Monday 8 February 2010

Super Bowl at an Extra Special Brewery

I happen to be out here on Super Bowl Sunday. This is a big deal, I understand. Frankly, I know nothing about American football and have no clue about the rules, so when I was invited to a Super Bowl party the deal had to be sweetened with the promise of good beer. Thankfully, that's exactly what I got.

It all started in 21st Amendment's bar (which is a very cool place). I was in there drinking stupidly strong beer (it's Strong Beer Month) before midday. At some point I hear the lovely twang of a fellow British accent (albeit fairly Americanised). This happened to be Richard from Elizabeth Street Brewery, a homebrewer with bigger ambitions who serves beer in the garage of his house (for those on twitter he's @ESBale). Long story short, I ended up at his Superbowl party two days later in one of those serendipitous, of the moment, moments.

The football was shown on three TVs, including a 72" beast. There was great home-cooked food everywhere and three beer stations: one station for homebrew, one for a brewery called Cherry Voodoo and one for Rich's beer, including one he brewed with 21st Amendment. The homebrew was literally astounding. A 10% IPA was incredible, a Double Red rocked and a Belgian ale was very, very good. Cherry Voodoo had a few great beers too, including a 19% imperial stout (imperial stout meets cherry brandy). The ESB ESB (that's not a typo) and a 21A imperialised ESB collaboration were both fantastic. The football, however, I have no idea. I figured watching a game would clue me up but it didn't. In fact, I was more interested in the adverts, which were brilliant (check out the Simpsons and Coke - yes, together - ad, some of the Bud Light ads and the Google ad about a traveler to France).

I took along a bottle of Marble Special to share around and that's one special beer. Taking an American barley wine to the Americans is like ice to an eskimo but people liked it a lot. I thought it was truly excellent - big but smooth and easy drinking, hoppy and fruity and bitter, so well integrated and balanced for a beer like this drunk fresh.

Richard from ESB wants to open a commercial brewery and I truly hope he does - beyond the beer he's the perfect host and face of a brewery. He's a great guy and from what I hear a lot of people know his beers and know him. I think he'll do very well.

Sometimes cool things happen. This was one of those times. A chance meeting in a bar, a few beers, an invitation, a one-off experience. Beer is good like that.


  1. "imperialised"?

    Totally agree about Marble Special - it will be interesting to see how it ages.

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  3. Hope you tried a Bud Light Golden Wheat during the game. It was advertised during the game therefore you have to tell us about it.

  4. Wow. That sounds like an awesome party! I'm super jealous.

    Don't worry about the football. My Colombian wife has no idea either and we've been married 13 years.