This week we're counting down to our favorite All-American food. Today we're looking at No. 2: Beer.
What it is: If you drink beer, you have something in common with the ancient Egyptian Pharoahs. Beer has been brewed for at least 7,000 years, and with every pint, it just keeps getting better and better. Beer has been credited with successfully treating illnesses and providing much-needed nutrition, but it's the flavor and fun of beer that make it our second most favorite all-American food. According to the Brewers Association (a group that includes 1,700 U.S. breweries and 36,000 U.S. home brewers), more than 410 million gallons of craft beer were sold in 2012.
Where we went: Chappy's Tap Room, 2733 West Alex-Bell Road, Moraine; (937) 299-7427; www.chappystaproom.com. Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Chappy's has a beer club -- drink 100 beers for a lifetime of happy hour prices at any time on any day.
What we had: With so many beer choices, we were glad to see Chappy's offers samplers for a reasonable price.
Chappy's Choice Malty sampler, $6: The choices change frequently, so here's what we got on our visit:
Fat Head's Sorcerer, 9.1 percent alcohol. A dark, almost electric red that conjures up memories of fruitcake. "That is a wizard of a good beer!" Sandy said.
Ohio Brewing Buckeye Blonde, 4.5 percent alcohol. Smooth and very tasty. "It's definitely lighter than that Sorcerer, but possesses its own magical properties," Sandy said.
Abita Lemon Wheat, 4.4 percent alcohol: If life hands you lemons, then make lemon beer. "This is a great drink for the summertime," Sandy said.
Revolution Mother of Exiles, 5.2 percent: Not your average pilsner. It has a pleasant grassy flavor but there's no mowing involved. "Oh my!" Connie said. "I thought you didn't like beer," Sandy quipped. "It's the least beery of the bunch," Connie said.
Chappy's Choice Hoppy sampler, $6: When those sampler glasses were empty, we quickly decided to try the sampler of hops-based beverages. We got:
Bear Republic Black Racer, 8.1 percent alcohol: Very dark ale with a sweet aftertaste. "Tastes like licorice!" Connie said. Sandy disagreed, saying it's not quite that sweet, but it does taste syrupy. In either case, it's delish.
Green Flash Hop Odyssey, 8.5 percent alcohol: "Oh!" Sandy said. "It has a very distinct, familiar flavor, but I'm menopausal so I can't remember exactly what it is." "I think the flavor you're thinking about is grapefruit, with maybe some oranges mixed in," Connie replied.
Dark Horse Edacsac, 6.5 percent: Grassy with a hint of floral. We asked, "What the heck is Edacsac?" The beer maid explained it's "cascade" spelled backwards. We nodded, like we understood, which we didn't. "A bit bitey," Connie said.
Yellow Springs Breaking Edge, 6.9 percent: A slightly-bitter-but-nevertheless-lovely IPA (India pale ale) that's locally produced. "Oooh! I like that!" Sandy said. "Me, too!" Connie said. "I'm groovin' on the citrus taste!"
Cellar #8 Merlot, $6.95: Better than a bowl of black cherries, with a hint of currant. "It's smooth and delicious and smells a little like Maxwell House. I would drink it with quiche or maybe scrambled eggs," Connie said. "It's not beer, and we're here to sample beer, Missy!" Sandy replied. "Stay on task!"
Our favorites: "Fat Head's Sorcerer gets my vote. The taste is pure alchemy!" Sandy said. "Well, the Green Flash Hop Odyssey is my very favorite because it tastes like a voyage to the subtropics!" Connie said. "But Revolution Mother of Exiles came close to an overthrow."
Also, we loooooved the shirt our server was wearing. It says "Real Women Drink Beer" and is available for $15 in S-M-L-XL-XXL in light gray, dark gray and black.
Final thoughts: "What I've learned is that I prefer malts over hops. Hops taste like soap, and malts taste like beer!" Sandy said. "I don't quite understand your soap thing, Sandy. I would say that malts are sweet, hops are bitter," Connie replied. "I don't like one over the other. For me, it comes down to the magic of the individual beer."
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