This past weekend saw a lot of rain and grey skies — rain that was very much needed in our area (we were almost in a drought), but rain that also put a damper on many weekend plans, including our annual tradition of going to Capitol City Oktoberfest. Rainy days are often associated with warm tea, a blanket, and watching movie or television marathons. All viable activities. But, I’ve also found that a pint of the right beer in the right setting can be just as comforting on a rainy day.
Our area ended up getting more mist than rain on Saturday, so my husband and I decided to have our own miniature beer festival and walk to a nearby bar. We chose our local World of Beer, which has an excellent beer list, but is 50/50 in terms of atmosphere. This is a place I make sure I’m no longer inside of after 9:30 PM so I won’t be yelling over a live band and roaring patrons. I’m young at heart for many things, but very much a cranky old lady when it comes to loud bar scenes.
When we went inside, though, it was quiet even by afternoon standards. We tucked into a corner and had a nice view of the grey sky outside. The menu had a lot of good choices, but I ultimately selected Founders reDANKulous, an imperial red IPA that recently won gold at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. After one sip, I could see why — it was wonderfully hopped without being too aggressive, and had excellent sweet notes. I detected the usual citrus and pine, and even a little bit of maple. These flavors, combined with the beautiful ruby red color, made it a perfect accompaniment to a cool Autumn day.
It’s an unwritten rule that you can’t go to a bar with over twenty rotating drafts and only get one beer, even if that first beer was 9.5% ABV. As such, I decided to go a little lighter, choosing Weihenstephaner’s Hefe Weissbier. This one is reasonably easy to find in bottles, but a little harder to find on draft. It did not disappoint. It displayed a nice, hazy golden color that brightened up the gloominess outside. It was also thick with the signature flavors of banana and clove, proving a nice, sweet, but still light treat to follow my strong first round (and the brunch tacos I’d consumed along with it).
Eventually we had to settle our tab and make our way out, especially as more people came in to watch various sports games. But even without the cup of tea or the warm blanket, I felt happy and cozy that rainy afternoon. A good beer, in a good place, with good company, can do that for you; even on a cold and gloomy day.