As I was saying yesterday, I want to become more knowledgeable about beer. I wasn’t exactly sure how I should approach such a task. I’ve gained basic knowledge from my weekly drinking companions from work, such as the difference between ales and lagers. What makes this variety different from that one. You know, basic beer knowledge.
The basics are important, but I really wanted to know more. I felt that the best way to learn would be to expose myself to more beer. Yes, you read that correctly. I have somehow managed to convince myself that drinking beer is an educational experience.
I decided that the first thing I should do was decide what kind of beer I wanted to drink. Seeing as it is October and my favoritest thing in the entire world during this time of year happens to be pumpkin, the choice was simple. I must find the best pumpkin beer. I was really interested in the various types that bloggers have found in their neck of the woods. I’ve especially enjoyed reading KERF’s posts on the subject. On one such post, I asked where Kath gets her beer. She enthusiastically replied that she gets her beer from Beer Run.
(It was actually a dumb question, as she mentions Beer Run quite often…ooops…)
Anyway, her answer made a light bulb go off in my head.
You see, I had been wandering the aisles of BevMo trying to find exciting looking pumpkin beers, but nothing really ever struck my fancy. Or they only sold what I was interested in buying in 6-packs, which are number 1, heavy to carry home on foot (I don’t have a car), and 2, more than I want to buy. I don’t really want to buy a 6-pack of something I’ve never tasted before. I was getting discouraged with my BevMo results when I read Kath’s response and it occurred to me:
I live in San Francisco. There HAS to be someplace better than BevMo to look for beer.
And there is!
About the same time I located City Beer on Yelp, a fellow KERF reader saw my comment and recommended I check it out. Since I’m sort of shy and wimpy about going to new places on my own, I put the shout out on Facebook and tried to round up a friend to come along. Once I found someone willing to drink beer with me, which admittedly, wasn’t difficult to find at all, I was ready to head out.
The woman working was extremely friendly and while my friend and I were staring at all of the choices, unsure of where to start, she came over and asked what we were looking for. While my friend looked for a beer similar to a fictional drink that Star Wars characters drink (Hey, no judgments here. I’m a geek, and so are all of my friends!) I asked to be directed to some pumpkin goodness. Here’s what we wound up with for the first round:
For my friend, St. Peter’s Cream Stout. It was the closest thing to what he asked for that could be found…and it was the last bottle. I gave it a taste and it was pretty similar to Guinness. I was impressed by the fact that it really did have a creamy taste like it claims. I’m used to these things being like wine tasting where I’m told that whatever it is tastes like raspberries with a hint of coffee and tobacco. All I ever taste is “wine”.
For me, I had a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. It’s not so much that this was a rare drink, as it was something I could find at BevMo, but it was one of the beers that had only been available in 6-packs elsewhere. Here, I was able to give it a try first, which I appreciated. It was very pumpkin-y. I was actually sort of surprised, to be honest. Most other pumpkin ales I’ve tried really don’t have much of that “autumn” flavor to them.
We sat around and talked for some time as we drank our beers. It was the first time my friend and I had hung out solo, so it was nice to have a few minutes to get to know each other. It was also nice for me to have some time to stop being tipsy from the Dogfish Head. Normally one bottle wouldn’t do it, but after my impromptu workout at Kezar that morning and the small amount of sleep I had gotten the night before, the beer went directly to my head.
It was decided we would each have one more beer each. After perusing the shelves once again, we had landed on some choices:
My friend had a Midas Touch. While I did taste it, I don’t remember at all what it tasted like. I should’ve taken notes!
I had a really expensive ale next. Like, really, it was $9. It was worth it though. I know I had said I would be drinking pumpkin beer, but this peach one caught my eye, so I just went for it. Upon first taste I was blown away by its sweetness and flavor. This ale was much more akin to a cider than it was to any ale I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, it tasted like carbonated peach juice! Although it was sweet, it was really good. I would honestly suggest this to anyone who doesn’t like beer, because it was the least beer-y beer I’ve ever tasted.
Sadness. Almost gone…
After we finished up our drinks, I bought a couple of things to take home with me and try on a later date. I will share them with you all, of course, when I break them open. For now, however, I am going to leave you in suspense! All in all, I think this was an excellent foray into the world of beer, and I hope to have many more similar experiences in the future!
Are there specialty beer shops where you live?