That is the hokiest title ever but kinda cute, in a way.

The problem with stereotypes is two-fold: you see an individual (a purple person, let’s say) and he acts a certain way and you think that all purple people are going to be like him. Or, you see a group of purple people and expect them all to act a certain way, based on preconceived notions from the one purple person you saw last week. As a white teacher in a school with a mix of Hispanics, Arabics, blacks and whites, I try to impress this upon the kids–don’t judge ALL white people (for good or ill) based on me and don’t think that just because this white person does it, that all do. I hope it sinks in.

I bring this up because I buy into stereotypes myself (who doesn’t?), one of which is that things in strip malls are gonna suck. This is because most of the stores I’ve gone into in strip malls have, in fact, sucked. So when Jeff and I pulled up into the parking lot of the strip mall that houses Sherwood Brewing Company, my heart sank a little. Shit, thought I. What’s this going to be like?

Much as the cobbler’s children have no shoes, so did the teacher who preaches against stereotyping have no clue–the place was great, beers were great, we had a super time. As always, we got a sampler which went as follows:

Dubliner Dry Stout. At 4% abv, this was a very easy drinking beer. This would be an excellent “gateway” stout for those who might be hesitant to try the dark beer. Since it was a dry stout (as opposed to an oatmeal or coffee stout), it was full bodied and smoky. Very nice roasted malt and a dry, smooth finish.

Production Line Red. This was my favorite! I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been on this “red” kick (note to any leftover Communist hunters from the 50s…red is a style of beer and does not define my politics. Thanks) as of late and this fit the bill. It was malty, with a roasty finish. There was barely any hop character to speak of and almost had a hint of “tea” flavor in it.

Mistress Jade’s Hemp Ale. I’ve had this beer at various beer festivals, so it wasn’t new to me. I have to confess that I am not a huge fan of the hemp “taste” because I had an awful experience the one and only time I ever ate something laced with hemp (I’m talking awful…like, rushed to the hospital almost died awful). So the taste brings back some horrid memories (including one that involved me being dead and spending the afterlife with Jason, my EMT…not that Jason was horrid, but I really don’t want my World to Come to be the back of an ambulance). Nevertheless, this beer is appealing because of its dry hopped character.

Grindstone Pale Ale. Light bodied, toasty flavor with slightly bitter finish. About 5.0% abv so not quite a lawnmower beer, but I wouldn’t say no to one after a day spent in my yard.

Alaskan Sister Wit. To my surprise, this was my second favorite beer. Normally, I am not a huge fan of wit beers but this was great! It’s a white-Belgian style but didn’t have the “Belgian” taste that I often don’t like. Rather, it was citrusy with hints of spices, including (I think) coriander. Nice dry finish.

Buxom BlonDDe ale. Let’s hear it and cheer it for the DD girls! This was the highest alcohol beer at 6.5%. It’s a classic golden ale that was well balanced, with a malty body and slightly bitter finish.

Something else that I liked about Sherwood was the numerous upcoming events that were advertised throughout the pub. A mug club member potluck was forthcoming and since I love potlucks, that appealed to me. There was also a ladies’ night (I think they would still let me in, despite the fact that I am not terribly lady-like), a chocolate & beer pairing for the girls (I do not care for chocolate but I might be persuaded to go to something like this), a comedy night & a blues & brews night. Also, check out the website for upcoming beer releases…wow!

So I learned something that day…to not judge something by where it is but rather what is inside of it. That’s a life lesson that I think everyone–beer drinkers or not–can benefit from.

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