Saturday, July 31, 2010

A German beer tasting

Today was the Deutschland ueber Ales und Lager: A Celebration of Germany beer tasting at the DANK-HAUS Cultural Center, Chicago. It was epic.

Dave got the idea to do this event with some out of town guests, his VT friend Bebe and her boyfriend Dan, and I was all about it. Still, I wasn't prepared for how awesome this event would be. It was probably the best beer tasting I have ever attended for several reasons:
  1. Less crowded
  2. Mostly beer styles I like (lager, pilsner, kolsch, weisse)
  3. FOOD
Yes, this ticket came with an all-you-can-eat German buffet. Here was my first plate:

That's a veal bratwurst with brown mustard, sauerkraut, spaetzle, chicken schnitzel, and frikadellen from Laschet's Inn, as well as some potato salad from Olga's Delicatessen and some selecte German- and Swiss-style cheeses from Marion Street Cheese Market. It was all so, so good. I went for thirds.

All the food was good to help us from feeling tipsy, but honestly, we tried a lot of beers. Here's a list of the ones I tried:
  • Gaffel Kolsch (Germany)
  • Radaberger Pils (Germany)
  • Zipfer Pils (Austria)
  • America's Brewing Kolsch (Aurora, IL)
  • Emmett's Brewing Czech Pils (West Dundee, IL)
  • Flossmoor Station Pils (Flossmoor, IL)
  • Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold (Ohio)
  • Metropolitan Dynamo Copper Lager (Chicago, IL)
  • Metropolitan Flywheel Bright Lager (Chicago, IL)
  • Metropolitan Krankshaft Kolsch (Chicago, IL)
  • Mickey Finn's Helles (Libertyville, IL)
  • Mickey Finn's Hefeweien (Libertyville, IL)
  • Rock Bottom Chicago Smoked Helles (Chicago, IL branch)
  • Rock Bottom Warrenville Kolsch (Warrenville, IL branch)
Yeah, that's a lot of beer. And I loved every one of them. Most were half-full small tasting glasses, but there were a few for which I just tried some of Dave's. I voted for the Mickey Finn's Hefeweizen to win "Beste Bier," because it was a really complex flavor of cloves, bananas, yeast, and hops. But some dark beer from Wisconsin won - boo!

Dave got a fun t-shirt out of the event, as well as a free book on the history of beer in America.

Yeah, we're feeling no pain. We were nowhere NEAR as drunk as this one old guy, who was wandering around with a blue jean fishing cap with a feather in it and grumbled something unintelligible at us in the elevator. There were also our tablemates, both locals from immigrant families. You know you are hanging around some real, blue-collar Chicagoans when one of them yells out, "What, do I look like a f*cking Pollack to you?!" Good god.

It was a great visit by Bebe and Dan, and a great event. Clearly, there are two things we need to join right now - DANK Chicago and the Chicago Beer Society. I need more events like this in my life.

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