Great beer is also about a place. It is about company, conversation and a moment, as much as it is about hops, quality water, body, taste and other physical characteristics. And it is about friends, those we’ve cherished a lifetime, or those we are yet to embrace. This Saturday, the Revolution and Beer crew will feature on our upcoming TV show, Singapore IPA, a lively and interesting beer from Saugatuck Brewing. We’ll be sharing it with new friends, in what can only be described as the perfect place.
It didn’t start out that way, at least not for the space. We had a cancellation, two no calls, and one flat out “no” while trying to find an alternate space to shoot the show. And it needed to be the perfect spot. We’re talking art and activism with a couple of local theater companies whose signature vision is on politics and community. Up to now we’d taped exclusively in bars and restaurants. Our Chef, AJ Francisco, tucking food/beer pairings in between his busy catering business called with this week’s menu. There was no stopping this train. I need to find a space, and fast!
I’ll admit to a little anxiety when I arrived home last night, all but empty handed. I hadn’t a clue where we were going to shoot the show this week. There was a six-pack of Singapore IPA from Saugatuck Brewing in the refrigerator, courtesy of Louis Glunz Beer inc. I cracked one open and poured it into my favorite glass-that elegant tulip shaped beer glass I’d carried like the holy grail out of Sarajevo during the war.
At a comfortable 7% ABV, I imagine it would have made the historic voyage from Europe to the Orient quite nicely-hence the name India Pale Ale, with a higher alcohol content that allowed the beer to make long sea voyages.The color brought to mind visions of sailing in some great sailing ship into an amber sunset. The aroma was of a raspberry sweetness, citrus and hops. the head was modest, a half inch, and a light cream in color.
I tipped back the beer and took that first taste of Saugatuck’s Singapore IPA. That first taste brought those sweet malts, finished with that grapefruit-like hoppy bitterness to finish in the most pleasant way. I quickly thought of the menu AJ had prepared for Saturday. He’d begin with golden spicy Asian-style Honey Wings.
“The wonderful bitterness from the Hops,” he told me over the phone, “will play against the citrus and sweetness of the chicken wings. For the entree I will pair a Grilled Steak crusted with coffee and; Ancho Chili. The coffee will pair well with the hops in the IPA.”
I was better than half way through the beer from Saugatuck when the idea came to me like a bolt. I recalled this out of the way costume and theater prop shop called Lost Eras not far away. The place had been there for decades, almost hidden in plain sight. The proprieter, a fiesty but sweet lady named Charlotte ran the place, which was stuffed to the rafters with every concievable sort of costume, mask and prop. It was more akin to a crowded attic bursting with untold treasure demanding to be explored more than shopped.
That would be the place. Taking another swig of the Singapore IPA, I couldn’t help a smile. I knew in an instant the guests from Democracy Burlesque and Stone Soup Theatre Company would be pleased by the setting. What could be a more perfect place. The last swallow of Saugatuck’s singapore IPA, with those rich and nicely balanced hops helped me catch my breath. I picked up the phone to make the arrangements…