Another guest post here courtesy of Aaron Miller, this was from December so take a time machine back to mid-December and read on….
Jamaican Me Crazy Mon!
I recently came back from a trip in which there was very little craft beer available and it got me thinking about a few things. First, I’m glad I am a fan of wine, rum and gin. These were readily available in much better quality than the accompanying beer options. Second, what is the first beer I’m going to have when I get back home? Third, if I could have any beer in the world right now, which would it be?
The wine was Beringer out of California, which was pretty tasty, and we had four choices in Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay. I usually am pretty open to drinking different things and I pretty much went with whichever wine sounded best for the moment when presented with the choice. I’ve been to a couple wineries and drank a bit of wine, so I figured I could navigate this area pretty well. The spirits were all pretty solid brands as well; the rum was Appleton Estate and the options for gin were Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Gordon’s and some rougher brand I didn’t care for. I have had a few cocktails mixed with these before and was able to choose as I went.
The problem was, I was craving a hoppy beer while sitting on the beach. My options were Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light. Not that I have anything against those two choices, but that was not what I had in my mind. I wanted hops. Like taking a handful of hop cones and chewing on them while sitting there in the sun by the ocean. It was driving me crazy by the end of the trip.
First thing I wanted to do when I got to Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport was find Sweetwater brewing company’s pub/grill and get an IPA ASAP. We landed, went through customs and got into the heart of the airport. I knew Sweetwater was around there somewhere, and we only had a little bit of time before we had to board our connecting flight back to MN. Luckily, there was a directory nearby and we made a beeline towards it. Under the Food section, we found Sweetwater in the same gate area as we were due for our flight, only it was across the way (around gate A27; we were due at A5 and came in to the area at A13). I figured we had enough time to get there, grab a beer and some food and head back to the gate in time to board. So off we went.
We arrived to the beautiful sight of Sweetwater Draft House and Grill! Only problem we found was the place was packed. Not a single bar stool, table, high top, or counter space to be occupied. It was just out of reach for us. When the host asked if we wanted to eat in or dine out I got a glimpse of hope. I asked if we could get food to go, but stand and drink beer while waiting for food and the guy gave us the all-clear to do so. I ordered the Philly steak sandwich and a Sweetwater IPA since I’d had that beer and liked it. I couldn’t wait to get those hops! Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (which was probably closer to 1 minute) my beer came and I consumed it with the enthusiasm of a small child on Christmas morning unwrapping gifts. I don’t know if it was the beer or my desire for hops, but that hit the spot. Food was good too, but that’s beside the point. We made our flight on time and got back home with no issues, except the fact that there is not enough leg room on flights anymore which is a different post for a different blog.
The hunt for a hoppy beer reminded me of what I’d been thinking about while on vacation. I’d kicked around the idea with Spank before I left and it sort of cemented in my head while there.
Since Christmas/Hanukkah was coming around the corner, people were getting their gift/wish lists all prepared and ready for their friends, family and coworkers (maybe not for some I guess) to pick from. Why not have a wish list for beer? Surely this was pretty normal, right? I read Beer Advocate and Rate Beer articles/forums to get info about beer or to learn about brewery events, releases, beer dinners, where to buy beer when in a different city, etc so I have learned about some beers I want to try. I figured that since I’ve done this, most people had. Whether reading what people on beer blogs are writing about, what people are checking into on Untappd, or what can be seen in stores, there are different beers to try no matter your preferences.
Here are my 5 beers I’ve never tried but want to try, and 5 beers I’ve tried but really want to try again.
5 beers I’ve never tried but want to try (not in any order):
1. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord (3Floyd’s)
2. Pliny the Younger
3. Central Waters Exodus
4. New England Brewing Company Imperial Stout Trooper
5. Lost Abbey’s Cable Car
5 beers I’ve tried and really want to try again (not in any order):
1. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout Rare
2. Bear Republic Racer X
3. Bourbon Barrel Aged Darkness (Surly)
4. Captain Lawrence Brewing Company’s Hops and Roses
5. Cigar City Cucumber Saison
So, what about you? Anything you think I have on here that is not worth the try (or try again) or am I missing something? What would your list be? Cheers!