Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BEERflections ~ Bells Brewery Tasting @ Hurricanes VB

Good beer and good times ensued Wednesday, February 10th from 7pm to 9pm at the Hurricane Grille & Wings of Vero Beach, FL. The good beer? Bells Brewing out of Comstock, Michigan.

I had known about the tasting weeks in advance which ensured a steady build of anticipation and excitement. Each day that passed brought me ever closer to Bells beer bliss and Hurricane wing snarfing indulgence. Out of all the wing joints in town, Hurricanes is still my personal favorite for quality, consistency, flavor choices, and the chunkiest blue cheese dressing this side of Florida.

Even better than succulent finger-friendly chicken wings is a glass of beer to pair them with. I’m not talking your average macro swill but craft beer with the occasional artisanal import tossed in for good measure. Details past, after a months long dry spell of lackluster beer choices and dismal tap rotation, Hurricanes VB is back in the game and playing strong. I was there that evening to drink Bells beer and lots of it, but my wandering eye couldn’t help but notice the long row of gleaming tap handles that included the likes of:
SN Glissade. Brooklyn Lager. Anchor Porter. Arrogant Bastard. Cigar City Maduro. UFO Hefeweizen. Sam Adams Noble Pils. Abita Purple Haze.

Diversity of choice is the spice of life, and it’s good to see it back home at Hurricanes where it belongs.

Beer is always better when shared with fellow beer geeks. With a Bells tasting on the front page this time, I immediately set about assembling a posse of beer peeps and wing nuts to make merry and drink the night away. Looking back, we accomplished that mission and then some, further proof that Vero Beach is home to a growing group of mature fun loving adults who know how to appreciate good beer and good food.

But I digress.

My thirsty peeps and I descended upon Hurricanes and promptly commandeered the bar. To my left, to my right, and even behind me were familiar faces aglow with cheer, glasses and tasting cups in-hand. Bells Amber and Two Hearted flowed from the tap in a steady stream while Tim generously shared tasting cups of Bells Hopslam, Oberon, and Kalamazoo Stout to my thirsty posse and to patrons on the floor. The night flew by with nary a hitch that I can recall, and it was a raucous celebration when the Bells Two-Hearted keg blew. No worries though. A back-up was ready and waiting for its turn in the cooler of beer fame.

I was having so much fun that final call blew on by without ruffling a single hair on my head (not that it’s hard to do). Inbetween, I savored a glass or three of Amber and Two-Hearted along with tasting whatever Hopslam, Oberon, and Kalamazoo pours came my way. Not sure how, but somehow a mostly full bottle of Kalamazoo made it to my hands…and never left. Sorry folks, she is too good of a beer to just say no.

While performing his duties as Bell Brewery Ambassador, Tim dropped by to say hello and shoot the breeze for a few. Looking around me, and not just at my killer posse of beer peeps, every single person I saw tasting the beers had a smile on their face. Tim’s mission was successfully accomplished and then some: open people’s eyes, nose, mouth, and mind to the beauty that is good beer with flavor.

A moment please to honor the Bourbon Apple Glaze adorned wings which were lipsmackingtastic. Just the right amount of brown sugar and apple married with bourbon and set to finish with a solid kick of spice. Remember the chunkiest blue cheese dressing this side of Florida? It was there until I ate all of it, and I do believe a fork was involved.

All good times must end so that others may begin. Slowly but surely I bid rosy-cheeked farewells to Rob and Cathie, Mike and Paula, David and friends, and certainly not least, Patrick. In rare form, I even out-stayed Tim who bid farewell along with his cohort in tasting, Ron. Fun was had by all, and though beer is to be taken seriously at times, that doesn’t mean we have to always take ourselves seriously. I’m starting to find that a friendly communion between the two works best.

With the bar to ourselves, Nicole and I caught up on girl talk since the last time we saw each other. Nicole is THE bartender for me, and I have no qualms calling in advance to see if she is working. No matter how good the beer, it is the person behind the bar who ultimately creates the atmosphere of enjoyable liquid libation. For me, it’s all Nicole. Girl talk over and the evening fading fast…or was that me…Nicole set about closing and I headed home to my kitty, PJs, and some Glenlivet 21yr Archive. Apparently my apartment threshold has the magical ability to instill energy once lost. A movie later, the bed finally called and I indubitably answered.

Something that sticks with me even now is their newly adopted motto: live with flavor. I must say that Hurricanes is certainly putting the flavor back into life and the life back into flavor. I look forward to an enduring future of pint diversity and generous wings.

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


  1. Awesome review, event, wings and brew! Hurricanes, Nicole and Kristen are my favs! Thanks!

  2. I was there Wednesday...who was there Friday?

  3. yeah...apparently my mind was telling me one day and my hands typed another. but that's part of the beauty of online publishing: easy to fix ^_^