Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WTF Wednesday - Beer!

Still working on Tuesday's book review. It wasn't the best book, but I feel like since I actually managed to finish it, it deserves a Tome Tuesday edition.

So Monday night Trivia Robyn and I went to Left Hand Brewery (our general area is often referred to as Left Hand Valley, for Chief Niwot, aka Chief Left Hand, AND NOW YOU KNOW) for the Ales 4 Females monthly seminar/beer tasting.

Lucky me, it was fruit beer night! My favorite!

I've never been a huge beer person - to me it all tasted like fizzy, slightly bitter water - but as I've learned, "beer" doesn't just mean whatever's in the cans at the liquor store, or on tap at the local bar.

How does this fall under "WTF Wednesday" you ask?

WTF was I thinking not trying out more craft beers before this?

I mean, I'm a crafter! How could I not have known that this craft was out there, just waiting for me to not have time for it?

And it's true - it seems this is quite the labor-intensive hobby. I might have to stick with just visiting tasting rooms and finding treats, much like I stick with farmers markets for fresh produce because I have neither the skill nor time to learn how to grow my own veg without wasting great bunches of money only to end up with dead plants.

We'll see - never say never!

I liked the facility, it's very Front Rangey - a lot of natural stone and wood and barn-door type stuff.

Right off the bat, Ms. Robyn bought me a glass (a very LARGE glass) of Left Hand's Haystack Wheat, which I was very proud to have correctly identified as containing nutmeg and cloves.

You know how I love Fall foods? Breads and pumpkin and stuff?

Well I LOVED this beer.

After sitting and dishing for a little while, we headed in to the conference room, which was all set up with 3 tasting glasses and food pairings for each seat.

This month's seminar had lots of interesting info about the history of craft beers and women in that craft/industry.

Our speaker, Erin Glass of the Brewers Association, had a great quote, which I'm almost assuredly mis-quoting due to the afore-mentioned very large glass of Haystack Wheat.

"Someday, the term 'woman brewer' will be as archaic as the term 'lady doctor'."

Women were the original brewers after all - there are even ancient fermentation methods featured in a book I'm particularly interested in, "Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers".

I bet they taste like ass, but imagine... beer for colds! Beer for depression! Beer for... I don't know, gout?

The beers set up for us, though, were *not* ass-like in any way.

They were some of the most delicious things I've ever tasted.

Normally they don't get matchy with their tastings and pairings at A4F, but in this case I think our hostess wanted to really illustrate the difference between the idea that fruit beers are super sweet and the actual fruit/sweet item from which the brews take their inspiration.

I also learned that some beers taste better cool instead of cold, which was the case with all 3 of these - too cold and I think the flavor would suffer.

First up was Great Divide Wild Raspberry Ale, paired with blackberries.

This was not overly fruity, much less overly sweet, at least in my opinion - I'm no brewer, so I have no idea what the reviewers of this one are talking about (what the hell is "lacing"?!), but I thought it was lovely and smooth. We thought it would go really well with fruit pie of any description, and I plan on putting that theory to the test.


Second was Left Hand Good JuJu Ale, paired with ginger cookies.

I love sweet ginger stuff, but it can be really hit or miss. If it's too ginger-rootish, like crystallized ginger, it can be very bitter and unpleasant. Sweeten it too much and you have Ginger Ale and it's just a sweet soda.

One perfect balance can be found in Reed's Ginger Candy, which is like eating a ginger snap with a hot sauce finish - delicious!

This was served from the cask, so it didn't have all the carbonation you usually find, which I think was lovely because I really got to concentrate on the scent and taste without being distracted by bubbles.

This is just so delicious - I think it would be lovely with Thanksgiving dinner, only because when I think of ginger and clove I think Fall, but really it would be lovely any time.

I'm thinking with Thai food.

More testing is required.

Last but not least, we had Pyramid Audacious Apricot Ale, paired with dried apricots.

And oh my goodness.

Apricots aren't particularly super-sweet to begin with, and neither was this brew. I can definitely see it going with desserts, but again think a serious sampling is going to be required to verify this.

Part of our "reading list" included a website on how to put together a tasting...

I think a few folks are going to get roped into home-made pies and fruit beer some afternoon this Summer.

I know it'll be a struggle, but I have a feeling they'll make it through.

Last but not least, we found out that this week is American Craft Beer Week!

Go celebrate with a few local brews!

You'd be surprised how many there are out there... if you're not in Northern Colorado (land of Left Hand, Pumphouse Brewery, and Oskar Blues just to name a few that I can get to in 10 minutes or less), I can guarantee there's some where you are.

Find a brewery, do a tasting, and celebrate the fact that, as Ben Franklin said...

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Even if it's maybe only partly true (and maybe totally false), I love that quote, and since Ben isn't here to dispute it, we'll just go with it.

I think he'd be okay with that.

Happy Wednesday!


Dandy said...

I can't wait to share this with B! He is a brewer after all.

But now I want a beer.

And I can't have one.

Please drink one for me.


peacemama67 said...

I love the bottle for Good Juju beer! I want one just for the bottle.

And that Sacred and Healing Beers book? I so need that. It's on my reading list now. NOW.

Ruth Covington said...

I love the JuJu Ginger beer. It's really yummy with Ethiopian food.

FYI, "lace" is what is left after the foam/head dissipates. The amount of protein or hops (or both) gives the beer its lacing. It can also be used as an indicator of how fresh the brew is.

I did some brewing at a brew your own beer place in south Boulder (can't remember the name...) and that was a LOT of fun!