Tasting with the Experts

This column is about meeting the “experts.” I ventured out and interviewed the beer managers at a liquor store and a restaurant. I tasted great beers and learned plenty about the drink.{{more}}

At Racebrook Wine and Liquor World, I met with Mike Smith the beer manager. Liquor store people are very knowledgeable about their products and Mike was no exception. In general, he likes cans more than bottles. “Beer’s enemy is light so cans keep the beer fresher. They are also easier to transport especially now to boats and pools.” Many more beer makers are putting their beers in cans. Beer can now be bought in logs. Instead of large kegs that are heavy and hard to transport you can get a log that is equivalent to 2 ½ cases of beer. Mike thinks “the beer stays fresher and is easier to keep cold.” The store has a large selection of beers with most of them already chilled and offers a good selection of beers that can be bough individually. The store also offers “make your own six packs.” They have a good selection of beers that can be bought individually. You can try a variety of beers and then buy more of the ones you like.

Tastings With Mike

Leinekugel, Summer Shandy, Wisconsin, $9.29/6 bottles. This is one of the best selling beers for the summer. It has a lemonade flavor with a balance of sweet and bitter. In this summer heat it is light and refreshing. Sam Adams also has a shandy called Porch Rocker.

Brooklyn Summer, $9.29/6 cans. The beer is lighter than other summer ales. I thought this was delicious, great alone or with food.

Sea Hag, New England Brewery, Woodbridge, $9.29/6 cans. This is a strong spicy beer. Darker in color than the others with that full bodied flavor, great with pizza.

Watermelon Ale, Thomas Hooker, CT, $9.29/6 bottles. This beer smells like watermelon with a fruity and light taste. On those hot days this beer would be refreshing.

Workers Comp, Two Roads Brewing, Stratford CT, $2/bottle. This beer is called a Saison. It is medium bodied traditional ale with flavors added. I thought this beer was creamy and full flavored with a balance of hops and sweet. I had this with a lobster salad and wished I had another. Good to the end.

I had a great time talking and tasting with Mike. I learned a lot and you can too. Stop in!

Prime 16 is a recently opened restaurant located at 464 Boston Post Road. The restaurant is noted for its craft beers and good food. I met with Marc Signore who is a certified beer server and the craft beer manager.

Listening to Marc is like listening to a wine maker in France, as knowledgeable about beer as he is passionate. He is the one that educates the wait staff about the beer, tastes and food pairings.

At any time, there are 30 types of draft beers listed on a board with the alcohol content next to it. You can even sample any of the drafts before you order one.

Each beer is stored in a log under the bar so the connection is simple and keeps the beer fresh, cold and clean.

On Tuesday nights from 9 to 10 p.m. the restaurant offers beer tastings in the bar. This place is a winner for anyone who loves beer- or not!

Next Column: My Tastings With Marc

Contact Rita with your comments and recommendations at Cheers06477@gmail.com.