My favorite hophead recently used the phrase “brown studies” and I took it to mean a connoisseurship of the good things in life that happen to be that color: you know, like beer and whiskey. Turns out I was wrong, and it actually refers to that sort of mopey daydreaming we’re all inclined to, especially coming off a hard winter such as we have had here in Chicago.
With the Chicago winter slowly but surely releasing its grip on our city, the sidewalks in front of our University Village store see more traffic now than they have for months. With those crowds come new faces, and many of our shoppers recently are new neighbors and first-time Lushes. This is always exciting for me, because that is exactly how I found Lush myself, having moved into Roscoe Village at around the same time our second store did.
Two questions I have:
1) Can one appreciate beer without being a “beer drinker”?
2) Could I be allergic to beer?
So. I was optimistic. Three good run-ins with beer:
First, I had a taste of Founder’s Blushing Monk at a party. A Belgian-style ale, fermented with loads of raspberries. It weighs in at a whopping 12.3% alcohol, though it doesn’t seem like it. This beer could really sneak up on you — so delicious and not heavy at all. A perfect combination of sweet and tart, with lively bubbles and an underlying graininess that supported the raspberries quite nicely. Great, wonderful, bring on more beer.
This is a saying that the French use when discussing Burgundy: it is the man who makes the difference. Although the French system of classifying vineyards is based on the idea that pieces of land are better suited to certain grow grapes than others, this does not detract from the sentiment that it is the winemaker who is ultimately the determining factor in the quality of the wine.
I have to admit that I am crushing hard at the moment…
Coming off an entire week of grumpy, grumbling and gross weather and stress, this week has been a welcome change…as if a switch actually flipped. So, to celebrate my elevated mood and sunshine, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things that I am incredibly excited about at this very moment. And, yes, it will probably change in the very next moment, but right now is good for me.
Wedding season is descending upon us. The LUSH indoor/outdoor event space will be debuting soon. With a patio and wine by the glass (finger crossed for the licensing to hurry up!), we will be BYOFood and even more fun than ever. And, we can throw even better parties. Woot, a party!
Fear and trembling complement awe and wonder, as anyone who has ever witnessed a violent summer storm will tell you. But what about when it comes to wine? For me, my first few days spent surrounded by bottles that did not belong to me were wondrous and fearsome indeed. A newly minted Lush, I paced the shops a victim of sensory overload, wondering how soon I would remember the labels, the names, the grapes, and prices of the wine that lined the shelves. It was a lot to remember. I admit that those first few weeks I would wake at night, my mind swimming with the appellations of Bordeaux, or the names of the Noble Varietals mingling with nightmares about dinosaurs.
The classes that we teach here at Lush always require a good amount of research and preparation on the part of our staff, but this upcoming Cabernet Cage Match (3/10, University Village Lush) has me doing even more work than I had anticipated.
Fortunately, all that extra work has been of the eager, voluntary variety. Truth be told, Cabernet Sauvignon varietal wines have fallen off my radar a bit recently. Not that I don’t enjoy them (quite the opposite), but I’ve focused my drinking on some of the weirder and rarer varietals and producers recently. Only so much drinking can be done at a time, and poor ol’ Cab Sav became a less frequent friend.
Nothing like a few weeks of reading to change that, though! Pauillac, Margaux, Rutherford, oh my! Lining up the fighters for our upcoming battle has certainly whet my palate, and it appears my coworkers share the same excitement. It feels like the days before Christmas, waiting for relatives from out-of-state to pull into the driveway for the yearly visit. I can’t wait, Cab! It’s been too long; I’ll see you soon!
Posted by Lance
LUSH is very excited to be on the up and up with all the cool kids that are blog savvy. Welcome to our take on the virtual world…we needed one more outlet to really feel fulfilled in our dedication to drinking wine, talking about wine, making friends drink wine with us, and talking about wine some more.
Humorous, casual, yet educational, this blog will be a more informal forum to discuss our Lushie love all things delicious. Follow the Lush staff through culinary and beverage exploits and discoveries, random trivia, and learn what we get so very excited about each day! Hopefully you will become more intimately acquainted with each of our unique and quirky passions. We are a diverse group of beer, wine, and spirit enthusiasts with eccentric tastes and a job that lets us play a bit with what we drink. Our palates vary, and we do not often all agree on what is makes ‘good’ wine, but the resulting discourse is incredibly education and always fun. Join in our conversation!
Grab a glass, pull up a comfy chair, and sip on the good stuff. Cheers!
Posted by Rachel
Hooray for road trips! Thanks to the cross-border travels of a few friends of mine, I was able to score some cool beers not available for purchase in Chicago. Beer seems to be one of the few items left in the world whose availability relies on your location, so any real commitment to discovering new brews requires at least a small amount of travel. Thankfully, many of my favorite Michigan breweries ship to Illinois, but these two don’t. So, in the spirit of the great beverage explorers before me, here are my impressions of two out-of-state beers.