Happy Hour Brewing Style

So the other night Vanessa (of the famed brew crew) and I went out to happy hour at a local establishment that we both enjoy. Vanessa, with her love of flavors tried some different cocktails and consistent me, stuck with my usual neat whiskey (don’t judge… I didn’t feel like a full beer, and sometimes you just want something really intense…)

Vanessa’s happy hour experience was much more exciting than mine. She poured over the menu for more than a few minutes to find the cocktail that fit her mood at that moment. It was about finding the right flavor combination to complement (or counteract) the day she’d had, and the evening that would come. Unlike me (consistent, boring me) on our next round I went back to the same whiskey. Vanessa, on the other hand, had moved on to something else entirely. It struck me that our happy hour was very reminiscent of how we brew/cook. Here I am, getting the usual whiskey I enjoy. Sitting, sipping, and in my mind trying to see how much I can pick apart what I’m experiencing. It’s the same with my brewing. I like to study and understand the traditional beer styles. We brew them repeatedly until we get them down pat (much to other people’s dismay).

I don’t know if it’s the familiarity that comforts me, or because when I’m obsessing over something, I can’t do anything else until I have taken it apart, and attempted to put it back together (or can’t… sorry about the vacuum, Mom…). I must understand its inner workings forwards and backwards. Vanessa on the other hand likes to experiment when she brews/cooks. I’m sure I’ve mentioned in other writings her affinity for putting fruit into beers, but this experimenting goes beyond just the brew day. How else can we expand and highlight a certain beers character? What if we make it into a beer cocktail? Or cook with it? These are things that have never occurred to me until inspiration strikes her. Then, when she mentions it, the ideas start to flow.

One of the things I like about brainstorming with Vanessa is that she is not afraid of bold, nor is she afraid to take risks. I don’t always agree with an idea she has, but I’ve learned to trust her instincts, and as I begrudgingly go along, more often than not, I’m very pleased with the results (just don’t tell her that… damn… I wonder if she’s subscribed to my blog…).

In any case, what about you? When you go out, do you always gravitate to the same thing (or beer style), or do you throw caution to the wind, and see where the night takes you? Do you find this parallels with your brewing/cooking style? Let us know in the comments!

Until next time. #RespectTheCraft

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