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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Beer Snob visits Gentle Ben’s

    I’m a beer snob.

    I didn’t know this until just before the summer, when I told a man drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon that I didn’t know anyone who drank that stuff regularly. I had just met the guy, so the comment came off harsher than intended.

    In response, he went on a tirade about my lack of beer drinking experience. I sat there, caught off guard, and nodded the whole way through.

    By the end, he turned PBR into a beacon of hope for – and a symbol of – America’s working class. I then realized that we’re both beer snobs. He drinks under the pretense of a beer that signifies a socioeconomic phenomenon; I drink under the pretense that what I’m drinking is superior to what you’re drinking.

    I took my newfound and unfounded pretentiousness around Tucson recently to get an idea of what the city had to offer for home-brewed beers.

    I enlisted the help of my landlord and friend, Alex Causey, a recent mechanical engineering graduate, to taste the many forms of barley and wheat for this four-week project.

    We started close to the UA campus at Gentle Ben’s Brewery Company, 865 E. University Blvd.

    The host stand at Ben’s was empty, and after someone came over to greet us we decided to get out of the drab interior, one that no longer contains the brewing kettles for viewing pleasure. Since the owners of Ben’s also own Barrio Brewing Company, all the beer comes from their downtown location now.

    The patio was nice, despite the lack of cooling misters, with only ceiling fans to cool us off. We sat down at a shaded table and looked over the 10-beer menu that featured eight standard beers and two spots for seasonal brews. Everything you’d expect to find was there. The bottom half of the menu contained the darker beers and at the top is the other end of the spectrum, the light blondes and the high hop India Pale Ale. Causey started at the top while I started at the bottom.

    “”This is the beer that had to GRO a class,”” Causey said.

    He was sipping on his Tucson Blonde and likened it to Bud Light or Keystone. The waitress claimed the blonde was Ben’s specialty beer, one that was always recommended. I tried it, and yeah, it was bland. But the dark Nolan Porter in front of me had a lot of flavor. Sadly, the coffee flavor dominated the porter which lacked any remnants of hops.

    What came next were a standard Hefeweizen with a lemon slice for me and an IPA for Causey. They were both good. Better yet, the bill was miniscule. We were apparently drinking during happy hour, so the drinks were $3 instead of the usual $4 to $5. I paid the bill while singing along to the Led Zeppelin music in the background, and we took off.

    When we got back I plopped down on Causey’s couch and began to doze off.

    “”Next, it’s Thunder Canyon Brewery,”” I told him. “”I hope it’s a little better.””

    Causey agreed.

    I slept easily, knowing that my pretentiousness has every right to exist.

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