Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Live simply, drink locally

I like big beers, and I cannot lie. We've been trying to eat local foods lately, out of our own yard when possible, so for happy hour, I had this idea to serve some local beer. Lots of smaller breweries don't bottle six-packs, so it was the perfect excuse to open sample some big bottles with friends.

I found a good selection of Island Brewing Company ales at the Isla Vista Co-op. They had other beer and wine, including some from Stone Brewery in my hometown San Diego. I've heard George and Amy raving about Stone for years, so I grabbed a few of those. I found local Telegraph's California Ale at nearby Angelo's Liquor. When George added two amazing growlers from Hollister Brewing (Fairview Farmhouse Ale and what else?), we had a nice sampling of our local beers.

I have to say, the growler from Hollister was the coolest bottle of beer I've ever seen. A growler, I learned, is a half-gallon bottle that allows you to take home draught beers from smaller breweries that may not be bottling. You just get yourself a growler, and they fill it from their tap. The Hollister growler is a rounded glass jug that looks like it holds a magical healing elixir. And it kinda does.

We fashioned a blind tasting of sorts by covering the labels and sampling from nine different brews. It wasn't very scientific, and to be honest, I don't know that anyone other than George and Amy would have been prejudiced by the labels.

This time, the Stone beers were the first to go, in part because I had to uncap them first to preserve anonymity. Next time, no blind: the bottles go naked, labels exposed. I wish I'd tasted more side by side, pale ale to pale ale, to really get a sense of each type and brand of beer. As much as I enjoy beer, I don't really know much about it. An optometrist-style beer tasting would probably work best for me: "Do you prefer A or B? Okay, B or C?" I propose we undertake further research.

In any case, it is a happy happy hour indeed when one can drink locally and enjoy summer evenings with one's favorite people in the company of one's own chickens. Happy summer, every one.


George said...

Thanks for being such fine hosts.

The Hollister brews were their Fairview Farmhouse Ale and their Hip Hop Double IPA.

They have a quite tasty milk stout on tap right now, too--but it foams so much you can get a growler of it.

Trekking Left said...

That was a fun evening. And I even got to top it off by complaining about my bird problem :) ... Thanks.

Amy said...

optometrist-style beer tasting would be nice. I still might be prejudiced by the labels.. but I'll try to keep an open mind.