Thursday, April 21, 2016

Beer Info Session Intrigues Craft Beer Newbies

I had a wonderful opportunity last evening to mix and mingle with some equally wonderful folks at JJ Bittings Brewpub in Woodbridge. The occasion was the first annual "Suds and Scholarships" Fund raiser whereby the Perth Amboy Kiwanis Club attempted to raise some money to help local kids with the high costs of going to college.

Bob D'Urso, the affable and jocular host of the evening, and his partners at the PA Kiwanis Club had arranged an excellent event which, for a nominal donation, saw attendees presented with a wide array of foods (the pasta dish was out of this world and worth going back for) and five different samples of beer from JJ Bittings' repertoire. 

Gary and his teenaged wife, Fran
Bob and his sidekick Gary Perillo (who was celebrating his thirty-first anniversary with his teenaged-looking wife Fran) had asked me to come down and do a brief presentation about beer and how to taste it. Free beer and free food? What's not to like? I'm there.

And I'm glad I was. I got to meet some very nice folks, like Nancy and Hugh, Karen and Sharon, Chris, Lisett and Junel and others. And all were very interested in not only the intricacies of tasting various beers, but in the historical aspect of this ancient beverage. If their post-presentation comments were any indication, the world of craft beer has gained a batch of new adherents.

With an abbreviated lesson in how to taste using all five senses, the assembly digested the first rule of beer-drinking: Drink what you like. Some liked the Victoria's Golden Ale, Bittings' transitional beer, some preferred Aldahat Amber. Some even sang the praises of the IPA, especially after learning the history of the style. But the consensus favorite seemed to surround the joys of Chocolate Cherry Stout, which many had never tried. And, lo, the myth of "those dark beers" being too strong was dispelled.

We played some trivia, too, the grand prize being a crisp one-dollar bill, won by Rosemary Oarsley, who claimed she guessed at all the answers. Yeah, right. She's a beer nut in disguise, I think.

Bob and company seemed to enjoy the session and promised to do it again, and Karen Barnes, President of the Woodbridge Chamber of Commerce, is interested in doing something similar with her group.

The more people get exposed to good beer, the better, and I'm happy to help.
Especially if there's free food and beer.

The PubScout

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