I was asked an interesting question the other day:
“What frustrates you?”
First things that came to mind: clothing left on the bathroom floor, stop and go traffic, tedium, ignorant shallowness.
I answered the question, but wasn’t satisfied with my answer. So it kept pecking at my mind, like a woodpecker on an old tree. Thankfully, I found myself experiencing frustration later that day. (Wierd, I know. I’m a nerd and think too much.)
We had heard a new brewery in Golden was opening its doors. On first impression, Barrels and Bottles was authentic and full of craftbrew romance. With several garage doors and windows rolled up, the building seemed to stretch out a welcome, beckoning fresh air and new friends. Tables hewn of rough barrel staves cried “we’re the real thing!”. And the din of friendly conversation, compliments of a packed room, confirmed we must be in the right place for a good time.
They only had 2 of their own beers on tap. We ordered one of each and wiggled some room on a bench. With much anticipation, we sniffed… and sipped… and looked at each other quizzically. We expected the rye and blond ales to evoke descriptors of fresh or malty or nutty, but all we could think of was… toilet water.
Just in case we were wrong, we looked across the knotty table to some fellow customers. They concurred: skunky, metallic fizz was posing as an excuse for craft brew.
I felt the frustration welling up within me…
And then I wondered, why frustration?! Why…?
Because it didn’t make sense: the brewery owners had to know how bad their beer was! The 20 guest taps comprised a delicious, eclectic, and sophisticated collection, so I knew someone there had a trustworthy palette. This made the whole scenario all the more strange. Why didn’t they refuse to serve the bad beer, citing high standards or a desire to offer only the best or a fictional sob story about barrels leaking? I just couldn’t understand.
Aha! A small personal victory: the brewery helped me see that what frustrates me is not understanding. (Maybe that’s why I couldn’t let go of that question… because I didn’t feel like I had a grasp around what frustrated me… and not understanding that about myself frustrated me… driving me to this revelation and this post. Ha! Talk about going meta on this whole thing.)
Why, oh why, must such a seemingly decent establishment defame the name of beer like this?
What’s more, after having chewed on it for another day, my perspective has evolved to include thoughts like “Should I have said something to the owners?” “What if they really are clueless?” and “Why don’t I have the capability (or the requisite lack of social grace) to interview the owners or hunt down the reasoning behind what seemed like a poor decision?”. So sadly frustrating.
That all being said, as a tenacious optimist, I can’t end this post on such a depressing note. So, I leave you with two thoughts:
- Given the delectable selection of guest taps, I’m hopeful Barrels and Bottles knows good beer and therefore might brew tasty suds themselves one day. So, perhaps if we give them a few months and offer a second chance, we might find less frustration.
- They did have an amazing contraption I’d never seen anywhere else: a hops fusion tank. While it looks like something out of a mad scientist laboratory, it’s pretty straight-forward. Simply pour any beer through the tank, let it sit for a few minutes, and voila! It’s now bursting with dry-hopped freshness! We tried with Colorado Native and, let me tell ya, it was delicious! I usually am bored by Colorado Native… but not with the beta acids of fresh hops added. Mmmmm mmmm, good. That might make it worth the second-chance trip in a few months, too.