Admittedly, when my son first suggested the notion, I was a little surprised. I had visited Sea World many times previously and never noticed the huge "reception" building that housed the gleaming copper tanks where anyone over 21 years of age was welcome to "sample" the various golden hued refreshments notorious for helping Super Bowl crowds endure long and boring post-half time episodes and, it’s rumored, even cause frogs to croak its name in harmony.
Don’t be fooled. Beer School is serious business. Offered many times throughout the day, one must sign up ahead of time and be punctual! We arrived a few minutes late and were not allowed entrance until after the informative film had finished. (I once had to wait in the lobby after arriving minutes late for a ballet performance, so I understood the regulations about disrupting the concentration required by the other participants.)
While we waited, trying not to snigger, we toured the adjacent, immaculate barns of the Clydesdales, those gorgeous majestic animals that have served as an Anheuser-Busch tradition since the first team was bought to celebrate the repeal of prohibition in 1933. The stories in the visitor’s center relate that the eight horse hitch team delivered celebratory brew to the Mayor of New York before proceeding onward to Washington, D. C. where a keg or two was presented ceremoniously to the President.
A stable attendant was quick to advise us excitedly not to miss the foal, who was born in May. Big Tom poked his head through the stable bars and seemed utterly delighted to be one of a handful of studs to the forty brood mares whose job it was not to trot before beer wagons in parades, but simply to ensure the propagation of such a splendid species. (Hot not to trot, as it were.) The perennial sidekicks of the Clydesdales, the Dalmatian dogs, chewed on rubber toys nearby in their separate stall. It seemed a very peaceable kingdom.
And so it was with this gentle introduction into the history and husbandry of the giant braumeisters we learned of the art of crafting beer. But you know what we really came for - the multi-flight tasting of a wide assortment of the best of the brewery. As it is free and you don’t need to take an exam afterward, I encourage participation by responsible adults. And your friends, too.
They should title the course cleverly, though. Something like Taste Buds.
by smmmarti guide
October 17, 2002
From journal Pleasantville, with a nude beach