Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

February 4, 2008

Beer Diary:

Loving Cocktails In A Beer Dork’s World

Living with a beer dork can, in fact, have a downside, other than no room in the fridge for anything but beer …

Lexi Sterling is just here for the beer.
My husband is a beer dork. I, however, am not.

Don’t get me wrong … I like a good beer as much as anyone else. I’d much prefer something by Bell’s or Capital than anything by Miller. And sometimes I’m in the mood to drink beer. But sometimes I’m not.

I like a good cocktail. I really, really like a good cocktail. I pore over the martini menu at a bar the way the husband examines the beer list. I love trying new places with extensive cocktail menus, often examining them in detail online before even going to the bar. Oh, look at this one, it’s got blueberry vodka in it. And look at this, Southern Comfort and Amaretto, you don’t see that one too often! I once found a bar in my city that made hand-crafted, classic cocktails that were absolutely incredible … I lingered over my Sazerac for a good hour. The husband had one, too, but he was really most curious to see how their beer list stacked up.

I make several favorite martinis and mixed drinks at home. I like a nice flavored vodka on the rocks with a little club soda. When we started seeing vodka infusions in bars near us, I was enamored of the idea and couldn’t get enough of them, even going so far as to try making a few of my own. The husband makes his own beer.

Now and then I find a cocktail recipe I’d like to try. I get the ingredients, put a couple together, and happily encourage him to “Try this! It’s great!” He’ll sip at it uncertainly, say, “That’s not bad,” and set it down on the coffee table while he goes back to researching his next home brew recipe. I, meanwhile, get to polish off both drinks. Wait, what was I complaining about?

When a new place opens in our city, I’m usually intrigued by the ambience and the house specialties. When I see new and unusual cocktails on the menu, I want to check it out. But the first thing I do is look up the web site of the place and see if there’s a beer list. If there isn’t, I warn the husband in advance, so he can have one at home beforehand or we can find somewhere to stop afterward. A visit to such a place usually involves me gushing over the drink menu, announcing the various choices aloud, excitedly narrowing down the options. The husband, meanwhile, is hoping they at least have a Sierra Nevada in stock, because he’d really rather be enjoying a nice IPA and a pale ale is the best he can hope for at this point.

I also enjoy a good glass of wine or champagne. Before the husband became a beer dork, we used to share a bottle of white now and then, especially when we went for a nice dinner out on the town. Now, he’s willing to do so if I want to, but if the restaurant has a decent beer list, I can’t bear to deny him. In our city, a restaurant beer list often consists of Bud/Miller/Amstel Light/Heineken/Fat Tire/Blue Moon/Guinness, some of which he won’t drink at all and others only in an emergency, so occasionally I’ll get my bottle of wine. But I know he’ll be headed for the beer fridge at home afterwards, while I’ll be sipping a Manhattan.

What we really need is a place with a great cocktail menu AND a quality beer list. But it seems like those are hard to find here in the Midwest. In the meantime, though, I’ll get my cocktail-drinking friends to sample those new martinis with me, and let the husband enjoy restocking the beer fridge.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

Beer Dorks News

Want to know how healthy the craft beer industry is? As always, look to Portland. Craft pioneer Bridgeport announces sudden closure, adding to a growing list of PDX casualties.
Did Anheuser-Busch Chicago offer their shit beer to Cody Parkey before his missed field goal? Because that may explain why he "accidentally" biffed it.
Chicago now has the most breweries of any city in the country. Other things Chicago has the most of: murders, mobsters, and Ditkas.
Trying to spin it positive, BA releases end of year graphic. Only 5% growth in the craft sector when nearly 1000 new breweries opened? That's a collapse waiting to happen.
R.I.P. Tallgrass... another casualty as the regional/national craft beer market continues to get squeezed.
Wait... Constellation Brands cut all of the Ballast Point and Funky Buddha sales staff? They merged it with their Corona/Modelo staff?? We're SHOCKED!!!
Pizza Beer founder crying about failure of company, blames everyone else. Reminder, the beer tasted like vomit. Try having better ideas or making better products so you're not a failure.
It's Bud Light so doesn't really matter, but we expect this beer to be sitting around for awhile.
Indiana brewery to open with controversial beer names to "get the conversation going". Translation: taking advantage of serious issues for free publicity.
Hundreds of amazing beers in Wisconsin and the Cubs took back the one everyone drinks just because it exists and people have heard of it. How fitting...