So many things in life have become a spiral of disappointment: the current geo-political climate, the economy, the emo revival hitting it’s peak and My Chemical Romance still insisting on sitting this one out. But the one thing I refuse to let become a disappointment is Daze of Beer. While in recent weeks I have discovered my friends that I once assumed to mostly exist in a suspended state until I call upon them to fill my waking hours with amusement and inspiration actually all seem to maintain a social calendar that rivals that of the Duchess of Cambridge, I refuse to let the concept of Daze of Beer become another bullet point on the list of disappointments.
That is why Ashley and I decided, after failing to round up friends to attend Cuban Fest with us this past Sunday, to try a dry run of Daze of Beer. It was something of a beta-test, I supposed. We opted to visit a new brewpub that opened at Southridge Mall a few months back that is brewing it’s own in house beers. Technically it fits the definition of a brewery, even if it is in a shopping mall that hasn’t been relevant since Mall Rats came out. And while an argument could be made that drinking mall beer is a far cry from the hip and trendy nature of a microbrewery, I can assure you, Daze of Beer was never meant to be hip nor trendy. It is mostly meant to be a way to fill our weekends with more excuses to not go outside.
More than just an excuse to day drink the afternoon away on a Sunday, it was also our choice for lunch. The Explorium Brewpub opened at Southridge in January and since I hate malls, I did not discover it existed until the end of April when Ashley and I decided to hit up the Sephora at JCP location while killing some time during the NFL draft. This past Sunday, a chilly, rainy day at peak lunchtime when Ashely decided to finally visit, it was dead. More than dead. It was depressing.
There was one large family drinking beer and being jovial, but other than that, there wasn’t many signs of a life. During our meal, another couple came in, insisted on a booth, then both sipped waters and had two cups of soup, before leaving. But it was pretty bleak. The interior was clearly intended to appeal to a generation of Pinterest-ers who are into shabby chic designs and rustic barn weddings. Barrels were used as decorations and the walls had fake distressed wood. In general, it played into my well-worn rant about the desire to have “authentic experiences” and how people are trying too hard to manufacture and recreate experiences which results in them “lacking heart.” I understand how this sounds. I also refuse to budge from this opinion. Anyways, The Explorium felt inauthentic.
The beer didn’t help the situation much. Ashley, my girl, my main, my friend bubble bitch, was such a trooper and when I was like “let’s get two flights and sample all eight beers on this menu” she was like “OF COURSE” and so comes the actual beer part of Daze of Beer. Now, let me start off with the same disclaimer I have in the “about” page. We are not beer experts. We actually know remarkably little about beer. Our opinions and reviews usually range from “wow, this is good” to “eck, get that away from me.” I could not tell you if something tastes oaky or if they used two different kinds of hops (which allegedly Explorium does with their IPA). All I know is that I either like it or I don’t, same goes for Ashley.
So, the beer. As you can see in the picture above, you can read the descriptions of each beer (we drank all of them), the type of beer they are, and the alcohol by volume. I’m honestly not sure if ABV actually matters in a beer outside of just wanting to drink whatever will get you drunk the fastest. I won’t bore you with the details and impressions of all eight beers. My overview is that the porter and stout tasted remarkably similar, which is to be expected as I don’t like dark beers and anything I can’t see through usually just tastes bitter to me. But even the little bits of flavors I did pick out, they both seemed to have coffee flavors and the stout was a little more earthy. I believe I preferred the porter though, whereas Ashley preferred the stout.
Ashley and I both really liked the barleywine, though. It was the kind of beer that would be easy to accidentally ruin your night on. It goes down easily and it has a wicked ABV for a beer that tastes so good. My favorite beer, though, was the Doc Rae Scotch Ale, whereas Ashley did not like it at all. I believe her favorite was the Patagonian Hitchhiker Lager. But both of those were to be expected based on our existing tastes. Overall, the beers felt very generic and undefined. But this was a good starting point for Daze of Beer, though. I think we know how this is going to go in the future. There is going to be a lot of beer and a lot of beer jokes.
Jake thinks that we should record our conversations and launch a podcast as this adventure continues, and while I don’t think that’s the easiest idea, it could be fun. It’d be more conversational than the blogging. But to be completely honest, who has that kind of time? Anyways, the beta test went well. I look forward to all future Daze of Beer endeavors.