I made a big mistake on Friday. I not only planned on a certain beer, but I announced to the brewery that I was using that beer and embarking on a campaign to increase that beer’s visibility. The beer in question is Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace, a wonderfully zesty saison with enough fizz and citrusy overtones to make you think that the brewery was trying to create a Cava. These intentions were motivated by an interview I read on Thursday night with Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy. During the interview, he noted that Brooklyn Lager generates 50% of the brewery’s sales. There’s nothing wrong with that but I like a lot of their other beers better. Also earlier this month, I did a demo for the brewery at a Pathmark across the street from Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn and people were genuinely stunned at the Summer Ale; most didn’t know that Brooklyn brewed anything other than the Lager. On the one hand, I wonder if Sierra Nevada and Anchor have parallel problems with their Pale Ale and Steam beers respectively swamping the rest of their portfolio; OTOH, it’s a nice problem to have.
So what was the mistake? I presumed that we had inventory of the Sorachi Ace at West Side Market, East Village. After getting my cheese from my coworker, a French triple cream and a camembert like cheese, both perfect for the Sorachi, I rushed into the beer aisle and discovered that we had only two `12 oz bottles and one bomber of Sorachi. That’s a far cry from the healthy inventory levels I saw on Wednesday. Maybe our shoppers are already up on the delights of the Sorachi. I could have sampled one of the 12 oz bottles, but I’ve gone down that road before unhappily. Several months ago, I sampled the Parallel 49 Toques of Hazard, an IPA/Wheat Beer hybrid from Vancouver and it went over very well. Too well in fact, we sold out midway through the bottle and several people were disappointed. The disappointment continued when I learned that the Toques is a seasonal and wouldn’t be available again for months. We have other pale wheat beers that sell well, but I don’t like letting people down.
Anyway, my Plan B was the Almanac Golden Gate Gose, a similarly light refreshing beer with so many citrus notes and so much effervesence that one might confuse it for a sparkling wine. The triple cream, Cremeux de Bourgougne charmed people, which rich buttery French cheeses are almost guaranteed to do. It’s richness paired perfectly with Gose; and illustrated the larger point that super creamy cheeses are ideal companions to all sparkling wines too. The Roucolouns was not as rich but more herbal and fungal, so I put it on a slices of a walnut raisin bread. This combination highlighted the lemony elements at the finish of the Gose.
As is often the case on Friday late afternoon/evening people were in weekend mode and slowed to taste and consider. I love sampling beer that isn’t stereotypical in that situation. It was great fun to watch people’s faces light up when I told them that Gose has roots in Germany. It’s so different from a Lager or Pilsner. It underscores the variety of flavors in the wide world of beer. Sunday I may have to focus on more conventional beers, however. As I made my final circle back down the beer aisle, I saw that we were down a single bottle of the Gose.