* * * *
Type: Yet more free beer!
Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Kelly says: For beer buffs
Also at the Hospitality Center, several times a day, you can attend the Anheuser-Busch Brewmaster’s Club, which turns out to be a fascinating opportunity to take beer a little more seriously than you usually might and ask questions about the sometimes subtle differences between brands.
The premise is that beer deserves the same high-falutin’ folderol that is usually accorded to wine, so there is much talk about “beer pairing,” although if you want to know how Bud Light holds up to a fine steak you’ll have to conduct your own tasting on your own dime. Here the fare is limited to little cubes of cheese, slices of fruit, and chocolate (yes, chocolate). The idea is a worthy one, but I suspect most people are lured here by the beer rather than the connoisseurship.
You and five fellow tipplers belly up to a semi-circular bar where a friendly bartender guides you through four “flights” of beer and pours samples into one of the four small glasses in front of you. You only get to sample one beer in each group, so of the 16 beers you will see, you only get to taste four — unless, of course, you cut a side deal with your neighbors to sample each other’s selections. Many people do just that. Even so, a certain amount of care is taken to assure that you don’t overindulge.
I’m not a big beer drinker, but I found the experience rewarding. There were Busch brands (some produced under private labeling arrangements) that I’d never heard of and beers (like blueberry flavored brew and sorghum beer) that I never knew existed. True beer lovers should not miss this one.
Samplings take place throughout the day. To guarantee a place at the bar, stop by the Hospitality Center early in the day and make a reservation. If you have kids in tow, they thoughtfully provide a glassed-in play area for the little ones.
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