I’ve been quite fortunate this summer with regards to work travel; San Diego and Seattle allowed for many hours of extracurricular enjoyment for the beer lover. I was not looking forward to the looming conference in Orlando, however, as I expected to be trapped at a resort with nothing to drink but macrobrews. And my fears we largely confirmed. While I would have loved to travel to Tampa to sample Cigar City Brewing, I knew this was not likely due to the land-locked nature of the resort and my lack of (affordable) transportation.
While I was disappointed I was unable to try new, local beers (my top activity when traveling) it allowed me to rediscover an old favorite: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. If you are like me, as you have gotten more and more involved in craft beer, you are constantly seeking that new, crazy, exclusive brew. It is almost like a competition among beer geeks. “I just attended a vertical tasting of the past four years of Dark Lord.” “I just acquired a case of Pliny the Younger.” “I was the first in Illinois to have X beer made with Y and aged in barrels for Z months.” You get the idea. But this attitude may make you forget and neglect some of the continuously tasty beers that made you love craft beer in the first place.
High Velocity, the resort’s sports bar, had a decent beer list and I began going over the selections. Now, the beer taps were not stellar; the majority were of macros and no where near as good as what I can get at a local bar in Chicago. But I saw that green shark-shaped tap handle and was immediately excited. I ordered a pint and was taken aback at how delicious this beer truly is. Crisp, not aggressively bitter (that’s the job of the 90 Minute) with a nice piney flavor and aroma. But even beyond the flavor, this beer brought beer lovers together. Due to the limited nature of craft brews at the resort, if you saw someone ordering the Dogfish, you knew they had excellent taste. I began many conversations with fellow imbibers and we traded beer stories. I met home brewers and connoisseurs from all over the country simply due to theirs and my choice of beer. I know Dogfish recently pulled out of a few markets but if it is available to you, do yourself a favor and pick up a six-pack of a truly fabulous beer, 60 Minute IPA.
My other saving grace while in Orlando was knowing that I would soon be attending Great Taste of the Midwest. In addition to being very excited about the event, it will be the subject of my first post for the Chicago Beer Geeks. Be sure to stay tuned!