Beer Journal: The High Life

09/28/2010 9:41 AM |

This is a page from Sarah Shanfields beer journal.

  • This is a page from Sarah Shanfield’s beer journal.

Dear Beer Journal,

I don’t feel so good today. I woke up with fudge in my hair, which isn’t too out of the ordinary, but it was really, really fancy fudge. I think it was vegan, and considering where I was last night, I’m pretty sure it’s organic.

This weekend was the kickoff of NY Craft Beer Weekend, beginning with Freaktoberfest on Friday at The Rock Shop in Park Slope. Folks paid 55 bones to come into this place and drink booze poured from taps attached to giant camping coolers. Everyone got a free glass and I was kind enough to provide the venue with blue Gatorade coupons for the morning after.

At the stroke of 10 pm—which, in beer time, is pretty late—there was a show put on by all of the sideshow performers from the Coney Island sideshow. I saw a guy hammer a nail into his nose and a pair of boob tassles fly off the dancer they were attached to, but not at the same time.

My favorite beer was and always has been Miller High Life, but these beers come from a different family than the Mid-western corn brews I’m used to. I discovered that most craft beers don’t taste fermented oatmeal mixed with an ingredient that makes me want pizza. On the contrary, craft beers are delicate concoctions that often taste like Thanksgiving. Sometimes there are notes of apricot or maple syrup, but for the most part, I found that craft brews invoke an emotion, whereas the only emotion I’ve had from PBR is the emotion of wanting to make out with someone who is only attractive by the glow of a distant street light.

The sponsor beer at Freaktoberfest was the Coney Island Brewery Geektoberfest, a lager that the bartender confessed had been dyed red to remind the drinker of Halloween. I have found, in my extensive experience with slurpies, candy and cough medicine, that red is usually the best flavor, and with beer it is no different. This beer tasted awesome; it was crisp and tangy and reminded me of bobbing for apples on my grandma’s lawn, which makes sense because I was drunk then too.

I met NY Craft celebrities Josh Schaffner and Jeremy Cowan, both bearded Brooklyners who know their malts. We immediately hugged, not because we were all wearing flannel, but because drinkers hug. Everyone at these events is so nice and friendly and didn’t get mad when the sword swallower from Coney Island spilled the Ithaca Brewery champagne brew all over their heads when she had a few too many. A price you pay to the party gods when you party with freaks.

The week has only just begun, and I can already feel the Southern Tier pumpkin ale seeping out of my pores as I eat these saltines and sprite. The events are endless, most of them free, and all of them well worth the price when you factor in the binging capabilities of the food and booze offered. This weekend there was a bike tour throughout Brooklyn with Williamsburg/Bushwick bike expert Matt Levy, tonight there’s a Brooklyn Brewery beer-off at Swift Hibernian Lounge, and there’s even a BOOZE CRUISE on Thursday.

Tonight I’ll be at Manchester Pub for their $3 beers, (which is the norm for many bars in Brooklyn and beyond for the week, check out the NY Craft Beer Week site to get details), and then after a few of those I’ll be off to d.b.a. bar for a tasting of Belgian beers paired with local Brooklyn cheeses (why does local Brooklyn cheeses sound gross?). And then I’ll go to Matchless for their happy hour, where I will sip on a Miller high Life and hope no one sees me. Wish me luck.

Good night journal!