My friend Jan and I got together again this week at another craft brewery in Orange County.
Jan is a wine lover. The first time we met was her introduction to craft brewing. Now we have found a common goal of exploring craft brewing from the point of view of a wine lover, while researching Southern California craft breweries.
This month we visited Steelhead Brewing Company in Irvine, which offers a sampler of seven brews. They range from a Hefeweizen with a slice of orange to a Stout and a rich, dark Black IPA.
One of the reasons we chose Steelhead this month is that Jan had been there for lunch, but had never tried their beer. We confirmed that we are both dark beer people, and dispatched the lighter end of the spectrum fairly quickly. The Hefeweizen and a Blonde were great examples of what they are, but they were not for us. Jan preferred Steelhead’s Red, and we gained momentum through the darker half of the spectrum.
We talked about how hops contributes to the taste of each brew. Jan is not a big fan of hoppiness, though she does appreciate the way that tannins enhance the finish of some red wines. I described how brewers sometimes employ “dry hopping” to enhance the hoppiness of some brews.
We took our time, appreciating each brew. Our conversation covered a lot of ground, including leadership and following, spiritual direction, books, holidays, and the beginning of this year’s Craft Brewery Pilgrimage next month.
We are making progress, and agree that there is quite a bit more research ahead of us.
When is the last time you tried something new?
What do you add to your life, and to the lives of others, to enhance the flavor?
Do you prefer things full-bodied and smooth, or with more of an edge?
[Image by notsojustme]