Last week I theorized that the events at NY Craft Beer Week got fancier and, therefore, harder to keep one's composure at as the week went on. Well guess fucking what? I was right. Yesterday was the event to out-drink all events; the Brewer's Bash at Eleven Madison Park. Six brewers provided their fanciest beers for a crowd of really, really skilled drunks. There were beer celebrities and the event planners who love them, brewers in scarves, and chefs in flannel. A couple showed up with their baby, and from the way people were treating this baby, it's a big baby in the craft beer world.
Of my favorites were the brews from Victory, Goosehead and, of course, Brooklyn Brewery. There were even traditional beer cocktails like the Brooklyn Mule (made with that sneak attack grain alcohol/toasted oat combo Brooklyn Blast) and Allagash Rose (Allagash White, apple brandy and my favorite chaser, grenadine). A brewer from Goosehead gave me a coffee stout that was so expensive ($200 per bottle which is roughly the price of the fake ID I bought in Chinatown eight years ago) that it didn't even have a name. It was the only one of its kind and he chose to give it to me, which, is nice, but to be honest it was the first beer I had that wasn't that great. I think it was just bad coffee in an unmarked bottle actually. Well... I hope that was a joke beer people play on each other sometimes, you know, just to keep things fun and stress free.
When beer week first started, I asked a few brewers to pour me something that I could play beer pong with. While most brewer's didn't know what I was talking about ("you mean Beirut?"), I noticed that this question was never well received. "Why could that be, Sarah?" I would ask myself. For years, the only reason I drank beer was so I could play drinking games. Do craft brewers think they are too good for Solo cups?
No one is too good for Solo cups, of course, thinking that would be just insane, but I realized that lovers of craft beer don't want to play beer pong because craft beer makes you sleepy and relaxed, like a vacation to Seattle or something. The high alcohol content and over stimuli of one's taste buds in craft brews make the drinker want to sit down and talk about the cobblestones in Germany or how nice people in Portland are. If I were to compare it to a sports drink, craft beer is coconut water and Milwaukee's Best is Gatorade. One makes you feel so awesome you can't stop talking about it and the other simply does the job and does it cheaply.
That's why, when I saw that beer baby was asleep on its mom's boob, I realized that craft brews are not special occasion beers, they are the beers I should be having everyday. With all the things I tasted all week, I know that there are so many more things to try, and these brewers are going to keep coming up with new pumpkin ales and honeycomb lagers. I had 16 of them everyday this week and never got bored. The Miller hi-life and Coors will always be my go-tos when I need to dance on a table or challenge the entire Zeta Beta Tau fraternity to a 1 vs. 18 game of flip cup, but it's good to know that anytime I want I can drink something that tastes like Thanksgiving instead of my eighth grade boyfriend's armpit.
So thank you, craft beer week, for teaching me that there are other beers out there besides PBR, but that they will never cost $2 in a tallboy can at Bar Matchless.