Part 2: John finally got me to say yes!
So here is my experience entering a brewery for the first time. I wasn’t sure what to expect, what to wear, and, most importantly, what I would drink. Honestly I didn’t know if they served food, if they had other alcohol (yeah, I know a brewery means beer), I was going in blind. So I got dressed and we headed to my first brewery. Well, first off, I realized that I was way overdressed. Attention ladies and gents, you don’t need to wear anything other than what you are comfortable in. Secondly, I figured out that they only serve beer. And, lastly, it was nothing like I had envisioned it to be.
So we enter the brewery and off on a tour we go. A what? Yes a tour. I looked at John and he knew what I was thinking, “what the hell is this crap?” John later explained to me that all breweries in the state of New Jersey are required to make every patron take a tour in order to taste the beer. And, unbelievably, every time you enter a brewery, no matter how many times you have been there, you start with a tour. So after a 5 minute tour, I found myself totally surprised, yet enthralled with the whole thing. The warehouse-like, big brew area was surprisingly really cool and interesting. I was looking all around taking it in, saying “Wow! the beer is actually brewed in those big shiny different shaped metal vats.”, and yes, I now know they have names other than “shiny vats” which I will get into in another article LOL. So off to the tasting room we go. How cool and awesome these tasting rooms are! For those of you that have been to one, you know what I mean. They all have their own theme, most that I have been to are very trendy, rustic-like, and have their own off-the-beaten path type of decor. Some have tables, others have beer barrels, some have picnic tables, every tasting room I have entered is very unique. But, in my experience, they all provide that down-to-earth homey atmosphere for tasting locally made craft beer.
So now I am into it! I am ready to get my first taste of fresh-brewed craft beer. John says to me “we will do a flight.” A flight? What the hell is a flight? I have no idea what that is, but I trusted my husband and just stood next to him trying not to look too confused while he asked the bartender for one. So the server grabs this wood plank looking thing that has 4 perfect mini glass holders, and starts to write in front of each glass holder the numbers of the beers John chose. First, why are they writing on it, and, second, is that a permanent marker? Ok, so they write on it so you know which beer you are tasting and, yes, the marker wipes off so the planks are reusable. This made me happy because I could already see John’s giant pile of wooden planks he would keep as souvenir’s of the brewery placed around the house as “art”. So what is a flight? A flight usually consists of 4 – 6 small glasses holding only about 4 ounces each of the beer you chose to taste and they fit perfectly into those little glass holders on the plank. So John grabs the flight and off we go to a table to give them a try.
All of the beers that John chose were different. They each had different colors and smells. He was trying to explain why they all looked different and started spitting out Beer types, words I had heard before but had no idea the definition of. Stouts, lagers, IPA’s, double and triple’s, wheats, Belgians, and others. I was so confused! So I asked John to stop with his yapping and I just started tasting them. To be honest, the first few times I went to breweries I wasn’t sure what I liked. I typically drink vodka, so this was a palate changer. I would taste and say “yeah thats good”, then I would taste another and say “no I don’t like that.” I couldn’t remember what I tried each time we went. John would say “you liked this, so you should like that”. In the beginning I would let him order for me and that’s what I drank. Every time we went, he would encourage me to taste his flights and ask, “what do you smell, and what do you taste?” It has become a really cool thing we do. I love smelling to see if I can figure out the hints and notes of the beer, and, as I have become more understanding of the types of beer, have begun to develop likes and dislikes and can recognize them immediately.
I look back now and see how far I have come, especially being so reluctant in the beginning about craft beer and breweries. Please, don’t be afraid to give it a try! The next time your significant other, or a friend says “lets go to a brewery” don’t snub your nose at it like I did in the beginning. I think everyone should give it a try. Just the atmosphere alone will suck you into the brewery life, it is like no other drinking experience. Please give it a try, you wont regret it! It has become one of my favorite places to hang out and see all the great people I now call my friends.
Next: What the hell is a Growler?