The last thing I thought I’d be shouting in front of a group of dozens of women at a beer event on a Wednesday night is, “A pubic wig!” But often the most spontaneous things end up being the most memorable.
Last week I had the pleasure of experiencing my first Crafty Ladies Beer Club meeting at Highland Tap & Burger. The Crafty Ladies have been going strong since the group formed in January 2011. So strong in fact, that all the spots usually fill up within hours, if not minutes, of going “on sale” (it’s actually free to attend but ladies must sign up through Event Brite to secure a seat). Last week’s meeting featured Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Elizabeth from Firestone Walker lead the event and brought some wonderful beer-food pairings for all to enjoy.
We started with Double Barrel Ale paired with mustard that was made with the beer (and crunchy pretzels for dipping). While I didn’t care for the beer, the mustard was excellent. Next was the Pale 31 with an orange & greens salad with a Pale 31 vinaigrette. The Pale was pretty good, but there wasn’t enough dressing on the salad to be able to taste very well. The third pairing featured my favorite Firestone beer, Double Jack IPA–I can’t say enough positive things about this extremely hoppy double IPA. And the smoked tomato soup made with the beer was to die for. That was by far my top pairing of the evening. Being a vegetarian I had to pass on the next food item, which was pulled pork sliders, though I did enjoy the Walker’s Reserve Porter that came with it.
And now it’s time to talk merkins. Elizabeth informed us that the next beer was Velvet Merlin, an oatmeal stout. When this beer was originally brewed, its name was Velvet Merkin…until Firestone Walker was forced to change it due to customer complaints. “Does anyone know what a merkin is?” asked Elizabeth. One of only a few, I raised my hand. She then called on me to share my knowledge with the group–a group of women I’d never met. On the spot, I replied, “ A pubic wig.” “Yes, a pubic wig,” she echoed as she continued to talk about its historical significance. The crowd roared with laughter while one woman at my table said, “I had no idea there was such a thing.” Fun times. Anyway, they changed it from “Merkin” to “Merlin” after apparently offending certain consumers. The Velvet Merlin was paired with brownie bites made with the beer–my second favorite pairing of the night. Finally came the 15th Anniversary Ale, a barleywine which was quite tasty. Again I skipped the food course, as it was S’mores, and marshmallows are not veg-friendly. But the beer itself was sweet and rich enough to be dessert on its own.
I had a great time at my first Crafty Ladies event, and I plan to be a regular attendee as long as I’m able to get on the list. I look forward to sampling and learning about beers from different breweries from Colorado and beyond.