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Perhaps it is my Italian heritage in combination with my travels. Or perhaps, and this is just as possible, I simply like to drink but regardless of the reason, I think there is something very civilized about having a beer with lunch. I have been thinking about quick lunch dates and why they’re so quick. The kind of lunch where a friend calls and wants to ‘grab a quick bite’ en route to some errand or other. The quick bite lunch where an ice tea or soda is quickly slurped down through a straw and food is chewed hastily in between the conversation’s exchange.
I reflected on my travels: in Italy, lunch isn’t lunch without ‘un vino rosso’. Though the wine is a simple table wine, you’d be surprised at how strange it can come to feel lunching without one. Similarly, in Japan an ice cold can of beer or a home brewed plum wine could easily be procured and seemed to round out, not just the meal but the whole experience of the meal. And so determined to practice a more civilized lunch I grabbed a friend and headed to Evolution Craft Brewery and Public House in Salisbury, Maryland where an abundance of good brews and food awaited.
I always have a hard time picking what to drink when eating because the beer is part of the meal rather than a stand-alone entity. It should enhance the experience as well as harmonize with the food. Making my decision even more difficult is my inclination to go for a limited release option because I feel pretty sure that I’ll miss out on something really cool and well, limited. After a good 10 minutes of staring at “The Boards” on the wall and at the beer menu in my hand, I decided on Secret Spot Alt Ale, a scrumptious seasonal that I await and cherish when it appears each winter.
It is an old school altbier-esq German; smooth, warming, malty sweet, and hoppy bitter all at once. And as it turns out, this style of beer has a history steeped in lunch with friends. Stemming from southern Germany, altbiers are meant to be enjoyed for any occasion, particularly over meals. I don’t wait for my lunch to arrive before tucking into my bronzy and warming beer treating it like the first course and once my bisque comes, any hint of a winter’s chill vanishes altogether.
Civilized diners take chances
My friend ventures into the unknown (to her) and orders the new Silky 6. This is a variation of one of Evo’s mainlines, the Lot 6 Double IPA which has been conditioned over fresh lemongrass and is brewed with Amarillo whole leaf hops. It is fragrant and has just a hint of bitterness providing the perfect complement to her smoked duck salad. Refreshing and bright yet complex enough to remain interesting to the end.
And so, an hour and a half later, we said our goodbyes. What a nice lunch we had leisurely sipping on our beers. Lingering a little longer than we had meant to and really savoring the whole experience of beer, food, and each other’s company. How civilized.