In an earlier report, I promised a recap on Hurricane Croquet and lobster on the rocks. It happened this past August on an island off the coast of Maine. Beer was present in adequate and diversified supply.
My 5-day beer laden course The Craft of Beer & Brewing is now listed for the 2012 Whitehead Light Station season. It is open to 12 participants. Arrive on the island July 27 and depart on August 1. This will be my fourth season of leading the intrepid on the journey now called “The Craft of Beer and Brewing.” Each year I present both fundamentals and new perspectives on the ideas and beers that are shaping the world of craft beer and brewing.
This past beer session season in August we encountered Hurricane Irene on our “leisure day.” It wasn’t all leisure as I laid away a selection of “session beers.” The idea was to explore the flavors and diversity that even lower alcohol beers can offer when you enjoy the outdoors, read a book, take a boat ride, go fishing, solve a puzzle, take a forest or seaside walk, enjoy diverse conversation. I lead with a stockpile of Maine Beer Company’s Peeper, Allagash White, Stone Levitation, Anchor Steam and Small Beer and Baxter Brewing IPA. Not all at 5% or below but none intended to slow you down – Unless, of course you were in the mood to on a day of leisure.
Hurricane Irene hit the island all that day. The idea of a boat ride and fishing excursion were scrapped. The winds were fierce, the waves high, the rain moderate and Whitehead Light Station where we all comfortably resided was secure with beer, food and warmth.
Determined to have a go at croquet we adapted to the situation in the small field a few hundred yards inland, surrounded by spruce trees and one lone mature apple tree in harvest. Historically, this had been the recreational field of the lighthouse keepers and their families in days long past. We pass noticing the wild hops someone planted decades ago for some obviously well know reason. The field was safe harbor from the wind and sea spray unleashed by the hurricane. Beers in hand and determined we set the croquet course amidst emerging mushrooms, underground rodent homes, wild grass clumps, fallen apples and mossy depressions. The wooden balls had their own ways of adapting to the terrain. We adapted as well with a beer in hand, enjoying the balmy warm weather that had been pushed up with the hurricane. It worked and there were several rounds of both the beer and the croquet kind.
Three days later on a calm evening replete with sunset, lobsters were boiled amidst the coastal rocks. The challenge: To find which beers paired well with fresh lobster, newly harvested corn and salads. We tried Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA and their Dissident 2010 Reserve Brown with sour cherries. Also in the mix were the classic Saison Du Pont, newly opened Maine brewery Baxter Extra Pale Ale and finally an original of sour beers Belgian’s Rodenbach Grand Cru. All paired well, depending on your mood, but I’d be remiss without having noted that the super tart Rodenbach Grand Cru was a first try for several participants and most took a liking to it – to their expressed surprise. From the giggles and smiles on people’s faces I could tell it was kind of like love at first sight.
After the lobster and sunset there was a reminder that fresh pies had been baked in the afternoon. It was a farewell pie and beer session in the making. I believe I can blissfully that there were one mango pie and the other an apple pie. We celebrated a birthday and pies paired with Dissident Reserve 2010, Black Butte Birthday Reserve, Sweetwater’s coffee beer Dank Tank, Saison DuPont, St. Bernardus Abt 12, St. Bernardus Prior 8 and Nectar Ales Black Xantus Imperial Stout. We all won out.
I’m looking forward to July 27 and welcoming the class of 2012 to Whitehead Island. Will you be there?
Interested take a look at the details on the Whitehead Lighthouse Station Course page. See their Photo Gallery.
For recaps of other Whitehead Light Station Beer Class adventures see:
In a fog, judging IPA and stouts at Maine’s Whitehead Light Station
Beer Lucky in Maine: Whitehead Island Beer Class
Whitehead Light Station 2011 recap: Trappiste beers & Hurricanes