More than a bit of back story is necessary. Five years ago I was finally returning to Indiana for my 35th high school reunion. I was staying with my old, old friends, Brian and Linda, at their house on Lake Michigan. I was going to arrive first and open up the house. After my domestic duties were completed I peeked into the garage refrigerator for some much needed refreshment. Ah, heavenly beer! Although I would have partaken of the water from the lake before drinking a Miller Lite, even a PBR might have quelled my thirst. However, I discovered a label I didn’t recognize, so I inspected the bottle. Hmmmmm…Three Floyds Brewing. Never heard of it. MUNSTER, INDIANA!!!! Gott im himmel! Was ist los? How can that be? A craft brewery in Munster, the town that I had left 30 years ago? I popped the cap and it was, to my surprise, a great beer. I was able to taste a few more during the weekend’s festivities. All were outstanding as was the company of people I hadn’t seen for years.
In the intervening five years I have gotten a hold of Three Floyds’ Robert the Bruce on two separate occasions, both as a result of the fine efforts of two other high school classmates, Dan and Joanne. Delicious!
All of this brings you to the present when I walked into Superior Liquors to peruse the aisles for interesting beers. New Belgium Brewing is always doing some taste bud tantalizing work in their Lips Of Faith (LOF) series. The bottle’s distinctive artwork immediately caught my eye. A collaboration with none other than Three Floyds. And on a style that partner in suds, Chris, had recently brewed, a grätzer or grodziskie, a historically Polish, smoked wheat beer. The gods (or Grods) ARE kind. I grabbed the bottle and drove back home, yearning all the way, even though it was only two miles. I set up in my favorite drinking spot on the back deck, overlooking the open space, glands salivating. I poured, expectations running amok, for the forthcoming rapture. A quick assessment of the aromas emanating from the glass caused me a quick bit of concern. A little sour, I thought. With my typical devil-may-care attitude a took a huge gulp and swished it around my mouth. Arrrrrgh! My sour-sensing buds went off standby and into high alert, seizing up. Oh, no…lacto. It was smoky, but incredibly sour. Yuck, yuck, yuck! I HATE SOUR BEERS!! Or rather, I believe my palate is overly sensitive to them. I thought a few more sips might deaden the sensitivity somewhat, but I was mistaken. It pains me to say that this was the first beer that I had to pour down the drain.
So disappointing and yet, I realize it was entirely my own fault. I have studied beer enough to have fairly accurate predictions about what most beers should taste like. I do not read other reviews before I taste a particular brew, but I do read the brewery’s description, attending to ABV’s , IBU’s, and any unusual ingredients. In this case, I simply set the bar too high at the outset and, unfortunately, it turned out to contain one of my least favorite tastes. More later…Pliny the Elder.