Last night, Tim Rogers hosted D Magazine’s Craft Draft Night. More than 80 people squeezed elbow-to-elbow on Craft and Growler’s wooden benches and bar stools to hear panelists Brian Brown, Michael Peticolas, and Melissa Monosoff share their extensive beer knowledge.
When I arrived and spotted the flip-flop shod Michael, I figured it should be a Peticolas Brewing kind of night. I started out with a Golden Opportunity but quickly realized that my more studious drinking partners had made the better choice with Craft and Growler’s tap No. 7, Operation Collaboration.
Melissa, one of only three Master Sommeliers and Cicerones (aka Beer Masters) in the world, sidled up to the bar to order the same.
“I decided I should have a beer in my hand for the panel,” she said with a laugh.
Like four Australian Shepherds with a single lamb, we surrounded her petite frame.
“What’s that peculiar aftertaste? I mean, it’s not so much of an aftertaste as a foretaste,” asked a member of my foursome, earnestly trying to describe the indefinable floral notes.
“Pot,” said Melissa.
“Genius!” we exclaimed in unison, and ordered another round.
We carved out a spot at the ledge along the window in what was now a crowded room of bearded and bespectacled hops aficionados. (Note to single ladies of all persuasions: attend craft brew events.) Tim started things out to raucous applause. Brian Brown, author of North Texas Beer; Michael; and Melissa gave an informative rundown of the history and challenges of beer brewing in Dallas (the City Code is the bane of brewers) and their insights on the local scene (growing too fast for its own good). After the talk, they mingled with the crowd.
We moved on to Sit Down or I’ll Sit You Down and The Duke. (Note to self: don’t mix IPA with barley wine next time.) We brainstormed beer names for my friend’s conceptual brewery. Then we spotted Melissa across the bar, finally down to one groupie. As of one mind, we again closed in.
We peppered her with half-buzzed questions: Does she play stump-the-sommelier with her boyfriend, James Tidwell, the Master Sommelier at the Four Seasons? Where does she ride her bike around town? How tough is she when giving the Master Sommelier exam? Has she ever made anyone cry?
Eventually, we released her back into the now-dwindling crowd. We were in love. She made us want to be more knowledgeable beer drinkers, to develop our palates, to ride a bike.
We walked down to Pizza Lounge for sauerkraut balls and a classic margherita, and savored every bite.