Craft beer backfire

Posted: February 8, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I learned a hard lesson this week, kids. Turns out that better isn’t always, well, better.

Let me explain.

This seems to be the golden age of craft brewing. Best I can figure, it’s an extension of the self-publishing era ushered in by the advent of the InterTubes. (Or does Drew Carey deserve some credit for that whole Buzz Beer thing?) In fact, there are so many varieties that I find myself drinking more beer. To be fair, my definition of “more beer” means one and sometimes two per sitting with maybe two sittings per month – usually when I travel. Sampling local brews has become an extension of my eating habits while on the road. Trying stuff I can’t get anywhere else is like an adventure within an adventure … or a non-adventure within a non-adventure, considering that I’m an utter square. And, to be clear, I’m hardly an expert, can’t really decipher between malt and hops. To me, it’s excellent, good or bad.

Anyway, the interest has followed me home in the sense that unique/niche/regional beer is becoming readily available. Even the gas station nearest my house has a nice little selection.

But things hit a snag during a recent visit to Monks, a hip downtown Sioux Falls establishment that was recently named one of the top-100 beer bars in America. While the joint does not serve up Bud, Coors or Miller, it does have multiple brews that were aged in old bourbon barrels. So that’s the kind of expertise/snobbery we’re dealing with here. Saturday was especially highfalutin in that it was Brrrvana, an annual winter celebration featuring extra draughts, hot food and outdoor games.

TV likes his fancy beer ... not beers. Total lightweight.

By the time I showed up after work, the food was gone. (Dammit. I had been borderline obsessing about a bratwurst all day. Things might have gotten ugly if not for the chocolate almonds in that pub mix.) Not one to leave calories on the table, I decided this was my sign to make it a two-beer night. First up: Some sort of chocolate oatmeal stout. It was … good. Not as heavy as it sounds. Not as chocolatey or oatmealy, either. I probably wouldn’t order it in the future, especially since the name escapes me, but it was hardly regrettable or offensive.

Next up: A fiery mistake. I’m not sure what this brew was called or who makes it or why I ordered it, but it was turrible, to borrow a phrase from the suddenly svelte Chuck Barkley. It looked like some sort of bock except it seemed laced with pepper spray. It burned. A lot. And not in a way that at least tastes good like Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce. (To be blunt, it reminded me of a classic Ol’ Dirty Bastard line that I can’t repeat in the presence of women and children. [Wu Tang, son.]) What’s more, it seemed to have sobering qualities. (Yes, I can get a slight buzz from just one beer. Sigh.) I couldn’t finish it. For the record, others around me had similar struggles so we can’t entirely chalk this up to me being Charmin-soft.

Maybe it serves me right. There’s probably a fine line between wanting to try new things and becoming a show off. (“I only drink craft beers, Buffy.”) Admitting that the pepper beer was bad AND that I didn’t like it – rather than pretending I did – seems important. So that’s what I’m here to do. I’m not saying I’ll stick with Miller Lite just like I’m not going to purposely seek out an Applebee’s the next time I’m on the road. But if there’s one in front of me, so be it. At times, there’s something to be said for the sure thing.

  1. Dan Frasier says:

    I have failed you, tv…as I am the reason you received both the bourbon beer and the pepper spray beer. Don’t give up just cause I was overly creative… Always remember the bubble gum beer.

  2. […] laugh) and tried Ecstasy for the first time (no, he didn’t). He tours cities for us. He drank fancy beers…and regretted […]

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