Saturday, November 13, 2010

BEERflections ~ Corner Cafe & Brewery 2nd Anniversary Celebration

It seems just like yesterday that I was cruising south on I95 to join Matt, Lisa, Jim, Juan, and others in the festivities celebrating Matt’s first full year brewing his beers for thirsty Tequestrians and beyond. Tequesta is an itsy bitsy sleepy town nestled between Jupiter and Stuart, blink and you’ll miss it. A treasure trove neither too big nor too small, Corner Café & Brewery is just right. Hidden from the casual observer within an old strip mall off US Highway 1, much like Tequesta, blink and you’ll miss out on some of the best food and beers to grace thine tremulous lips.

A veteran homebrewer long before he struck a fortuitous partnership with Lisa and Jim, Matt flawlessly translated his brewing prowess into brewing artfully creative and tastefully balanced beers for the lucky citizens of Tequesta. As promised for this most hallowed of celebrations, Matt crafted two special beers, one to delight the hopheads and the other to inspire the maltheads.

The first was a double IPA (India Pale Ale) aged on oak. Shimmering orange and golden hues, her fluffy pithy head eventually receded enough to free a lively nose of orange oils and zest, whole hop cones, pine sap, pine needles, and grapefruit rind with the white oak weaving them all together without overpowering. Within her tasteful confines I found a rightfully sappy sticky body bursting with fresh orange oils, zest, pine resins, and a lingering honeyed fruity sweetness underneath. Much like her nose, the white oak weaves in and out, slowly drying the palate without parching it. Lovely, simply lovely.

And for those who ride with our friend the malt, there was the Bourbon Barrel Milk Stout. An old friend, we quickly grew reacquainted after ample time to adjust to cozier temperatures for intimate indulgence. I first ran into Matt’s Bourbon Barrel Milk Stout at the 2009 Field of Beers and it pleases me greatly to say she hasn’t changed a bit. Dark and delicious, she caressed my tastebuds with melted caramels, chocolate truffles and nougat, vanillin, and finished with a slow soothing bourbonesque aura which left warmth in my breath and chest. A sensuous delight, nights fantasia are made of this.

Of course, Matt had his stalwart line-up of year-round brews flowing in good measure. Many a Gnarly Barley, Julio Jefe-weizen, Kaiser, and Terminally Ale were savored alongside their 2nd Anniversary sister brews. To avoid confusion and complications, only pints were poured that night, November 4th 2010, though on all other days one also has the heady choice of a 240z glass within which to savor the beery bliss.

Not that the beers needed help but any worthy celebration of good beer and good times demands good food, something the Corner Café has in spades. Last year’s inaugural celebration saw the carving of a whole roast pig while this year’s saw the return of not one but two whole roast pigs amongst other assorted nibblies. One didn’t have to eat at the Anniversary Buffet but for the sweet price of $20, you’d be crazy not to. While the full menu of mind-blowing tastebud-tantalizing burgundianvana was also available that night, I unabashedly raided the twice relocated buffet to partake of:
Whole roast pig (orange optional); Caribbean dolphin (white sauce based); Caribbean jerk wings (herbs, crunch, and just enough heat); beef sliders (for the plain janes); black beans and rice (always a classic); plantains (sweetly sautéed to melt-in-the-mouth indulgence); yucca (generously battered); sautéed mixed veggies (crisp and fresh); potato salad (mayonnaise based with a pleasant vinegar nip); cole slaw; fresh cut fruit; chips and Juan’s salsa.

Think that will be enough to tide you over? Well, if not or even so, no dinner is complete without dessert. Mom taught me well and it is a dining tradition this burgundian is more than happy to continue. For me, the brownie was where my lust lay, especially when partaken with the justly warm Bourbon Barrel Milk Stout.

A bite…A quaff…

Angels harped, cherubs trumpeted, and flavorvana descended as eyes rolled white and a low moan rumbled through my body from the very tippy toe to the tallest hair. Wow! Yum! I think I shall have another, please and thank you.

Sharing in the good times were a few random beer tasting peeps and former Great Spirits customers along with my Timmy-poo of JJ Taylor fame and my fellow Veroite, Eric. By sheer coincidence, I ran into Dan Oliver whom up until then had just been a voice and an email address during the course of promoting the now passed 3rd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest. But I digress. From three past noon to eve, taps relinquished beery bliss, notes were taken, flash flashed, food savored, company relished, and another milestone celebrated. I even got so lucky as to sneak a brief peek at Matt’s upcoming venture, his very own brewpub, Tequesta Brewing Company. Aptly located right next to Corner Café, the stars are indeed shining bright. With a brand new brewhouse ready to create beer magic any day now, a bar steeped in history, and a growler machine to end all growler machines, there will be far more southerly beer skirmishes to Tequesta in my near and far reaching future.

As exemplified that Wednesday, no amount of dreary Florida showers or a crippled muffler will keep Kristyn Lier from enjoying life to its utmost at any given moment of any given day. This is my life, and I am blessed beyond comparable words thanks to beer and the spirituous life I live. Holy mackerel and peanut butter, life is good.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

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