Friday, September 16, 2011

BEERflections ~ Harpoon End of Summer Splash @ Hurricane VB

Florida enjoys seasons that range from tolerably warm to hot enough to plastic-melting people-broiling hot. While others are frolicking amidst the leaves of Fall, September in Florida has yet to dial it down from people-broiling (I’ll take mine medium-rare please) to just plain hot. With tropical storms looming on the horizon every hour on the hour, Hurricane Grill & Wings of Vero Beach launched their Harpoon End of Summer Splash beervent with nonchalant flair. After all, there is no better way to slake one’s thirst than with a cool glass (note I said ‘cool’ and not ‘cold’) of tasty brew. Even better, how about seven tasty craft beers (UFO Hefeweizen bowed out) with each one a style all their own.

Of the seven draft beers pouring the night of Wednesday, September 7th 20011, four of them were brand-spanking new to the state of Florida. Previously only available in bottle (if at all), now one could savor these four delectables on draft which is 99.9999999999% always better than the bottle. The new draft selections included:

Belgian Pale Ale, Leviathan Imperial Rye, UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen, UFO White

Of the seven lucky offerings, yours beerly had never tasted the Belgian Pale Ale and Leviathan Imperial Rye. I had high hopes for both and while each were good in their own right, the Belgian Pale Ale dominated, a surprising turn of events not just to myself, but also to my fellow beerholic ryeholic friend, Rob. We both expected to melt into a puddle of beervana goo upon tasting Leviathan’s Imperial Rye depths…and we didn’t. Rich dark breads and fruits with a pervasive sprinkling of spice were the central focus while that dry spicy fruity husky gloriousness that is rye played second fiddle. All well and good, but it was certainly not a boisterous celebration of Rye. The Belgian Pale Ale on the other hand was a flavortastic repeat offender as one glass after another proved! Crisp, crunchy, spicy, fruity, and playful with sweet tropical and orchard fruit designs dipped in whisky steeped oak barrels while vines of piney hops linger overhead. Divine. As of yesterday there was still a smidge of Belgian Pale Ale left on draft, but not for long if I have anything to drink about it.

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As for the rest of Harpoon’s offerings, the Summer Beer was a nicely dry grassy example of the Kolsch style and a friendly contrast to the doughier tropically sweet example on tap from Matt down south at Tequesta Brewing Company. Both are good examples (American interpretation and Designation Controlee taken into consideration) of the minimalistic range in the Kolsch style which calls Cologne, Germany home. Although the Summer Beer weren’t served in the traditional Stange, Paula enjoyed her glass nonetheless. A proper first choice (with a little help from the Beer Ambassador of the Free World), her next glass was the clean and crisp IPA from Harpoon. While savoring some of the Northeast’s more delicate beers, I lament the fact that I am drinking them more likely than not far too long after their brewing and bottling and distribution than I should. A haven of brewpubs, the Northeastern cluster of states values fresh sessionable beer (with some big bad brews thrown into the mix for good measure), all of which are best enjoyed as fresh as possible and as close as possible to the original source. Don’t believe me? Find your closest brewpub, belly up to the bar, grab a glass brimming with freshly brewed beer, look, smell, taste, and contemplate.

Freshness digression aside, one beer geek ambassador extraordinaire a beervent does not make, and so I put a call out to my peeps and peepettes to converge on Hurricane VB the night of September 7th, 2011 and converge they did!

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It can be hard to make it in Vero Beach both as a new restaurateur and even as a long-term established veteran. My Hurricanes has had a few bumps along the way, but each time picked itself up, wiped off the dust, and became all that much better for it. While we may not attract Bobby Flay or Mario Batali, Guy Fieri DDD and Anthony Bourdain (insert guiltless hero worship “HERE”) would feel more than welcome within our cozy confines. Why? Because Hurricane VB defies the normal craptacular expectations one has from a franchise/chain not just once or twice but every single time. Long before others tried to lay claim to the original craft beer destination, Hurricane Grill & Wings of Vero Beach was already there, taps gleaming, flavorful beers flowing in diversity beautiful, while an eclectic menu of wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and so much more travelled from kitchen to plate to hungry patrons.


And that’s not just me blowing smoke up your ass. Long before my employment at Hurricane VB I shared many beers, many stories, and many memories hunched over the patron side of the bar. While my denizens of peeps haven’t crossed from the patron side to the employee side of the bar, they too know where to go in Vero Beach where everyone knows your name, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, but you go anyway because that’s what friends do. In-between supping my beers, snuggling with my Lady, snarfing my Southwester Burger, medium-rare, I mingled and socialized to my heart’s content.

With such amazing friends and my Love who have enriched my life over the years and will continue to do so, Prost!


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

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