Tuesday, February 22, 2011

BEERflections ~ Field of Beers 2011

Ever had one of those days where all that ingenious planning comes crashing down into a steaming pile of Murphy’s Law? Well, for Laura and I that was the day of Jupiter Beer Fest’s annual celebration of food and beer: Field of Beers. Last year was my first stroll down this particular burgundian lane, and as I watched many a wobbly reveler, flashes of my own previous largesse flashed before my eyes, though thankfully not the stomach. It’s idiotically easy to be caught up in the nonstop moment of fantastic food ala fantastic beers with the field of dreams as your center stage. Vowing not to revisit Hangover Hotel, a quest of modest and wholly worthy gastronomic beervana was our mission.

Clear skies. A moonlit night. Merriment twinkling in the air. Love in hand. Perfection.

Birds fly south for the winter where I live year long, Florida specifically, for that all important sunshine and humidity. So I would like to ask why it is in traveling miles southward did the thermostat move not up but down, and quite drastically I might add. Good grief! Grab the long johns, mittens, fuzzy caps, and brace yourself as we should have done. Goodness knows Laura and I love our beer and our food, but it’s hard to savor the moment with frostbite tapping incessantly on your shoulder.

Between car troubles and work troubles, neither of us got home as early as we planned. Adversity is just another side of the coin called opportunity and so in no time flat we were styling, profiling, and on our way. Being a night of pleasurably measured excess, we booked a room at a hotel close by but apparently not the hotel closest by thankyouverymuch Mark and Cindy. We will definitely look into your night of residence as it is within easy walking distance versus easy driving distance. Speaking of which, open mouth, insert foot, and do not remove. A personal theme of mine that night for whatever reasons my scattered brain can patch together. Humility I’ll probably never live down is humility all my own since I am its creator. Goddess bless my Love for she had the patience of a saint that night, yes indeed.

Finding the exit was relatively easy and given our late arrival, surprisingly so too was finding a parking space. It wasn’t long before we passed through iron gates wrought with burgundian providence to receive our gilded glass soon to runneth over with beer. Rising into the beckoning light, a voice announced the singing of our national anthem. Laura and I looked but never did find the elusive presence of patriotic song. Once done, it was on to the stuff real American dreams are made of: beer and food. I find it exquisitely appropriate that by all means of chance our first destination was none other than Matt’s of Tequesta Brewing Company and Corner Café. On tap was Arsenal, a fine English inspired IPA exuding old world class and new world ingenuity. Her partner in taste was the quintessential pub classic with a twist, Arsenal battered fish and chips. Fried right before the eyes and served in a paper cup, it was the perfect finger food accompaniment for what was the best beer at this year’s Field of Beers.

In my opinion of course and my opinion matters dangnabbit!
But let us not get entangled in semantics.

Last year I bravely tried to taste every beer and savor every morsel. Hehe… I seem to recall some moralistic bauble along the lines of ‘one person’s bravery is another person’s tomfoolery’ so dress me up and call me The Fool that I was. Not this time though! I left that foil to others, best of which were Mark and Mark. Oh yes, the eyes have seen and the ears have heard, you naughty naughty boys. I also recall some other moralistic bauble along the lines of ‘one person’s misery is another person’s amusement’…

But we aren’t here for the goose or the gander. We are here for the Green Tea Cured Salmon paired with the inspired Local 1 being poured by the one and only Rich Nowak, local friend and longtime confidant to Brooklyn Brewery out of…you guessed it, Brooklyn NY. Good people tend to gravitate around good beer and Rich is no exception. Feeling the gravitational pull of good beer was good food and it was on the south side of Brooklyn that my own personal foodvana descended as I ascended upon the succulent green tea infused melt-in-the-mouth salmon flavor high. A self-professed seafood and sushi fanatic, nothing has ever quite rocked these tastebuds to heights untouched as they were that night. So good, so heavenly, so flavorgasmic I had to sneak a second helping of her bite-size sensation.

A moment please…

Never one to be left out of anything beery within her sunshine state, Cigar City Brewing was there with the personally coveted because I never got my hands on any White Oak Jai Alai IPA. Matching oak for oak was the La Caja China, a Cuban classic which reinforces my belief that any animal cooked whole truly reveals all the inner and outer carnivore delights that would otherwise unfortunately be missed. Embrace the bits, all of them. But back to the beer at hand. Second to the Arsenal from Tequesta Brewing, the White Oak Jai Alai IPA was our close second favorite beer of the night. I love white oak and I love beer and my Love loves the hop. No more need be said.

Before I wrap up these rambling threads of reminiscence, a few other burgundesque indulgences stand out. Saint Somewhere Lecto Divinia paired with wood fired flatbread topped by local Loxahatchee, Florida goat cheese, and fresh fig compote was seamless flavor genius. The Kobe Beef Sliders were bite size morsels to melt in your mouth with and without the tomato. And last but certainly not least was the mac and cheese, a comfort food classic to warm our chilled bodies.

As frostbite continued to knock knock knock on our door, we decided twas time to wrap things up. That and Field of Beers shuts down at 9pm anyway; a three hour love affair of beer and food is more than enough time to savor and rejoice. Hearts and bellies sated. We shivered back to the car, bidding farewell and good night to the dimming lights of Roger Dean Stadium.

Supposedly this year’s Jupiter Beer Fest (Field of Beers is the opening act) was far more organized and enticing than last year’s with better and rarer beers to be had. But beer fests are everywhere now. Between beer + food and just beer, if I had to choose, I’d stick with the former. Until next year, cheers!

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

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