Saturday, April 19, 2008

420 Hop Fest at the Beer Engine

Yesterday, my friend and I went to the Beer Engine.


or about two weeks I kept coming across cool information about this beer festival that they would be having this weekend. At first I planned to check it out after going to the Earth Day festivities at the Metro Park Zoo, but I gave that plan up after hearing repeatedly what a nightmare it is to get there and back on this particular day.

Today's pretty booked with work and Waterloo Road fun, plus I figured it would be a busy day at the restaurant itself, so I decided to head over for lunch. I was ambivalent about the food, though the multi-mushroom risotto sounded interesting.

But what I was really interested in was checking out Randall the Enamel Animal. According to the scientific beer geeks, Randall the Enamel Animal is an "organoleptic hop transducer module." For educated (but not freakishly so) people, the Beer Engine folks refer to Randall as a "
giant filter cartridge housing packed with fresh whole leaf hops." For everyone else, it is this thing that looks like a big, tall blender, packed with hops (and sometimes apricots), that keg beer is run through for the purpose of making the beer even hoppier. Remember, this is Hop Fest, after all.

Randall was supposed to be there from the beginning of the festival (which started Friday morning), but had not made an appearance when we were there for lunch. We had respective business to attend to in the afternoon, so we settled on different beers and ordered up some food. I ended up going with the beer battered chorizo bites instead of the risotto -- it seemed more fitting.

Anyway, later that evening, we meet back up, planning to check out the new opening at SPACES. If you end up checking this exhibit out, please be sure to give yourself plenty of time to take in Patrick Robideau's brilliant installation. I'd love to see a whole show of his work. (Note, I did see my moronic, mean-spirited artist that likes to pretend she's not an artist when she receives compliments and chooses to deal with them by humiliating the person who gave it. I totally snubbed her. Take that.) We do so, but are in and out pretty quick. So we decide to see if Randall has shown up. Drive back over to Lakewood, and confirm he is indeed in the house. We order ourselves a pair of Dogfish beers (the Beer Engine has a special list of about 20 or so especially hoppy beers for the occasion, but only 2 different beers are being run through Randall), drink them, pay and head out. The beer did the trick, though, and next thing you know, my car is magically steering itself over to Bela Dubby, where we get a Left Hand Milk Stout and the Magic Hat IPA. Then we head over to Tremont, where I'm again tricked into going to Prosperity, this time to drink mojitos and get screwed in a bowling game obviously invented by a fifth-columnist feminist. (More on that another time...)

After I managed to navigate an escape from Hipster HQ (i.e., the Prosperity), we walked over to Tremont Tap House, a choice in no small part influenced by Alexa's recent post, as well as past write-ups by the Free Times and Cleveland Foodie that made my mouth water. We went with the calamari and the soprasetta pizza. Unfortunately, my tastebuds were long gone (the Doggie Style ale I ordered there didn't help much), and the culinary experience wasn't as subjectively amazing as it probably was objectively delicious. That failure was entirely on my part, so I'll definitely be back. Besides, the prices are waaaaay reasonable.

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