Last night Steve and I went to a new event at our local zoo. The Cleveland Zoological Society instituted a Date Night at the Zoovies soiree. A ticket provided the customer with unlimited beer and wine, appetizers, and a movie on the big screen in one of the Amphitheaters.
Two of the zoo areas were open and a few animals were out and moving. Actually, the weather was really conducive to animal movement. The lion was walking around, making chuffing noises. The rhinos (mom and baby) were playing and chasing geese that had found their way into the enclosure, and the kangaroos were really active. Some of the animals in those locations were not out, which was disappointing. There were also two volunteers who were standing near the entrance holding a bearded dragon and an armadillo for patrons to touch. Ken, the armadillo, was so cute that I wanted to take him home.
There was enough food to make a decent meal, even though the tickets clearly said light appetizers. There were large sandwiches, hummus and dip, pretzels, popcorn, and a candy bar. I hadn’t had fresh gummy worms or Reese’s Pieces in forever, until last night of course.
The movie was the 1984 classic, the Breakfast Club. It wasn’t what I would typically think of as a date movie and I had seen it one million times. But, it was really fun to watch in its entirety. Usually I find it about halfway through on a television station and then I read a book, get on the iPad, and really don’t pay 100% attention when I’m normally watching it. I had forgotten about some of the funnier moments. I am still confused about two things. Judd Nelson is so mean to Molly Ringwald, even up to the point where they smooch. Weird. Also, still confused by the title. They never eat breakfast. They didn’t go to breakfast afterwards. Odd. Oh well. Good movie all the same.
More importantly, I was somewhat impressed with the beer selection. I’m not saying it was great, however, when Steve and I were leaving the house, we were guessing what the beer list may look like. I had guessed your average domestics (Miller, Bud, etc.) with a Sam Adams thrown in. Steve didn’t even think that quality, although he did guess that they might have Great Lakes Dortmunder. So we were both right, and surprised, when they didn’t have any domestics. The offerings were 3 Great Lakes beers and a Sam Adams Light. While those aren’t rare, or even the best beers in the area, the selection was far better than we envisioned and as evidenced by the raucous laughter and loud conversations during the movie, there were at least a few people who weren’t used to drinker higher ABV beers and went out of their comfort zone for the evening (and were probably over-served). I am impressed that the zoo chose to host a classier event by not providing Miller Lite in a red Solo cup.
Great Lakes Oktoberfest
I haven’t had this beer in a while. I tend to be a Great Lakes hater. Great Lakes is a Cleveland brewery that is over-hyped by locals on a frequent basis. Don’t get me wrong. They make some decent beer, especially the ones they offer on tap only at the bar. But what many people in Cleveland prefer is their Christmas Ale. Great Lakes Christmas Ale is not good in my opinion. But there are a good amount of Clevelanders who drink Bud Light all year long and then switch to Christmas Ale when it is released for a few months for the sole reason to get drunk faster. They then go back to drinking Bud Light. That is annoying. Steve calls it the Tim Tebow of Christmas beers, over-rated, over-hyped, and at the end of the day, not that good. I digress.
The Oktoberfest last night was really refreshing. The weather was perfect. It was one of those August nights that I live for. The ones that remind me of football season. The temperature was in the high 70′s, there was a slight breeze, and the fall smells are starting to come. So the Oktoberfest was perfect. Marzen beers are a little on the thick side and a bit sweet due to a caramel and toasty flavor from the malt. Great Lakes didn’t disappoint. The sweetness was definitely there but not overpowering. It simply started a bit sweet and finished a bit toasty. Having not had this beer in a couple of years, I can’t remember whether this is a better batch than year’s past or if it is always this good and I just haven’t given it a fair shake. If you live in the Cleveland area, grab this off the shelf. Remember that it is a Marzen and not a pumpkin beer. They have totally different characteristics. Drink one on a cool autumn evening. You won’t be disappointed.