I couldn’t resist. I had to go. What of it?
While it’s no secret – obviously – that wine is my first love, beer isn’t really that far behind. And yes, I do tend to sneer at it from time to time, because, after all, it’s not wine!
The gang at Joseph James Brewing Company, located in Henderson, visited the Khoury’s store on Durango last week for a tasting of their lineup. I was so blown away that I actually bought two bottles of their top-of-the-line beer product. I’ll explain what I mean by that in a minute.
Jon, the Brewmaster, and his motley pouring crew, Josh and Matthew, were there sharing the beers and ales that they produce. From the outside, they appear to be just another artisan microbrewery. They, however, have an unusual goal: to make a tasty and satisfying beer for those who have Celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a condition where people are intolerant of the primary protein (gluten) in wheat and wheat-related grains, including barley, rye, and spelt. These folks can enjoy wine all day along, but have a real problem with beer. The gluten intolerance can cause anything from mild digestive upset to serious, life-threatening symptoms. It’s no joke. While it only affects about 2% of the population, it is theorized that there are many more who are undiagnosed because of the elusive nature of the condition.
While they did not have their sorghum-based beer available at the tasting, it’s good to know that there’s someone who’s looking out for those who love beer but cannot drink it.
However, they did have several beers there, and each one was delicious. Dammit. I’m always looking to do a smackdown of beer, but I couldn’t this time.
While there were a couple of beers that I arrived too late to taste, I did get to enjoy Hop Box, a medium-brown, cloudy beer with a lush texture, complexity, and long finish; Red Fox, their darkest, a robust Stout which is aged in oak; Tahoe Blue, a very hoppy pale ale that would be an excellent summer food beer; Alpine Whit, a wheat beer brewed with coriander and orange peel; and their oak-aged, super smooth Desert Dawn Barley Wine. Earlier I mentioned that this one is a beer “product.” This is so much more than “just” beer.
The Desert Dawn is an amazingly silky beer with complexity and interest. Smooth and lush in the mouth, the oak brought out nuances of vanilla, cream, and nuts. Delicious. Because of its unique brewing and oak aging, it can be put down for up to 25 years. So I bought two. I will probably buy more and break my own rule of not having more than one bottle of beer in the house.
Barley Wine is an English creation. The story behind the origin of Barley Wine is that when a baby girl was born, a batch was made in her honor and stored until her wedding day. The Barley Wine was a part of her dowry and was opened and drunk during the celebration. Jon corks, caps, and dips each bottle in wax three times to ensure a good seal. Let’s just say that it takes a little effort to get to the beer!
You can check out Joseph James Brewing Company at their website. They offer free tours of their brewery; just be sure to call them and make an appointment. If you want to taste their beers, they will be pouring at the Brews and Blues Festival at the Springs Preserve on Saturday, June 5. The Festival begins at 4:00 pm, and along with the Joseph James Brewing Company, there will be more a dozen local and regional breweries. Who knew there were that many in our neighborhood! Tickets are $25.00, $30.00 at the door, and can be purchased at the Reserve web site, http://springspreserve.org.
Joseph James Brewing Company
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