I’m lucky enough to live in a town that enjoys beer. We have two specialty grocery stores with two large beer sections. We have about a dozen bars with different beers on tap within a 5 block square, there’s a brewer’s association and we have the Beer Shoppe. The Beer Shoppe opened last year some time but I hadn’t been to it until last Thursday when I met up with a friend and what turned out to be the President and many of the members of the aforementioned brewer’s association. Between talk of brewing beer and coming out to the Association’s meeting I was able to sample some of the many (many, many, many, beers the Shoppe had for sale. But, first a little more about the Shoppe:
The The Davis Beer Shoppe is a beer shop that offers the largest selection of premium quality beers in Davis. While they only have 9 taps (which rotate at least weekly, eight CO2 and one nitro), they have more than 600 different bottled beers, most available already cold, that you can buy and pour right there in the tasting room. The vast majority of beers sold are not available in most grocery or liquor stores.
There’s not a lot of floor room for tasting but luckily my friend had been there for an hour or two before I arrived and had saved a seat for me. My first brew was Allagash Black. I really enjoyed their White but I hadn’t seen their Black any where:
I wasn’t disappointed either! Black smells lovely, full of dark fruits like raisins and plum. There is also some yeast and the roasted malts. The smells all come through in the taste, this is a complex beer and I found myself looking for words to describe what I was tasting and failing… It was a good balance of fruit, chocolate and roasted malts though, a little hops in the finish as well.
After drinking something so dark though I needed something a little lighter. I was hopping for a good wheat beer that I hadn’t tried before. All the beers that the brewers had suggested to me though were ones I’d already tried or were currently out of rotation. At the bar I noticed what I thought was a Kona brewing company wheat ale (but after doing some research I’m not quite sure what it was…) and picked it up, it turned out to be awful and taste skunky. I took it back to the bar though and the owner was very helpful and nice and set me up with a good pilsner:
The President of the brewer’s association said that Lil’ Yella’ had the classic Pilsner profile for a drink, I pretended to know what he was talking about and nodded my head sagely. This is what I thought, the beer comes out a hazy, straw yellow and smells of grass, and a little florals in there. Taste has some mustiness to it, which is the first I’d ever experienced that in a brew, it was grainy and tasted a little bit like fresh corn. Not a bad brew but it did leave me scratching my head a little.
I also picked up a bottle of Unibroue’s Ephemere Apple, which I haven’t ever seen anywhere else but with apple must in it I knew I wanted to give it a try. I also know I’m going to have to go back to the Shoppe and soon. It’s all a little too overwhelming on your first visit. I don’t feel as if I absorbed a 1/10 of the variety and selection they have there. I do know that I want to sample more of it though.
On a side note meeting the brewer’s there was a stroke of luck! I plan on attending their next meeting and hopefully meeting up with someone who can show me the ropes, give tips, and help me make my own brew better (one of these guys has his own 20 gallon brew set up?!)