Friday, July 3, 2015

The Comfort of Beer

As a long-time beer geek, seeking out beer wherever I'm at it is a given, hopefully a given that isn't too irritating (or an off-base indication that I need to visit the AA folks) to family and friends who haven't gone down the beer rabbit hole themselves. It's a delight to find new beer or in certain locals be reunited with old favorites that don't make it to Portland. It's also a comfort, not just the comfortable escape the ABVs provide but also the comfort of pursuing a familiar hobby.

Case in point is a recent visit back to the Midwest due to a family medical emergency, which for now is out of the crisis category and into the wait and see category. Towards the end of the second day spent mostly in a hospital room I was able to meet up with one of my dearest friends, first at a dive bar just down the street from the hospital and then we continued our visit over dinner at a place she specifically chose because of their tap list. While she's primarily a macro drinker she's a ready student eager to explore, up for tasting anything and she knows a good tap list when she sees it.

Jameson's Public House was the destination and with one look their tap handles I was blown away. There were five Deschutes taps, but not the usual suspects of Black Butte and Mirror Pond, oh no, there was The Stoic, Fresh Squeezed, Armory XPA (on nitro), Pinedrops IPA and Red Chair. In addition there was Rubaeus from Founders and Abrasive from Surly. I was quite serious when I said I'd happily spend the night there.

Rubaeus, made with raspberries, has been a beer I've been eager to try for years, since we visited Founder's on a beercation, in fact. Although they were out of it when we were there I picked up a t-shirt and every time I've worn it I've wondered when I would be able to try it. It was as delicious as I had hoped and was a unanimous hit with my friend, my brother and even my non-beer drinking mom.

I would have greatly enjoyed another Rubaeus but I couldn't resist the pull of Abrasive. It's a big beer so I tried getting a half pour, common in Portland. It turned out not to be an option so I happily enjoyed sip after sip of the full goblet at our patio table as the sun slowly set and the music from down the street filled the evening.

1 comment:

  1. Funny you don't name the town in your post proper - don't be ashamed of your Iowa roots. I moved here from Cedar Rapids recently specifically for the beer industry here...some thoughts:

    Founders and Surly pretty much overran most of Iowa when they released statewide. It's a big thing, as Iowa seems to be a thirsty bastion and the bigger micro brewers see the potential. Founders came first, and Surly, well, not too long ago. Lagunitas made a big splash too (what with a new brewery in the Chicago area), but Deschutes has pushed very hard to get placement in Iowa. It was painful to see so many great beers from them after I'd decided to move to PDX - why drink this here when I can get it fresh in Portland, I asked myself. It was agonizing.

    There are a number of great local breweris popping up around Iowa that don't get any exposure because the big boys have already made their marks - or because they're terrible marketers. Toppling Goliath is consistently ranked highly by bottle snobs around the country but I bet they didn't have any on tap in Waterloo, which is just 60 miles from the TG brewery - but they take up several top positions on BeerAdvocate's top 50. It's maddening.
    Had you gone south to Cedar Rapids, you'd have had the choice of several taphouses with 60+ on hand and 4 active breweries to choose from with another 2 on the way. Also, CR hosts the largest homebrew festival in the country every year - the CR BeerNuts host 500-600 people every fall to sample local home brew from several clubs located in Iowa. Last year I think we featured over 50 unique beers from our club alone.
    As for the beer, yep, it's got legs. I've had a few variations of the rubaeus, and they're great for palates who like fruity stuff (i.e. the ladies). If you get the chance try the breakfast stout, either of their legendary KBS or CBS are solid wake-me-up-and-take-a-nap beers...mmmmm