Sometimes, beer can get serious. Maybe a bit too serious. We can sometimes fall into the habit of critiquing beer too much – analyzing the flavors, aromas, texture and more – and in doing so, we can forget to simply enjoy having a beer in the first place.
This past week I got to attend two events in which all the seriousness of beer got put aside for a moment, and I had the opportunity to just enjoy beer in some unique settings. These events were the Girl Scout Cookie Flight + Pairing at Sisyphus, and the Clown Shoes Barrel-Aged Madness takeover at The Happy Gnome.
When I first heard about the Girl Scout Cookie Flight at Sisyphus, I was immediately determined to go. Not only did it combine two of my favorite things (beer and cookies), but the concept was just fun. Who wouldn’t want to go sample Girl Scout Cookies paired with beer? I didn’t want to miss out, and made my way over to see just how well cookies and beer can go together.
And the experience of tasting Girl Scout Cookies with beer? Surprisingly good! The staff set out the beer flight and a pre-arranged plate of cookies, and instructed guests how to try the two together. In sampling the cookies and beer, it almost seemed as if the beer had been brewed with this particular Girl Scout cookie flight in mind! The flavors of the beer nicely complimented those in the cookies themselves, and it was a great way to spend time after work. My favorite was the Winter Warmer paired with a caramel samoa – the right amount of spice in the beer with the sweetness in the cookie resulted in the perfect pairing.
The next event was the Clown Shoes Barrel-Aged Madness at The Happy Gnome. After being tipped off by my friends at Clear River (thanks, guys) and hearing hype from them about it for several weeks, I knew I needed to check this event out. And what an event it was…
The “lightest” beer on the Clown Shoes barrel-aged menu was 11%. I opted to play it safe and ordered that option, which was the Ride the Wendigo, a Scotch Ale aged in cognac barrels. The beer was incredibly smooth and could have gone down real easy, but I know better than that and slowly savored it over conversation with the Clear River group. Other beers that were featured included Itasca Loonidragon (Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels), The Entertainer (American Amber barrel-aged in cabernet barrels), Crasher in the Rye (Imperial Stout aged in rye & bourbon barrels), Extremely Angry Beast (an Imperial Stout concoction), Flight of the Angry Beast (American Strong Ale, another mix of multiple beers), Space Cake (double IPA), and Moses and the Misfits (Imperial Cream Ale).
I should add that this is not to say that barrel-aging beer is not serious. In fact, I’m sure it is quite the opposite given that the brewer needs to determine what beer would age and develop well in what particular barrel. But the experience of tasting the result – big, strong, flavorful beers – is just fun in itself.
So drinking beers with ABV that’s only in the double digits? Eating cookies that were intentially paired with beer? I’ll take it – that all sounds like a good time to me!