“There is an old Celtic axiom that says ‘Good people drink good beer.’ This is true, then as now. Just look around you in any public barroom and you will quickly see bad people drinking bad beer. Think about it.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
One of the most vivid memories of my twenties was craft beer, it sparked a passion and appreciation that grows each day. I am a formally trained Chef/Pastry chef and have worked all of my life in the restaurant industry. I have come to love beer in some of the same ways I love being a chef; it’s personal, ever-evolving and practically limitless. It is the ultimate expression of creativity and one’s self, it is exciting and stimulating to all of your senses, but with all of its wild, creative freedoms it is one of the most refined, delicate, and technical skill sets to take on.
It was July 2007 and having just celebrated my 21st birthday I was ready to claim my right of passage and (legally) buy my first beer. I was living on Long Island, New York at the time and after scoping out new and interesting bars I had come across one boasting 160 beers on tap from all around the world called Croxley’s Ale House- I had to go! I decided to meet a friend there for a belated birthday drink one night. At first glance the menu was foreign, extensive and overwhelming. Knowing nothing about beer, I had no inkling as to what I did and didn’t like. I wanted to try them all, but to save my wallet (and my liver) I decided to pace myself and narrow it down to 3 beers for my first time.
The first beer I ordered was a Guinness. (I know it may not seem like a very adventurous choice but I had never tried it and my friend assured me it would be the perfect beer to get my feet wet.) With my social drinking swag having been beer pong quality pale brews & colorful cocktails, Guinness had been the only beer I associated with “craft beer”. I ordered the pint with a shot of Chambord as per the bartender’s suggestion; it was called a “Black Widow”. The beer was smooth and rich and the Chambord perfectly accented it’s chocolate notes.
The next beer I ordered caught my eye mid-sip as it breezed past on a servers drink tray. It looked like Ruby champagne with a flirty pink head that was beckoning me to order it. I asked the bartender what kind of beer it was and he simply replied “Raspberry” However vague I was intrigued enough to give it a go. The beer was none other than Lindemann’s Framboise Lambic. I fell instantly in love with it! It was bright. bubbly & tart. There was mild yeast flavor tucked away in the background that was the only thing that was reminding me that I was drinking a beer.
Finishing the last sips of my “Raspberry” beer I began scanning the large single bottles for my final selection. It was a 8.5%, it was Belgian, it was Delirium Tremens: The Pink Elephant. As the bartender placed it in front of me I actually began to feel nervous; almost as if something big was about to happen to me. I put the glass to my lips and as I swallowed my first sip I smiled from ear to ear. This beer was clean, bright and spicy-different and delicious. As it warmed me with each sip I knew I was changed. Gone were the days of Steel Reserve & Natural Ice! Buh-bye Bud Light! Hello High ABVs! (Ahh yes this would also be the day where I encountered a beer with an ABV higher than 5% Thank God for Taxis!)
After that day I never looked back, I may not have held onto the friend I shared this experience with (who unfortunately did not share my enthusiasm.), but I did hold on to my love and fascination with craft beer. I was inspired to continue to try new beers of every kind, start home brewing and creating my own take on some of my favorite beer styles. The more I got involved with beer the more enthusiastic I became. I started reading books about beer as well as writing about it. I aspire to become BJCP certified, and while I don’t know if I will ever be an important or impactful figure in the craft beer industry I hope to be a good representative and role model for women looking to be involved and associated with this industry.
Years may have passed since my first encounter with craft beer but to this day Belgians are still my favorite style and Delirium Tremens is still one of my all-time favorite beers. It holds such a special place in my heart. I still purchase it and all of the other delicious brews the Huyghe Brewery has to offer. I suppose friends will come and go, but good beer lasts a lifetime.
You can find Trish on Instagram at scottrish_