Several months ago, I attended a beer tasting at the Inn at Cedar Falls. Matthew Barbee, owner of Rockmill Brewery brought his four beers to sample and I enjoyed myself quite a lot. A few months later, during my time on the Experience Columbus, A Delicious & Diverse Culinary tour, I found myself pulling up to Rockmill Brewery for a tour of the brewery, more beer tasting and a chance to meet Matthew again.
Guess what? This time I was a little less of a beer novice and enjoyed the complexities of flavors in the beer even more than I did the first time. And Matthew remembered me which made me smile.
His home which is also the home of Rockmill Brewery is infused with golden sunlight that made me think of his beers and the different shades of gold they glow once they've been poured into glasses. Beautiful.
And...we got to taste a new beer that Rockmill Brewery is preparing to release soon. This fifth beer is aged in whiskey barrels from Middle West Spirits and the beer takes on some of the flavors of whisky which makes for a very interesting (and delicious!) tasting experience that I have decided is my new favorite of Rockmill Brewery.
Matthew encouraged us to try bits of various cheeses, bread and salted dark chocolate followed by sips of beer and to notice the different ways it brought out the flavors of each individual beer. It was amazing to me that beers are like wine in this way; there are beer and food pairings to make and the right pairing can make all the difference in the world. The gorgonzola had a noticable skimming effect on the Tripel; the beer danced across the tongue without even the barest hint of bitterness found in beer and left lingering notes of sweetness.
In addition to discovering that beer pairs as nicely with different foods like wines, I also learned that a brewery smells like baking bread. Oh my! I couldn't help but draw one deep breath after another when we stepped inside the brewery. In fact, I kept at it so long that I began to worry I might get drunk from drawing heady draughts of air! Matthew showed us around, discussing the beer brewing process and all of the steps involved.
I would love to share all the specific details of brewing but I'll have to direct your attention instead to the Wikipedia entry. My sincere apologies, but I must admit between the heaven scented air and the glass of the Fifth Beer I had in one hand and my camera in the other I wasn't exactly able to jot down notes on the process.
An engaging and generous host and an amazing glass of beer really do deserve one's undivided attention.