Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

June 14, 2010

Beer Diary:

A Successful Week

A chance encounter in an out of the way watering hole made American Craft Beer Week immensely rewarding.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
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So it happened because of strange travel predicaments and automobile issues that on the penultimate night of American Craft Beer Week—Saturday, wherein people not in the service or pastoral industries are able to cut loose for an evening—I found myself in a very nice but very rural tavern without, shall we say, a stellar beer list.

The only non-macro beer this bar had on the menu was a relatively common craft brew in the state, but one that I don’t get all that excited about. In fact, more than a few hardcore beer dorks look down their noses at it as too light and tasteless. But this was American Craft Beer Week, so it was my civic duty to plunk some coin down on a (relatively) locally brewed craft beer—and there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell of me drinking, let alone paying money for, any macro brewed shit.

After asking about the beer selection and ordering my drink, I got to talking about craft beer with the bartender/owner, a very nice older woman who referred to the brew I was drinking as “dark beer” that was far too heavy for her palette—one that was used to drinking MGD 64. She said that her distributor dropped off some samples of a craft brewery about an hour’s drive away that recently began distributing, and that maybe they were something I’d like … and none of her patrons would even consider drinking.

So she hauled out these three bombers of beer that, coincidentally, I had previously sampled on more than one occasion. One was a “pre-Prohibition” throwback beer—basically a “craft” macro (or a craft “macro”)—a tasty but unspectacular amber ale, and a rather standard IPA.

She popped the tops and poured out a few glasses of the beers. There were six or seven other patrons in the bar, and a few of them were interested enough in these “fancy” beers to ask for samples, too. The owner asked which of the beers was the “biggest”—which I deciphered as “the most challenging”—and I told her the IPA. For whatever reason, and despite my warnings, that was the one she tried first.

I was told that she did not tolerate foul language in her bar, and had been known to even kick people out for swearing.
“Gah!” she cried after the very first sip. I was told later by some of the other patrons that she did not tolerate foul language in her bar, and had been known to even kick people out for swearing. “It tastes like shit!”

“Oh, come on,” I said. If anything, it should have tasted like piss, because the first time I had an IPA, while out in the Pacific Northwest visiting fellow Dork Ade Solomon, that is what I said it tasted like.

“Wow,” she said, pouring out her sample. “My neck is going to be sore in the morning.”

“What? Why?”

“Because I’m going to have to bend over and lick my ass to get the taste out of my mouth.”

OK, that was a bit over the top, but I have to admit it was damn funny. We proceeded to sample the other two beers, and even though the owner didn’t care for those either, a couple of the other patrons actually said about the amber, “Hey, I kind of like that.”

That made me extremely happy. Not only did I get to enjoy nearly an entire bomber of IPA by myself—on the house, no less—in a neat bar in a beautiful area of the Midwest, but I unintentionally helped a couple of people get a positive—albeit quite brief—introduction to craft beer. Score this year’s American Craft Beer Week a success.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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