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Wednesday Beer Log

Hello my friends, welcome back for another schpiel! I am actually not baking or cooking or crafting today, however I did want to mention some beers. I recently joined a friend of mine (okay, fine, quite a few of us friends joined another friend of ours) in a beer outing. For girls. Men, be careful, the following comments may shock you into needing a craft beer. Ladies, be equally careful, this may compel you into joining us for the next beer outing!

Now that the suspense has been built, my friend started up a group called Charlotte Beer Babes, and she is THE Charlotte Beer Babe. So on January 8 (yes, I know, I’m late in posting, but calm down!), a group of about 20 or so of us ladies gathered at Vintner’s Wine Market in the Arboretum area of Charlotte. It was supposed to be a 3 hour deal. We turned it into closer to a 5 hour deal. The peeps that run the place and work the place were awesome and didn’t kick us out. The other patrons didn’t scream for our departure either. Therefore I consider it to have been quite a success.

Anyways, we all gathered and had a grand ol’ time. The guys attached to us girls were invited, but they were almost literally shoved into a corner and left to their own devices. It was kinda surreal, actually, when I walked in and saw the ladies spread all over the (albeit tiny) store, and the gents all confined to a 4-bar-stool radius that was literally in the corner. Then I got a look at the ladies. All of us were ranging in age from 21 – 51 (or so, haha), all different backgrounds, all different heights, hair colors, and so on and so forth. And one major thing (aside from the obvious, c’mon now) in common: a love for craft beer.

Now before we continue, please let me preface this. Craft beer is not Miller Lite, PBR, Labatt Blue, Bud Anything, et cetera et cetera. It is good (usually, hopefully) beer that is not typically on special for $1.50 a bottle at a normal bar. It is not typically on special for $2.50 a bottle at a normal bar either. We are talking about the big and little breweries, the top foams of the pours, the upper echelons of tastiness. (Sorry, you guys should know I am corny, that one I couldn’t pass up…) Oh and usually also the higher alcohol content, too.

Now I am not a huge drinker, as anyone that knows me will attest. I prefer to have 1-2 drinks of really good stuff, and savor it (not gulp it) while I linger over it for, yes, an inordinate amount of time. I also don’t drink that often. Well to a non-drinker of course I probably seem like a lush in comparison, however if I have 1 drink per week that would be shocking. Now as for beers…

Personally, I like almost all different styles of beer. It depends on what my mood is, if I’ve eaten a lot of food (heavy/light), if I want something sweet or salty so-to-speak. I like ales and lagers equally, and all their children: I enjoy porters, stouts, wheats, IPAs, bocks, browns, pilsners and oktoberfests. I love seasonal beers, fruit beers, lambics, and on occasion even drink Mead. Yes, you heard me: Mead. That honey-crafted drink of the Renaissance. Which of course if you know me won’t be a surprise, since I go to the Carolina Renaissance Festival multiple times (with many of you) each year!

So with that up-for-it-all beer palate, walking into Vintners proved incredibly difficult. There are so many choices, and draft and bottle options as well. All a veritable fountain of beer options. So what am I in the mood for…. what am I in the mood for… I know! I had this wonderful concoction weeks ago at the Carolina Ale House, and I bet I could recreate it again. A Chocolate Velvet = Chocolate Stout + Hard Cider. So I went scouring around their selections and found 3 different bottles of Chocolate Stouts (and 1 draft Breakfast Stout as well). I perused and decided upon the Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout. Success!

Now Vintner’s does a really cool thing – they charge you a bottle corkage fee of $1.50 to open a bottle of beer. But the BBBCS I picked out was only $2.50 so that still meant it was only a $4 beer! Yay! Then I realized I needed a cider still. Since a Chocolate Velvet requires a half-and-half mixture, I figured I would get my two drinks out of this, and I’d be good for the day. Plus I would have my friends try this concoction of course, to spread the beer love around, and I would end up drinking closer to 1.25 drinks instead of 2! Then the other shoe dropped, though. They didn’t have any cider. I was super bummed, but decided to still go with the Black Chocolate Stout. It was yummy – just enough chocolate and just enough stout!

Then I had a realization – I had helped a friend move earlier that afternoon, and she had given me some Woodchucks that she wasn’t going to drink before the move! I asked and they said you can bring in your own bottles and just pay the $1.50 corkage fee! WOOHOO! I flew out to my trunk and grabbed a bottle, ran back in, downed some more beer so I had a half full glass, and had them top my stout with the cider! Took a sip and went into a moment of pure yumminess!

I ended up only drinking that one drink, with samples to friends of course, but we had samples of all other sorts of delicacies – a lot of the ladies brought beer, one even is a craft brewer and brought 4 different bottles she’d brewed – and it was like a craft brew tasting party in a bar! It was fantastic! It was so much fun! And then I got hungry and saw they had a decent food menu. Which included what I got: “Grilled Cheese with Beer Braised Short Ribs”. Holy yum. I don’t really like beef, and still, holy yum. This was 4 types of cheese between grilled bread and melted with shredded braised short ribs. Oh my yum. I know I know – where is the picture? It was gone before I could think to take one, sadly, but deliciously! And since I had that extra 8″ cake from the Salted Caramel Lava Macchiatto Cupcakes recipe I made, we ended up all having that for dessert! And can I tell you, my Chocolate Velvet went incredibly well with it!

So that is it for now, and please check out the Charlotte Beer Babes – maybe come out to the end of January event at The Liberty if you want (and like IPAs)!

Craft [Beer] You Later,

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