My work day ended yesterday with a trip to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – a kind of Mecca for beer lovers, butch and otherwise. The reason was bad, a farewell for a laid off colleague, but he was in good spirits and the beer was very good. Stone is a big, gorgeous facility. Lots of rocks and open beams. It is huge with lots of gardens and pathways. These are useless, of course, for the drinker. Unless you need a breather or want to wander off with your femme for a little break. Getting drunk means less cool beers to try, so timing and spacing are important. It also makes you much better company to keep your cool. There is nothing butch about getting hammered. So, on to the beer I tried yesterday.
First, I had to go for one of their own: Ruination IPA Double Dry Hopped. This is a long way of saying “yum.” I only rated this beer a 3 out of 5 on Untappd, but it was pleasing, nonetheless. Brown and very hoppy, it has a fairly high alcohol content at 7.7%, so be aware.
Next, I went for a sip of a colleague’s xxx Black Double IPA from Midnight Sun Brewing Co. This was as dark as…midnight, and very rich (8.5% BAC). If you like Guinness, you will love this one. It was delicious. Also 3 out of 5. This brings me to my most important beer drinking tip – sips and tasters. Sips are what you take (or steal) from friends, colleagues, and drinking buddies. Tasters are small 1 to 2 ounce pours of a beer you order, sometimes free, and sometimes not. Either one results in you getting to try a new beer without all of the alcohol or caloric content of ordering your own. I suppose you could order a beer and then not drink it, but is that not akin to alcohol abuse? No, sips and tasters are definitely the way to expand your beer repertoire safely and affordably.
The third beer I tried was Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company. Several of my friends have suggested this one to me, and now I can suggest it, too. This is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale with a 7.75% BAC. Though I rated this the same as the first two (3/5), this was my favorite of the evening at Stone. Untappd says this one has “extraordinary aromas of banana and pear with mouth filling flavors of sweet malt and earthy hops. The lingering finish is dry and slightly bitter but very, very smooth.” Now, if I had tried thousands of beers, I might have been able to describe Damnation that way, but I haven’t…so I say “Ditto.” This one is great, plus it has a great name.
Fourth was a sip. I bought the next round, and so of course I got to taste the Arrogant Bastard Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels by Stone. This is like Stone’s well known Arrogant Bastard (another great name), but stronger and smoother. I gave this one 4/5, but I liked Damnation better? Well, I had a whole pint of Damnation and only a sip of this one, so the Damnation stands out more. A good beer in the hand is better than a great beer in one’s memory.
Fifth, came a mistake appropriately named “Twerp” by Pizza Port. This was awful. I would give it 0/5, but alas, I gave it 1/5 because 0 is not an option on Untappd. This really was awful – flat, bitter, and watery. I have no idea why anyone would order this. The Bud Light Lime my fiancé had tonight tasted better (don’t judge me!).
After these 5, it was time to head off to Whole Foods to shop with my femme. We had a little dinner before shopping and I tried another new beer – Velvet Merlin by Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Yuck. This one gets a 2 out of 5. I almost didn’t finish this one because I didn’t care for it, but then, that would not be very butch, would it?
The next cool thing about Whole Foods is that you can walk around the store with a beer. Did you know that?!? So, I grabbed a Blanche de Chambly from Unibroue. I know! What a great name for a brewery! It calls to mind strong German women who coach gymnastics. But the beer is not like a strong German woman, it is more like a spicy femme, one that you want to treat well so that you can see her over and over again even though she has very expensive tastes. Ha! The only issue was that it was a little hard to finish the whole thing (22 ounces) before checking out. There are worse problems…
Try the beer. Be butch.