Mar 30 2011
About a month ago, our family of staff took a small road trip to Munster, Indiana to check out Three Floyds Brewery, home to our beloved Gumball Head, Alpha King, and our missed Pride and Joy. The brewery was hauntingly enchanting; the smell of fresh hops and malts, the hipster interns hauling great bodies of raw meat from storage to kitchen, the monstrous depiction of a voluptuous, fleshy woman standing amongst wolves, rats, and skulls along the side of two large train cars that were creatively stacked and used as office space, and, of course, the clean silver machinery that makes the magic happen. We were greeted by our friend Lincoln, director of sales for Three Floyds, who sported a long, wildish, peppered beard, bald head, and a sweatshirt with the skull and wings of Three Floyd’s logo. The tour was brief; it was early on a Sunday afternoon, the excitement and aroma from the brew pub was calling, and we were thirsty!. The brew pub is similarly intriguing; the walls were decked with the illustrations of the labels and other hardcore metal depictions, all coming together to solidify the fact that the world of beer has as much of an exquisite, rich, complex, and magnificent culture as wine does. And I haven’t even mentioned the beer.
True wine lovers often talk about “the romance” of wine tasting; that a wine is only as good as the experience you have when tasting it. That concept definitely has a home in the world of beer. I have never really had much of an ear for metal music, and my first encounter with graffiti art was in elementary school when my class studied Keith Haring, but the brew pub at Three Floyds combined these elements with their deliciously intriguing styles of beer, and it was absolutely euphoric. Their beers smelled of fruit, toffee, spices, earth, funk, skunk, malt, herbs, caramel, hops, chocolate, espresso, and bread; some tasted bitter, some were smooth, some made me think, and ALL were exciting. Personally, I had to digest the stimuli like a new drug; sit back and learn. But our go-to beer guy here at Just Grapes, Ben DeGroot, was right at home. He tossed around some lingo with Lincoln, related to the brewery’s love for metal and hard rock music, and even answered a couple of our staff’s questions.
As much I miss Three Floyds and can’t wait to go back, I know I have a little slice of “beer world” while Ben is with us at Just Grapes. He has provided us with a couple of new beers every month, most of which can’t seem to stay on our shelf for more than a couple days! He has also allowed us to become more than “just grapes,” he has added hops, malts, and barley to our focus, and his yearning for learning about beer is forever strong.
So stop by and pick Ben’s brain for useful and interesting tips for enjoying beer!