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?!