Before our most recent “beer trip”, I facebooked about it. I am so glad that I did because my friend, (and head brewer at Arbor Brewing Company AND winner of Best in Show at the World Expo of Beer) Bill Gerds, suggested that we stop at the Great Baraboo in Clinton Township.
Way way way back in the day (before I met Jeff, before I came to Ann Arbor, before I wisely gave up the practice of law), some friends and I went to the Great Baraboo. I had no idea what “craft beer” was and certainly had no inkling of the role it would eventually play in my life. At the time, all I knew was that beer was just something you drank because it was cold and—not gonna lie—got you buzzed. I couldn’t actually say as I knew the taste of beer because all I had ever drank was “cold”. I do not remember my impressions of the Great Baraboo except that I probably thought the beer was odd because it had actual flavor, instead of just the lovely flavor of corny ice that so many macrobrews have.
Given my current knowledge of craft beer, I was excited to make my triumphant return. The first thing I realized was that I like my pubs dark. I had never thought about it before but I realized that the atmosphere of the Baraboo was perfect—sports games on television and dim lights. I think there would have been natural light—which is okay in a bar but not in a beer SNAP!—had it not been pouring rain outside.
Jeff and I got the sampler, which started with the Sharktooth Bay Golden Ale. I considered this to be the “gateway” beer of the place and found it crisp and light bodied.
The next beer was the Snake Eye Canyon Red Ale and it was scrumdiddilyicious! It was malty and roasty with a long lasting, creamy finish. Quite honestly, this was one of the best finishes I ever had in a beer…absolutely excellent.
Next was the King’s Peak Caribou Wheat, which was an American wheat. American wheats don’t have the strong banana and clove taste that a German Hefe might have…it is much more mellow. It was made with a 50/50 blend of wheat and barley and therefore did not have that “harsh” wheat taste that I often talk about. Nice, solid beer.
Boston Blackstone Porter came next and it was another standout for me. According to the menu, this recipe came from a recipe that the owner’s family brewed during Prohibition. It was creamy, toasty and had a full body. Excellent example of a porter style beer.
The Hoppy Heartland Pale Ale was a classic pale ale that I found to be sweeter than the other beers, with hints of caramel and some fruity/floral notes from the hops. Delicious!
The IPA was the “special” beer that day and was awesomely balanced in that it wasn’t overly malty and not overly bitter. It did have a bitter finish which was quite refreshing. Nice floral hops nose.
I always like to look at special events coming up in pubs and noticed something that I had never seen before—an upcoming ladies’ night with a Coach purse giveaway. The only designer things I really like in this life are Coach purses and so this caught my eye right away. I’m sure some ladies would object to this on principle but not me, sweetie pea.
If a bar was looking to get more girls in and spending money, this would be one way to do it. Fortunately for me, the beer was so good that I would go back in a heartbeat; the free Coach purse would just be the icing on the—er, the foam on the beer!