Over the holidays I took a trip to Disney World with the Commandress and the Commanditos. Naturally, I spent half the time bitching about how no place had beer worth drinking. I’m not talking about the Magic Kingdom, where they don’t serve beer at all, but the whole park and the Downtown Disney area. It was comical: what are the “local favorites” that the menu says you should ask your server about at the Rainforest Cafe? Sam Adams Boston Lager and 22 oz. Budweisers. The most exotic beer at the bar in Downtown Disney serving “over 50 different beers”? Newcastle. My quest to find Cigar City brews while in Florida? Abject failure.
Mercifully, there were three (moderately) bright spots in this beer wasteland.
One. The bier garten in the Germany section of Epcot. A flight of three 6 oz. German beers for $7.75 was the most reasonable expenditure I made all week. (I paid $140 for a buffet lunch for 3 where Mickey Mouse came to our table. Seriously.) I tried a Dunkel, an Octoberfest and something called Hoevels, which was like the Dunkel plus hops and nutmeg.
Two. Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom–an oasis of sanity in a world of screaming children and animatronic nonsense. They had honest-to-god imported African beers, including Tusker and Windhoek, which were decent lagers. Of course, at $6.75 for a 12 oz. bottle, I might as well have been at Yankee Stadium, but I’m not going to gripe about that. (See $140 with Mickey Mouse, above.) This is a must on my next trip to Disney.
Three. Here’s where the lying comes in. In the America section of Epcot — which is in itself a travesty — there is a kiosk that must have descended straight from Heaven to Epcot. Initially, I actually wasn’t there for the beer, but for the turkey leg! God bless America (and its turkey legs).
The turkey leg kiosk advertised a Samuel Adams Specialty Beer. I asked what it was, expecting the answer to be like the “local favorites” mentioned above. Instead, the cashier told me they had something called Samuel Adams Brick Red Ale, which, he claimed, was only sold at this kiosk and at a single yacht club in the greater Boston area. I later determined this was not true, and that the beer, though certainly very limited in its availability, is sold at a number of bars in New England. Liars!
This beer was nothing if not red. It looked downright bloody, even when viewed alongside the remnants of the turkey leg that I savaged. It was pretty clear, though. There was a beige head that stuck around pretty well, and a fair amount of lacing for being served in a plastic cup.
There was nothing that stood out in the nose. It basically smelled like beer: no hop profile to speak of, some malty aromas but very little to hang onto in the way of a particular scent. Unfortunately, this foreshadowed the taste of the beer, too. I guess I detected some caramel, but the Brick Red was pretty bland. The mouthfeel was likewise nothing extraordinary–light- to medium-bodied, pretty carbonated, and light on the tongue. It finished crisp with no aftertaste. It was certainly drinkable, particularly at a time when I desperately wanted a drink that wasn’t Coors.
If the Brick Red is really a red ale, I’d put it closer to Killian’s than to Oskar Blues Gordon. It deserves no more than 2.5 hops, and that’s giving it the benefit of the Aleheads grading curve. After all, when you’re in a beer wasteland, even Blue Moon starts to look appealing. Fortunately the Brick Red saved me from that fate.