Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beer Aficionado Mad Libs!

After tonight's (very tasty) dinner at Birch & Barley, it has come to my attention that nearly anyone could fake their way into looking like a beer aficionado, if only briefly, by filling in the blanks of the following sentence: "It's got some nice [insert adjective here] notes & just a hint of [tantalizing noun], which will really bring out the [obscure flavor] in your [overly verbose entree]." Our server was knowledgeable & generous, but his vocab led us to the realization that in order to mimic beer lovers' jargon, you need only intersperse the essential "notes" with the similarly crucial "hops" to fool a less savvy beer drinker into thinking you really know your brew.

Like me. I am a less savvy beer drinker. I drink like I'm from a small town in Ohio.

What does that mean? Well, for starters, it means I mostly drink Miller Lite, when given my druthers. (What are druthers, anyway?) When I came to DC, I quickly wised up to local disdain for my beverage of choice & upped my orders to Yuengling, a taste I've embraced as my go-to. (Dear Midwest: Can you make a deal with Pennsylvania, please? What are you waiting for? Love, Kate)

Still, I don't like good beer, & I am not an adventurous or knowledgeable beer-drinker. I know it, at least; it's not like I'm pretending that my two-steps-from-water drinks are top-notch. Once, at Brickskeller, I told an eager waiter that the ale he'd so cockily served me (I let him pick) tasted like flowers. Actually, I tend to think most beer tastes like flowers - or wood chips, or stomach acid, or some other lovely-but-spot-on analogy.

Last week, though, Cleveland's own renowned Great Lakes Brewery started distributing in the District. Though I missed the launch party at my favorite dive, The Big Hunt, because I was too tired to function, the joy of that event was lasting: Lots of DC venues now serve Cleveland's best brew - including tonight's dinner venue!

Because I like crappy beer, the truth is that I don't like all - or even most - of Great Lakes' brews. Once, on a weekend trip to Columbus, I got so excited by the presence of Great Lakes on the menu that I ordered an Eliot Ness... which I quickly & disappointingly remembered I despise. Still, I was thrilled to see Ohio's prized brew sold in my adopted city, so tonight, at a restaurant known for its fancy beer selection (not a Yuengling to be found!), I took a risk & ordered a little hometown pride in the form of a Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, which I was pretty sure I remembered that I liked.

The verdict? SUCCESS! I drank it so slowly that it lasted me through an hour-&-a-half-long meal, but I liked it. And it only tasted a little bit like flowers. And I felt a lot like an Ohioan who, for once, wasn't embarrassed of her drink choice. Score one for the Midwesterner in me!

A final note, however (& not the kind found in beer): Why is alcohol so expensive in this city? It's something I'll never get used to or become forgiving of. Can't a girl get a Dollar Draft Night up in here?!

17 comments:

Shannon said...

I'm pretty sure it's impossible for anyone to dislike Dortmunder, unless of course, you are a person who truly hates beer. My sister is one of those; she calls beer "liquid bread." Ugh. I am one of those beer snobs... but I don't play beer Mad Libs, I know my beer! Anyway, what I was getting at here is you need to drink a beer (or some other beverage of your choice) with me asap! Overdue!

Malnurtured Snay said...

Have you tried Red Derby? I hear they've got some cheap beer.

Well, relatively cheap beer. Paying $2 for a can of Natty Boh seems overpriced since you can buy a 24-pack for $5.

Jackie said...

Ugh I hate that alcohol is so expensive here! And if it's not, then it is either Miller Lite or Bud Light and then the bartenders give you that snotty look like really? That's what you are ordering??

12minds said...

Yuengling was the "classy" beer for us in college. It's still a favorite and it's one of the few things PA does well.

You should ask Marie about her newfound love of bubblegum beer.

moxie4blood1986 said...

Speaking as pain-in-the-ass beer aficionado who ALSO drinks like he's from a small town in Maine, I am also disappointed in the irrationally high price of alcohol here. Where are the divey microbreweries/grills where you buy pitchers of the house stuff for 6 bucks?

Another David said...

Everyone likes Dortmunder Gold. Even people who don't like beer like the Gold.

I went to Churchkey last weekend and nearly hit the floor when I saw Great Lakes! In the face of dozens of taps that I hadn't tried, I got a Burning River for old times sake.

Grace said...

I don't drink beer often but when I do I like it cheap. I usually drink Corona. I did try a fancy beer once I think it's called "lambick"? That was really good but it certainly tasted like flowers.

KeepingYouAwake said...

Here in IN, I'm a total beer-whore. I don't care what it is, and the cheaper stuff is ok with me.

I prefer liquor above all others, but often it's a beer kind of event. If someone's buying rounds, you're either excluding yourself or mixing (barf.)

Hooray midwest.

steph anne said...

haha I wouldn't know about beer being expensive because I hate beer. ;) I've tried drinking some before and I just hate it so I'm not much of a drinker only hardcore stuff when I intend to get drunk. I'm still ordering shirley temples when I go out.

Mary said...

I'm a Bud Light drinker 99% of the time, but here in Texas it's cheap and totally acceptable :p

Deutlich said...

It took me a long, long, long time to become a savvy beer drinker. But once I started, I never looked back.

mamagooch said...

I'm not much of a beer drinker- mostly because all I've had/all my husband drinks is Coors Light. I will have to try that!

chicknamedhermia said...

I just can't drink beer ....it all just tastes gross to me! It's all about cider and cocktails pour moi!

pkyle said...

You know what has been the biggest disappointment in Colorado... they don't have Yuengling! I KNOW! What is a girl to do? **deep sigh** I'll get through some how, I'm sure (maybe friends and family will ship me cases, yes, yes! That sounds like a fantastic plan!)

Jim Collins said...

Why the unfollow?? Ive been trying to be nicer and better?!? Did I become boring??

Nina @Daro said...

Yum!

Anonymous said...

"Druthers" is short for "I'd rather..." (I "druther" have a Dortmunder.)

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