smoker. Best part ever: I didn't even remember this part of the night until MGD showed me this picture a few days later. Hahahahaha.

Some other crazy beers that were featured were Redhook's Ham on Rye beer, Anacortes' Salami Sandwich (MGD said it actually tasted like salami, for reals), Georgetown Habanero Ale, Big Time's Curryous George, Laht Neppur's Strawberry Cream (yummy!) and Booted in the Rear & the Chocolate Orange Degenerator from Port Townsend. There were so very many more and this year I will be writing down everything (in a place I can find in January 2013 when I do the next Strange Brew write-up) for future reference.

Sorry for the slight lack of beer info this round but hopefully you can see from the pics that it was a blast and a half. Definitely one of my favorite festivals. So much that we already have a hotel room booked (a month early and within walking distance) and are planning on attending all three days. I'll bring my own body poof and stock up on some honeycrisps beforehand.

Buy tickets soon and book a hotel early. Find more info on the upcoming Strange Brewfest 2012 here, I hope to see ya there!

If you had a picture of yourself
drinking out of a Red Bull can
the size of a large tree trunk,
you'd post it again too for good measure!

the pissed liBEERian

Absolutely amazing photos (& I suppose editing too) by MGD

Friday, December 16, 2011

Engine House No.9 had a baby! Well... a Love Child anyways.

Tacoma's Engine House No. 9 restaurant and brewery has quite the history behind it. Built in 1907 to protect the North End of Tacoma from excessive burniness and then 85 years later (for those of you who no likey the numbers, that's 1992) it became the first non-smoking pub in Pierce County. It also has the distinction of being the first micro-brewery in Tacoma (Iknowright?!) I haven't been around as long as E9 and during my time as a Tacoma resident I haven't really come to love the place the way that many locals do. I won't go into the details as to why E9 hasn't won me over because I'm sure that those who have chosen to spend their beer money elsewhere have had the same issues.

What I will go into is how I excited I was to hear about the change in ownership of E9 and the resulting changes in store for the place. Like a nicely blended family, E9 now shares parents with Masa and Asado. Menu changes are being instituted, while they've already introduced a new digital jukebox, LCD TVs for sports watching, karaoke with Rev. Colin (of PSP karaoke fame), a more frequent Facebook presence and a revamped old-fashioned popcorn maker. I've heard they will also be replacing their beer towers & lines soon, which can only be a good thing.

In talking with E9 enthusiasts and from what I've experienced personally, there is a loyal fan base in Tacoma for the establishment. While drastic changes don't always go over so easy with long time fans, I think the new owners are headed in the right direction. From here, they can only tap into the hearts of those in Tacoma who see its potential and WANT to love E9 (like myself and many others I know in & beyond the 253 craft beer community) for the awesomeness it can achieve.

Walking into E9 at the Tap Night Tacoma 1 year Anniversary.

So... uh, yeah. That's how I feel about that. Now for my in depth report on E9's Lambic Release Party, starring the Love Child Kriek!!! (applause) The Love Child is the first beer in a series of barrel-aged sour/wild ales that are being released under the new ownership. Brewers Shane Johns and Sean Jackson (you may know him best from his slinging beer skills, infectious laugh and total Randall domination at the Parkway Tavern) did the sour beer scene a total solid with their Love Child Kriek.

Gotta say those guys have some super-sour-awesome-balls for adding four heavy hitters to the night's lineup along with their brew. Good on ya!

E9 Love Child Kriek (5.9% ABV) A lighter/milder sour with a cherry flavor and color. The Love Child went down nicely, a clean finish that doesn't wreck the palate like some. I found it to be extremely sessionable for a sour, which is hard to achieve without forcing a stomachache on oneself. I love sours so I speak from experience.

Leifmans Cuvee Brut (6% ABV) A favorite of the evening amongst our table of drinkers. Packs a tart punch right in the middle of the mouth, with a lot of balancing sweetness and complexity. MGD & I shared a bottle of the Leifmans Goudenband just the other night and found it highly delicious. The Cuvee Brut was a nice surprise this evening and blew the Goudenband outta the water.

Mort Subite Kriek (4.5% ABV) I loved the light maraschino cherry flavor to this one, not too sweet but just enough. Like Baby Bear in that blond chick's story.

Boneyard Brewery Femme Fatale (6.5% ABV) Have had the Femme Fatale on a few other occasions and loved it. I haven't found much of anything that Boneyard does wrong yet either so stay on the look out for them.

Zum Uerige Doppelsticke (8.5% ABV) I don't know where to start with this one. Neither my mouth nor my emotional well being have as yet fully recovered from my experience with this beer. Only offered in a 3oz pour; I'm sure the ABV has something to do with that. My initial thoughts on this beer was that it smelled like root beer. Not the kind you drink but like those little root beer barrel hard candies. The only reason I think I may have been a bit on the drunk side is that I spent the rest of the evening trying to convince everyone of this fact. Even though I had re-decided (that is TOTALLY a word) earlier that it smelled more of powdered surgical tubing. And not in a bad way. Every time I took a drink it felt as though there was a thick coating on the roof of my mouth. Again, not necessarily in a bad way. This beer was just weird and insanely intriguing. To everyone. I mean, I got over it after the first 3oz and said "Eff this, I'm ordering some tots." I guess the best way to describe it would be a mouth hole train wreck. While one glass was enough for me, my table mates (MGD included) kept going back for more, willingly torturing themselves in one of those 'it hurts so bad it feels good' kind of ways. MGD made something akin to my IPA face & the inability to decipher how he felt about the Zum Uerige Doppelstick (other than the fact that he had multiple glasses) can be clearly seen in his notes, which rates it as a 2 (our scale is from 0-3) with a 3 written on top of it with a 2 written on top of it and what I think is another 3 on top. Everyone should probably try this beer in their lifetime, perhaps my confusingness will make sense after you do.

All in all, the event was fabulously done and therefore fabulously enjoyed by myself, MGD and our collective gaggle of friends. As in all sour tastings, things get more fun and more interesting as the hours wear on. For example, here's what I recall from the night's randomness:

  • Sometime in between leaving my massage to walk a block or so to meet MGD at Parkway so we could head to E9, I lost one of my knee-high argyle socks.
  • It was determined that that beer and sex should never be compared but that pizza and sex always can be. To quote Mizz Jamie Stratton (day manager at Parkway): "Sex is just like pizza." Me: "Even when it's bad, it's still good?" Jamie: "Yup. Even when it's cold, stale and hard: still good."
  • Strange Brewfest is coming, STRANGE BREWFEST is coming!!!
  • Something about rotary phones and 911 in England being 999. Because choosing the number that has the longest 'rebound' time when dialing on a rotary phone for an emergency totally makes sense.
  • Service animals and the notion that in a public place, you can't question the legitimacy of an animal being of servitude (fact). Guess that's why I've seen a snake, parrot and chihuahua at the library in my years. Best to just hook it up with a comfort monkey. Preferably a bonobo, so more accurately labeled as a comfort ape. To see where our conversation naturally lead (from service animals, to comfort monkeys, to pleasure monkeys), click here and scroll down to Sexual Social Behavior. 
  • As always, I find myself at a beer judging disadvantage with my shnoz. Which is a trait that those with larger than average noses like to point out when deeming their skills better. It's like bringing a knife to a gun fight.  

Romantical tasting picture by MGD. That's why he's not in it. Myself, Jamie Stratton, Morgan Alexander, John O'Gara. Justin Johnson (manager of Red Hot) joined us a bit later, just imagine him in the hole next to Jamie..

Mr. Sean Jackson at Parkway Tavern on Russian River night. Now change out his T-shirt for a red button down & black tie then lose the Dead Guy Ale ball cap and comb his hair. Sean's a cutie patootie all the time but he sure cleaned up well for the Love Child Kriek release at E9.

Super duper way excited for good things to surely come
from Engine House No. 9 and their beer,
the pissed liBEERian
This is what happens right before I get super duper way excited.

Editing and photography by MGD

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