Tasting just one perk of working with world-class beer

Amber Englebert - Copy Editor

Amber Englebert – Copy Editor

Amber Englebert

There are perks to working at a place that sells world-class beer. For instance, the need to “know the product” means that I always have an excuse to try as much beer as possible, to better my selling abilities, of course.

But this “excuse” perk is nothing compared to the employees-only beer tasting Pizza by Stout had last Sunday. I was, for a few hours (especially by the end of the night) in my own little beer heaven.

Of course, I tried many, many a beer, so I can’t remember them all. In fact, at one point trying the beer began to feel like a chore.

“Should we try this one?”

“Sure, whatever, crack it open.”

But there were a few beers that stood out to me and made my tongue very happy.

The first that must be mentioned is a Belgian amber called Pauwel Kwak. Kwak is perhaps one of the best Belgian beers I have ever tried, and I’ve tried nearly all of the Trappist ales at this point. It comes in a close second with Chimay Blue for distinct flavor. The taste is immediately recognizable. If I had a blind taste-test, and this beer was involved, I would have no trouble recognizing it. The beer is mildly fruity, malty, and sweet. One co-worker of mine called it the Dr. Pepper of beer. I wouldn’t call it soda sweet, but it is definitely sweeter than most beers I’ve tried. The bad news is that I haven’t seen this beer in any stores in this area. However, it can be ordered online for $9 to $10 for a 25 oz. bottle.

One beer that will be available at Pizza by Stout soon, as well as being available online, is Felinfoel’s Double Dragon. Double Dragon is a pale ale from Wales, and while it isn’t the best pale ale I’ve tasted it is very solid in its flavor. The hops hit fast, so there is an immediate bitter flavor, but it finishes clean. No lingering bitterness.

Finally, I want to advocate a beer mixture that is not sold in any bars or pubs in town at the moment. Consider this a do-it-yourself project. Purchase one bottle of Lindeman’s Framboise (available at May’s).

Lindeman’s is a Belgian lambic, meaning that the beer is fermented in the open so that yeasts in the environment will float into and ferment the beer mixture. In the case of the Framboise, raspberries are added to the beer during fermentation. The beer is sweet and fruity, and tastes like raspberries.

Purchase one bottle of chocolate stout (also at May’s). Although the chocolate flavor isn’t strong, chocolate stouts are smooth, and not as bitter as their imperial cousins. Any chocolate stout will do.

Have a glass ready. Fill one half of the glass with the Framboise, then take a spoon and, making sure the stream hits the spoon directly on its convex side, slowly pour the chocolate stout into the glass. If you do this right, the stout should float on top of the Framboise. Take a sip. Like a dark chocolate covered raspberry, isn’t it? You’re welcome.