Before I start, I will get this out there right away–I don’t drink beer. It’s not exactly that I don’t like beer–I actually do–it’s more that I prefer wine. By a lot. I also find beer so incredibly filling, so it is rarely an option for me.
We do buy beer once in a while when we have a party for my wife’s co-workers there (they are not much of a wine crowd for some reason). I bought a couple of cases back in October for one such event and we still have at least 36 bottles down in the basement. (That is an important distinction: beer is stored in the basement, while the wine is stored in the cellar. Yes, it is the same physical space, but far from the same metaphorical area.)
I have been fortunate enough to stay married for almost 13 years now. When we got married, back in 2001, I also bought a bunch of beer for the reception. I think in all, I got four cases of some pretty good beer: Grolsch, Hoegarden, Rodenbach, Heineken (OK, one of those beers does not belong on the list of “pretty good”, but a certain someone told me I had to buy it since it was the only beer some members of her family would drink).
At the end of the reception, we had close to three cases left.
That took us (mainly me) just short of five years to go through.
So I am not a big beer guy.
I do lead the occasional bike trip in Belgium though, so I am not a complete beer-o-phyte, but I am by no means an expert. (But, for you beer fans out there, I have had Westvleteren 12 on several occasions….)
Several months ago, a fellow cycling tour guide and his girlfriend came over for dinner. He no longer really leads trips, but he lives here in Philly so we get together once in a while. He now works for Moosehead Breweries Limited, and he brought over a few of their newer beers to have me try.
To make a very long and complicated story rather brief, the world of beer is getting smaller, I guess. The larger companies are buying up each other as well as buying up the smaller producers. Although Moosehead is by no means huge, they are acquiring the North American distribution rights for many smaller companies that would not be able to do it themselves. So while they are not technically acquiring these brands, they are distributing the beer in North America for them.
If that makes sense.
This week is Philly Beer Week (which lasts 10 days) and although I have yet to ever participate in any of the events around town, I did draft (see what I did there?) my neighbor to sit out on the stoop and give these beers a whirl.
The first two beers were made by Hop City Brewing Company in Brampton, Ontario. I know that really hoppy beers are all the rage these days (or at least I thought I heard that once), but not really up my alley. Nonetheless, I popped these two first.
Hop City Mr. Huff: This was not an IPA, but just a regular pale ale–I am not quite sure what the difference is, but my neighbor assured me there is one. The nose was a bit nutty and bitter with some burnt caramel. On the palate, it was a bit of a one trick pony–bitter. I knew immediately that this was not my favorite, and it was the first we tasted. Average, I guess. C+/B-