If I’m being completely honest, I ordered the Crooked Row Cream Ale mainly because it was the only beer on the menu that I hadn’t had and I’m into trying new things right now. Okay, that last part’s a lie. I’m not into trying new things at all. I hate trying new things. It’s exhausting. But in the spirit of self-improvement, I’m making an effort. So instead of the IPA I know I love, I ordered the cream ale I knew nothing about.
Cream ales are a bit of an outlier in the craft beer world. They’re brewed with corn, which is frowned upon by beer purists because it’s a filler, but the corn typically gives the beer a light, creamy texture. It’s not a terribly common style. Foothills, out of North Carolina, does a cream ale, so does Catawba and Thomas Creek out of South Carolina. But Spotted Cow, from New Glarus in Wisconsin, is probably the most famous cream ale on the market today. People go ape shit over this beer. I’ve never had it because you can’t get it outside of Wisconsin—a store owner in a neighboring state even got busted for selling the beer illegally. Which just goes to show that if it’s done right, the cream ale can be killer.
This particular cream ale, the Crooke Row Cream Ale, is brewed by Sunken City, out of Smith Lake, Virginia. “Cream” is a bit of a misnomer, as it’s not that creamy. It’s wicked light and there’s definitely a corn sweetness to it, but it has a bit of an edge for a cream ale. Something zesty that I didn’t expect to find in the style. Overall, it’s a winner, so I decide to continue with my effort to try new things and I order the “Hungarian Cabbage Rolls” for dinner because I’ve never heard of that dish before either. Turns out, it’s kind of like a burrito, only with cabbage instead of tortillas. There’s a reason why you don’t see a lot of Hungarian restaurants around town.
I guess you can’t win them all. At least the beer was good. Here’s to trying new things.