Welcome to: Taryn and Lucy’s Beer Club

Picture this, if you will: early January. Lucy and Taryn are sitting in a booth at The Groveland Tap. Lucy is wearing her power outfit. No, it is not a pant suit; no, it does not involve heels. Quite the contrary, actually—she’s sporting long underwear covered by windproof pants (albeit with holes, rendering them partially ineffective) and a purple down vest. Some items never go out of style, while some items are never actually in style. Lucy’s wardrobe epitomizes the latter category. Taryn, to her credit, has made more of an effort. Or something.

Even in our most disheveled moments (think holey windpants and, between us, four pairs of long underwear), we try to do this at least once a week—drink happy hour beer, eat greasy food, talk about inane subjects, and impress everyone else in The Tap (okay, maybe not that last thing). This particular evening, the conversation wanders from Beyoncé to the polar vortex to our usual existential crises before taking a turn—appropriately and yet unexpectedly—toward beer. After all, we’ve got two brews in front of us. And neither of us can really talk about what we’re drinking. The dialogue went something like this:

Lucy: “Taryn, how’s your beer?”

Taryn: “I dunno, good, it tastes like beer.”

Lucy: “Yeah, mine too. It’s hoppy, I think? I just like beer. A lot.”

Taryn: “That’s why we do this.”

Lucy: “We should write about beer in The Mac Weekly.”

Taryn: “Okay.”

And so Lucy and Taryn’s Beer Club was born. The plan: each week will bring a new bar, a new beer, and a new buddy. Neither of us knows much about beer; we just know that we like it if it isn’t Hamm’s. But we figure that, with enough trial and error, we might actually understand what it means for a beer to have “rich aromas of apricot and grapefruit jams, baguette, and pine needle with a chewy, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a long, lush, grilled turnip, peppery arugula, and honeyed grapefruit hop flourish,” as the Laurelwood Brewing Co. Workhorse India Pale Ale is supposed to, according to one lucid magazine review.

Or maybe not. Maybe that’s just a load of bullshit.

Either way, we’ve had some great conversations over brews and tots. To draft this first column, we went back to the Tap. Lucy ordered a Tallgrass Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat (KS, 6.2% abv), a stout that tasted approximately like sweaty buffaloes. Taryn had, after a long debate, the Big Wood Morning Wood (MN, 5.5% abv). We learned that it’s a coffee stout that actually uses Dunn Bros coffee, which seemed promising. Upon contemplation, Taryn decided that this beer tasted like beer at the beginning, beer at the end, and in the middle, a little like a campfire. This was yet another admonishment to Taryn to buy beer NOT just based on a title that makes her giggle.

A half a beer and a lot of chipotle aioli into the conversation, these gems came out:

Lucy: “I know a lot of people who don’t give a rat’s ass about beer, and that makes me mad.”

Taryn: “Yes, I am Furious; Furious is me.” Apparently, Taryn heartily identifies with her favorite Surly.

There is something to be said for genius revealed during happy hour. It’s not always reliable (rarely reliable, actually), but it certainly is entertaining. This same genius produced the rules for Lucy and Taryn’s Beer Club. Future special guests will have to agree to these rules before joining us on our beer escapades.

  1. Beer only. No wine, no cocktails, no shots. Water only after beer.

  2. No repeating beers – try a new beer every week.

  3. Guests and columnists alike must answer all awkward questions. Veracity, however, cannot be
    guaranteed.

  4. Complaining is stupid – you’ll drink it and you’ll like it.

  5. No stress in Beer Club. Check your thesis at the door.

  6. Stop at buzzed?

  7. Limit dairy. See rule #1.

With these rules firmly in place and an evolving list of dream invitees that includes Brian Rosenberg (goals that are made public are more likely to be realized, we have been told), we settled our bill, tipped with a combo of quarters and Uruguayan coins, and charged out into the polar vortex (charged is a euphemism because it took Taryn eighteen minutes to put on her gloves, find her hat, fall over, get up…). Next week, we will travel into the dark Minnesota winter wasteland in search of good beer, weird bars, and the best interview that happy hour can facilitate. Until then, we leave you with the motto of Beer Club: beer = life.