There have been many moments in my life where beer was involved that I look back and think “Why on earth did I do that?”. It would not be wise to share most of those moments on the internet for all to see, but will confess to a guilty beer pleasure I discovered the time I took my family on vacation to San Diego last year.
We starting the trip driving down from our home on the San Francisco peninsula, and after a morning of driving, rolled into Paso Robles a little before noon on a Monday to stop for lunch at Downtown Brewing, located in the main square in the center of town. For some odd reason, I ordered the one “chick beer” they had on the menu, their Blueberry Ale. You know what beer I’m talking about, the one on their tap list for those who would otherwise get something like Coors Light or Corona if it were available.
Maybe because I was thirsty and at that early hour, just wasn’t ready for an IPA, Stout, or some of the other styles they had on tap. The waitress brings it out and there’s a bunch of blueberries in the light golden brew swirling around at the bottom half of the pint glass. It looked like one of those Asian inspired tapioca pearl drinks you see junior high school girls slurping down at the local mall. Thank goodness the place was pretty empty and only my wife and kids were there to see me drink this totally unmanly foo-foo girlie beer. My nine and seven year old kids laughed and pointed to the blueberries, and I forced myself to laugh with them, but the whole time I’m thinking “Why did I just order this?”.
I braced myself for something sickening sweet, but the blueberry flavor was really restrained, with only the barest of sweetness and provided a great accent to the light ale. Subtlety and balance in a light refreshing ale is an underrated thing of brewing beauty, and if you asked me, Main Street nailed it. Sometimes beer works in mysterious ways and this odd looking concoction was exactly the beer I needed to regenerate before continuing our journey south.
So if someday you find me hiding in a dark closet clutching an empty beer glass with dark blue stains on my hands and face, you’ll know why.