My White Ale at Rock Bottom Brewery
By: Chasse Gunter
When I worked full time, I found it hard to find the balance between work, writing, and drinking. And when I was unemployed, I found it hard to find time to write. But in order to uphold the title on my business card, and justify buying a nice beer, I journey out to find a beer worth a story. My journey takes me into the heart of Seattle’s rich younger brother, Bellevue, just a block away from Microsoft’s evil-spy-movie-looking headquarters (which is only out-eviled by Starbucks’ actual evil headquarters—seriously, look it up, it’s creepy). Actually, I had a (prospective) job related drug screening in Bellevue’s bland health cubicle district, which is the real reason I was so many buses from home. But now that the urine test I had so rigorously studied for was finished, I gravitated to Rock Bottom Brewery.
I was relieved to discover that a bar which caters to the richest youngest people on the planet serves craft beers affordable by a man of my modest financial stature (I’ll give one woo to anything under four bucks). I award the brewery additional points for offering low priced beer to customers well-known in the service industry to be the lowest tipping millionaires either side of the Mississippi. As a long-standing cog in the service industry, I am less concerned with Microsoft’s monopoly on software products and more concerned about their employees inability to perform small fractions. Or maybe evil henchmen just don’t tip. I am disappointed when the bartender tells me they don’t serve the mango Kolsh. Actually he said “a mango Kolsh;” for apparently each location has a different brew master—and—well, brews. A well dressed man takes a bar stool next to me and gives the bartender an unsolicited explanation regarding how great his day was. When asked if his was the same, the bartender just frowns and pours more drinks.
First Impression: I choose the next tastiest sounding beer from the happy hour menu—the (or this?) Rock Bottom’s White Ale. God, there are more suits in here than in a deck of cards…sorry, I’m not on my game. As I wait for my beer to arrive, I write down the description from the menu “two row malted barley and wheat with a hint of orange and coriander.”
Pour: It’s a beautiful golden wheat color with a pleasant aroma of freshly skinned orange zest It smells as purdy as it looks: less cloudy than many other wheat beers with a light orange head. I hear the bar tender sliding my debit card over and over with no avail. I pray to the credit card gods that my card doesn’t decline.
Taste: I put it up to my peasant lips and gently gulp some down. Though extremely crisp, there is a spicy bite of coriander that quickly joins the mouth party. While it goes down smooth and malty, the sourness and spice comes on unexpectedly; and while not overpowering or unpleasant, an orange would have been perfect on the rim for this late arrival mouth party—but I recently heard from my younger richer brother that bartenders typically don’t assume men want fruit in their beer, unless specifically requested. I didn’t ask, and suggest you do.
Final impression: It’s crisp with a nose of orange peel and lingering spice and a couple things nice. As I swish the last third of my beer around my mouth seeking adjectives for coriander, the well dressed man with the great day offers me a job with Komo 4 News. These corporate types cut to the chase quicker than you can find a synonym for coriander. We exchange business cards and unspecific words. “I’ll give you a call,” I assure him. But honestly, in this bustling local economy in denial, my leisure time can’t afford the hit from a third job. Plus, I gave up evil for lent. I’d take this beer over another job any day—but the Mango Kolsh from the Westlake Rock Bottom Brewery, I’d take that over two jobs. Unswayed by the dark side, I tip the bartender and start my journey home.