Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dear Ben Franklin,

You were a very wise, though fabulously contradictory, man. Your benevolence in politics (and slave relations.. eee) is renowned, your philosophy is widely read, and your wisdom still rocks the constitution. You made so many accurate statements, but among the greatest of these was when you said that "there cannot be good living where there is not good drinking." Thanks, man, you hit the nail right on the head!

Historical address aside, I love booze. Not in a negative, alcoholic way, but in a fun, OMG-COLLEGE way, though those views are likely not that far apart. See, I turned 21 in Ireland while studying abroad. Awesome, right? Well, not really. The Euro is way stronger than the dollar, so buying the booze was a wallet nightmare. No one carded me because, though I don't really look 21, I definitely look over 18. Also, I had not really drunk before going on that trip (at all, really!), so I had no concept of my tolerances, including, for example.. wine (incidentally, I don't recommend testing your limits by drinking an entire bottle of red while on a beach more than a mile's uphill walk from your flat... oh!)

Now that I've been back in the States for about a month now, I've made a few forays into the bars. First, I went to ArtsFest up in State College. Dive bars, I found, are fun, but in a limited way. Nice bars, on the other hand, are outside my experience. Though I developed a fondness for Guin
ness while in Ireland, it's just not so good outside its homeland. So, I turned to Belgium! Delirium Tremens, a lovely though pricey beer, is a Belgian ale with pink elephants on the bottle. This beer is so classy that it comes with a glass.. this is no swigging brew! 

Of course, the best alcohol is that that comes free. Hence, my amazingly tasty, unexpectedly gigantic frozen mango margarita was soo good! See, I went out to dinner with my grampa and, it being only shortly after my 21st, he treated me to not only a delicious ahi tuna and berry salad meal, but also a fabulous, fruity drink. Now, I was not expecting 20 ounces... more like, you know, a reasonable amount like 8 or so. It took me the full two hour meal to get through this drink and, by the end, I was basically slurping it up so we could get out of the restaurant. Whoo! I'm not really sure how I feel about giant drinks.. or menus that don't list the drink size. How do others fall on this issue? 

My most recent alcohol experience was in lovely West Chester, bouncing around from the Pita Pit (if you aren't eating there now, GO) to Iron Hill Brewery (raspberry wheat microbrew and taste of a really sour apple martini) to Kildare's (Jameson and ginger ale, fuzzy navel .. 
yum!) One of my favorite things about alcohol is that there are so many flavors. Even the raspberry flavors are distinct from each other: my lightly raspberry wheat beer was worlds away from the raspberry framboise that I sipped at Kildare's. Both are valid, nuanced tastes, but completely different. Similarly, the nominally fruit flavored apple martini was artificially sour while my fuzzy navel was satisfyingly sweet and elaborately alcoholic. As much as I love fruity drinks, though, there is nothing quite so perfect as a well-crafted beer. Not overly hoppy or filling, but just the right balance of flavor and foam. Humble though it may be, Yuengling is easily one of my favorite beers for at-home consumption, though I haven't decided what my favorite on-tap brew is. 
Any suggestions? Post favorites in the comments section.

1 comment:

confiance said...

I only get upset at menus that don't list drink sizes when the drink is really small. Larger = better. After all, you don't HAVE to drink all of it.

Favorite on-tap beer? WOod Chuck, by far. Even though it is a hard cider and not a beer. Otherwise, some sort of Belgian white.