“I want you to know that this woman gets crowns without any Novocain,” a woman came over to our table and said about Susan, an older lady we had plopped down next to. We were at the Craft Brewers Association beer tasting at Enoteca, and Susan was rapidly showing me how little I knew about beer. She talked about her travels in Europe and spoke of most micro brews with the same mild disdain that I have for Keystone Light. (It’s tough to go to Europe without coming back as something of a snob.) She asked for the tiniest amount of each sample saying that she knew what she liked immediately.
The Craft Brewers Association is the company who owns Widmer, Redhook, Goose Island, and, now, Kona. I have a bias against Widmer. Their logo makes it look like they sell trucks instead of beer. It’s a “w” with lines on it on top of uninteresting often inorganic two-dimensional scenes. Mass produced. Built Ford tough.
We started with Goose Inland Demolition Belgian Golden, which is available in the Chicago area. It was very light in color, and had more flavor than I expected. When our beer-appreciative crowd took the first sip, chirps of “Oh mmm, fruit” and “definitely coriander” broke out. It tasted mostly like beer to me. And I’m impressed with the delight that beer enthusiasts take in tasting something other than beer in beer. Dare I tell them about orange juice?
The next was Redhook Eisbock 28. 11% ABV. (We bought a bottle.) It was pumpkin orange and tasted like a fall warmer. Eisbocks are fermented at temperatures below freezing; this allows the sugars to break out and raises the alcohol content. Apparently, Eisbocks are somewhat frowned upon and can get to ABVs as high as 40%.
They brought in Domino's from next door. $10 got us six samples of beer, pizza, and a glass to take home. Awesome.
Our Virgil in our circling beer descent was a man named Jeremy. He said that he never had a New Belgium brew that he really liked. (Alec under his breath: sacrilage.) There’s problems with these Widmer people.
The third beer we had was Kona Pipeline Porter. They brew it with real Kona coffee, and Pipeline Porter tastes enough like espresso that I think we all are licensed to drink it for breakfast. Jeremy told us that the CBA had recently bought the whole of Kona brewery. While some will still be brewed on the Hawaiian Islands, much of it will be brewed in Portland. He even said that some of the Pipeline Porter sold in Hawaii will probably have been flown in from Portland.
The next three were ok: Widmer Double Alt, Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA, and Widmer Deadlift IPA, the best being the Imperial. Susan wasn’t really a fan. She recommended two Belgians: Bavik and Goudenbond.
It was as we were getting ready to leave when Susan’s dentist came over to us. “You never know who you’ll run into,” she said, as she gathered her crutches. “At least it wasn’t my gynecologist.”