Ok, let me explain. The title of the blog is not for "Yay let's get really drunk"-beer. It's for "Who knew how many exciting flavors and brands there are?"-beer. Russell and I have recently embarked on somewhat of a beer expedition. We've been curious about wine (and we are still of course) but we've discovered a newfound love of beer. One of the major perks is that while a "fine" bottle of wine will cost you upwards of $50, a really cool beer costs around $11 per 6 pack and a luxury beer will cost around $20 for a wine-sized bottle.
I have the privilege of being married to a somewhat...hmm how do I say this...obsessive collector of a man. He loves collecting information and tends to get hooked on specific topics or objects for extended periods of time which eventually fade and are followed by others. When we met, he was collecting knowledge about exercise and healthy living, hence his foray into P90X. He then shifted onto luxury discount websites such as Gilt Group, Beyond the Rack (which we don't recommend), and Rue La La. Next came the honeymoon search which led to collecting knowledge about the best resorts in the world. This led to a slight obsession with Fiji. I'm sure there have been several other phases in between and prior but for the moment we have landed on beer. Now let me pause by saying I love Russell's obsessive nature and it's one of the reasons I married him. Along the way, I usually become quite interested as well and gain a wealth of information (and goodies) from Russell's research on the various topics that he chooses. That said, he could probably benefit from having his credit card being confiscated every once and a while to prevent the excess materialism.
So here we are with beer. We currently have quite the collection in our refrigerator, and the bigger bottles have taken over our wine cabinet. We've tried IPAs, Lagers, Porters, Stouts...dark beers, light beers, amber beers...one fish, two fish, red fish blue fish...
We've discovered that North Carolina is a wonderful place to have a beer "phase". There are tons of local and regional breweries here and many of the local shops carry lots of specialty beer. Just last night we visited a spectacular hole-in-the-wall called Sams. It looks like a very typical sketch-tastic liquor store on the outside, but on the inside is a beer palace. We stumbled upon this place after searching for the best beer we've ever tasted, which we discovered at Blue Mountain Beach, FL. We had just decided that we'd never find it again when we were given a lead by the wonderful employees at one of our favorite Durham establishments, Parker and Otis.
The beer we were looking for is made by Stone Brewing Company and it's called Vertical Epic. This is a beer in a series that is only released once per year. The most recent is 10.10.10. Next year will be 11.11.11. You get the idea :) Each year it is a new formula and only a limited number are made. Sounds exciting, right? It is! It has a very unique flavor and is brewed with wine grapes and chamomile among other things. I don't know all of the technical beer flavor terms but I would say it's a complex yet refreshing flavor. I think I'd eat it with light pasta dishes and pesto or white based pizzas (how's that for sounding smart?). I bet you're guessing if we found it at Sam's...WE DID!!! We were so excited that we bought every one on the shelf, and I'm not kidding. The label suggests aging the beer until sometime after 12/12. We're going to try our best to save a few to see how the flavor develops!
Of course we (i.e. Russell) couldn't leave with just one kind of beer so we visited the sale rack and found Bateman's Triple XB XXXB Classic Premium Pale Ale. It was a gold medal winner at the International Beer Awards and was on sale for about $4/bottle. We just had a tasting and we loved this one too. Russell thinks it's a better beer for summertime and I think I could agree on that. A fruity flavor, light on the carbonation, and without the metallic taste that might come from stronger pale ales. The bottle says it goes best with cheese and red meat.
Look for more beer suggestions from the Bloodworths in coming weeks :)