Memo from the Beer Desk: The Great Taste, once more
Post by Doug on 8/14/2007 10:05am
Despite my earlier bout of crying like a little girl over my inability to purchase Great Taste tickets, I did eventually manage to snag some tickets. While I shanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t name my source, I will describe this person as the very pinnacle of generosity. Thus, I was able to continue the tradition of spending the second Saturday in August as a drunken ruin.
This year, it was hot. Damn hot. So hot, in fact, that my group arrived to the Taste a bit late -- a first. Somehow, it seemed wiser to spend a minimal amount of time standing in an endless line as the sun beat down. And I stand by that decision. Indeed, the beer was strong enough to make up for a wee delay in tasting.
After several years of the Great Taste experience, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve become somewhat familiar with many of the craft brewersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ offerings, so I tried to sample a few novel brews while I still had some semblance of taste. The first I aimed for was ShortÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Brewing CompanyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s The Bloody Beer, described as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Imperial California Lager fermented with 1.5 pounds of fresh roma tomatoes per gallon and spiced with fresh dill, horseradish, celery seed and tellicherry peppercorns.Ã¢â‚¬Â Despite the name, it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really taste much like a Bloody Mary. It was much less tart and far more drinkable than expected.
Another interesting combo was Two BrotherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Heliocentric Braggot, a blend of mead and ale which made for a very light and mild beverage. I also enjoyed Founders Brewing CompanyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Blushing Monk, made from 100% fresh raspberries. As hot as the day was, light and fruity beers made something of an impression on me.
Of course, most of my impressions tend to fade rapidly with that much alcohol being poured. Luckily, I made some recordings as my beer-drinking chums reacted to their favorite beers of the day. Names have been omitted to protect the intoxicated:
Drunkard #1: So, Jolly Pumpkin, right? They had a beer that was called La Roja, which doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make sense. It really should have a French or Belgian name. Roja is Spanish, but whatever. Uh, it reminds me very much of a dumbed-down version of... itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s essentially an American version of, like, a phenomenal Flemish red ale.
Drunkard #2: Favorite beer? I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember. Uh, the Imperial Stout from Hoppin' Frog. Boris the Crusher was the name.
Drunkard #3: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember the name of the best beer I had today. It was from Surly Brewing Company. It had a really nice balance of malt and hops, but yeah, it still seemed that the malt was distinctive, noticeable. It had a lot of character. The hops were all up in my face, in a good way. I liked it.
Drunkard #1, again: YÃ¢â‚¬â„¢know, like, sittinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ down in the winter, drinking a beer, I will stick with my earlier answer from like an hour ago, four hours ago, whatever. If it was really hot out, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d stick with Lucid [Kolsch] out of New Holland. Delicious.
Drunkard #4: Favorite? IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not good on the spot. Uh, Flossmoor... IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m already confused. Rot Geist [American Red Wheat beer]? Yeah.
Drunkard #5: The one that sticks out was the Jolly Pumpkin [La Roja]. It was sour but not too sour. Very refreshing for that point of the day. So I really enjoyed that one. Yeah.
There were other favorites of course Ã¢â‚¬â€œ scores of them. But alas, they are lost to the ages. While one can record the ramblings of drunkards after five solid hours of imbibing, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be damned if I can decipher Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s probably for the best.