Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm Not Cheap When it Comes to Beer, but There are Limits

Friday night we took a voyage up to Whole Foods in Dublin. The journey had a specific purpose. When we walked in the market we went past the produce and saw a very lengthy line of twenty somethings holding empty wine glasses. Must have been wine sample night.

The place was crowded. I really think the number of drinkers was more than the number of people doing their shopping. There were groups of people wandering the aisles, drinking wine. If it helps business by turning a supermarket into a pickup spot one night a week, who am I to be cranky about it? I just was not prepared for the crowds, or at least not expecting a bar when I was shopping for tea and a specific beer.

Rockmill Brewery is located in Lancaster, Ohio. It opened up in September and makes four beers. All of their beers are made from organic products, including grains and hops. Their beers are made in a Belgian style, which made me sit up and take notice as I think Belgium makes the best beers in the world.

Yes, I know Pilsner Urquell is my favorite, but Belgium makes the best variety. If I had to drink the beer of one country for the rest of my life I would choose Belgium.

We chose the Tripel, which is rather pricey, and their most expensive at $16 for a 25oz. bottle. (the other three cost $13)

After negotiating past a belching hipster in the parking lot, and a trip to Jeni's, we made it home and opened the beer.

It had all the right components of the Belgian Tripel - the aroma, the color, the lace of the foam on the glass. Beautifully balanced in flavor with an appropriate for the style alcohol content of nine percent. Honestly, a dead ringer for one of the world's best, made in Lancaster, Ohio. I give the brewers top marks for this and will try the others as soon as I recover from the visit to Whole Foods. I'm glad this brewery's approach is to keep the quality at a top level without going completely over the top with exotic ingredients and excessive alcohol and hop content, like Dogfish Head does. Their production is so limited it is only available for retail in a few spots in Central Ohio.

I'm still a bit concerned about the price point. While shopping today I price checked Chimay Tripel, and it costs $11 for the same sized bottle. I admire Rockmill's commitment to quality, but when your product costs five dollars more than an authentic Trappist Ale, you may want to reconsider your pricing. It's obviously not an every day beer, at least it should not be! It would be nice to be able to afford it more than every few months.

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