Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why I want to love beer

I hate beer. I really, really hate beer. It all started when I was younger. Beer was cheaper, but I couldn’t stand the taste. I remember a lot of people telling me “It’ll grow on you.” But it didn’t, it never did. I would gulp it down trying not to taste any of it, and I quickly gave up and explored my life long love: vodka. I never looked back, until I met Josh.

Josh loves beer, with the passion that I reserve for hating it. He loves all beer. I always try to ask him what his favourite beer is, and he will simply say “Beer. Beer is my favourite kind of beer.” I want to know his favourite for days when he is stressed out and I want to grab him a six pack to surprise him when he gets home from a long day at work. But for Josh, it doesn’t matter what his favourite is. It’s just like how I feel about wine. Even a wine I don’t like I will still drink and not hate. It’s wine — it’s all good!

I know that Josh’s favourite kind of beer is an IPA, but he also loves unfiltered wheat ales, stouts, porters, and the list goes on and on and on. I picked him up a case of Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA by Flying Dog Brewery awhile ago, I picked it because the artwork was amazing on the case. He later told me it was the same artist that did Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Of course I gravitated towards that. He then said that brand made his favourite beer, but it was not the case I had bought for it. So close! His favourite apparently is in fact the Snake Dog IPA. Next time, I’ll get it.

See? That is a happy man. Tiny beers, that's all it takes.

See? That is a happy man. Tiny beers, that’s all it takes.

But there’s so many things I love about beer, even though I don’t like the taste. I love how excited Josh gets when he is served 10 tiny beers in three ounce portions as a tasting flight. He always lowers his head to the level of the table, looks at the bubbles floating up, comments on whether it’s filtered or not and the colour.

After all this looking and a sniff near the foam, he finally tastes. If it’s good, he’ll let out a loud “Ahhhh.” and open his eyes wide. He will then proceed to tell me all about it, and I listen intently every time. I drink beer in spirit with him. Weird right?

I love how relaxed a brewery is compared to a winery. I love that the men making beer have grisled beards and most likely, their love of craft brewing grew out of a basement with a bunch of friends. Josh and I also discovered early on in our relationship that there is no finer pub food than that found at a real brew pub, especially if you can see the beer being produced around you while you eat.

Josh is really into brewing his own beer, and while we haven’t yet invested in the equipment, I hope he can get back to it soon. It’s totally cool that you can make your own beer at home and come up with something really great. Wine doesn’t really work that way. You can certainly vint your own wine, but it sure isn’t going to taste anything like a classic Virginia Viognier, California Zinfandel or Argentinian Malbec. It’s going to taste like you made acidic fruit juice with alcohol in it.

I made a pledge to Josh last night that I would start to take a sip of a few of his beers whenever he gets a good one. Maybe instead of forcing down each gulp, I can find an appreciation for the taste long after I gave up and switched to vodka. I’ll keep you posted.

Annalee

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Tasting notes

Oh Virginia, your state slogan is misleading. What it really should be, is Virginia is for Wine Lovers.  Josh and I have decided to start keeping a book of all the vineyards we visit, starting with detailed tasting notes for every sip of wine we encounter.

We started this New Years’ resolution style wine tour idea this weekend. I have already said how little I know about wine in my Wine for Morons post a few weeks ago. On our visit to Cardinal Point and Bold Rock Cider this weekend, I expanded my ability to BS with winemakers and even used the term “on the nose” a few times, with huge success.

Hah! Who says a girl who has voluntarily drank Carlo Rossi on more than one occasion can’t learn some new tricks?

So Cardinal Point was a great stop on Saturday. We didn’t have a planned vineyard to visit, but instead decided to just drive until we hit one that looked good. There was tons of traffic on Highway 151, as is usual on the weekends. Josh and I always enjoy the places where we have time to chat with whoever is pouring our wine, without a crowd of 10 people behind us waiting for their turn at the counter. Cardinal Point was a great spot for just that: Busy enough that we knew they had great wines, but quiet enough that the lovely woman pouring the wine could tell us everything about the different wines and the winemakers.

My favourite of the day was the 2012 Green. It immediately tasted like a crisp green apple and reminded me of a summer day outside, perhaps having a barbecue. I was pleasantly surprised by their Rose, as I usually hate Rose. I don’t think I would have picked up a bottle, but it was nice. Josh loved the Rockfish Red, a lighter Cab Franc. After the tasting we each got a glass of our favourites and tossed a frisbee around on the lawn. I shocked myself by how good I was.

I know throwing a frisbee doesn’t seem like a monumental athletic achievement to you, but I’m six feet tall and terrible at everything. It was great, we got our legs moving, spent the afternoon outside and tasted some great wines. Yay for Cardinal Point!

After that we moved on to Bold Rock Cider, which we’ve been meaning to get to for over a month now. I discovered Bold Rock’s Virginia Apple at Rapture’s trivia night on the  downtown mall in Charlottesville. It is the first cider that doesn’t make me completely bloated and uncomfortable, it tastes awesome and is a good price. It’s an amazing bonus that the super relaxed, cool tasting room is 20 minutes from our doorstep. Delicious!

We asked the lady at Cardinal Point where we should go next, and she rattled off a huge list. We realized we haven’t even scratched the surface of great wine destinations in an hour radius of our house. I can’t wait to tick every single one off our list.

That was our Saturday. On Sunday we had our second kickball game. It was pouring rain and miserable out, and we were the first and last team to play before all the games in the league were shut down. It was a gongshow, to say the least. No one could move in the outfield without landing on their ass. The ball was wet and covered in mud so it was rarely caught, but, much to our surprise we only ended up losing 6-2. The team who beat us loved our spirit: They said our cheer of “Hey! They didn’t beat as nearly as bad as we expected!” was hilarious, so they invited us out for pizza after.

I made it to first both times I hit, and Josh had an amazing double take out that was utterly ridiculous. It was a great day.

Annalee

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