The stars were aligned.
I’d just about given up on a former neighborhood favorite, Kuma’s Corner. There are only so many times you can hear "45-minute wait" before you gather your dignity and look elsewhere for ridiculously oversized burgers and ear-splitting heavy metal. But last night, signs pointed tentatively to yes: A full day of ominous skies meant the patio crowd might have stayed away, and, if we hustled, we could scoot in a hair before 7 p.m., the hour when all bets are off. Plus, I was hungry. Stomach-clenching, mood-ruining hungry.
Somehow, it didn’t just work; it went better than I could have imagined. Because not only did we sidle up to the hostess and hear "really short wait," not only did we score a table within minutes, but there, on tap, was a brand new beer—just delivered, our waitress said. If it hadn’t been raining outside, the heavens would have parted and a chorus of angels would have chimed in: "Beer!" Yes, please. We would try it.
And voila, Two Brothers’ Oh Brother! Tripel Ale, an artisanal beer from the Ebel boys of Warrenville, at $5 a pint. The "tripel" indicates strong; it’s an old designation that comes from the Trappists, with a nod toward the Holy Trinity. And, despite its bright, medium-bodied character, at 8.5 percent alcohol by volume, this late-June limited release is no lightweight. Apricot-colored—at least, as far as I could tell under Kuma’s cloak of darkness—and unfiltered, the first sip resembled a wheat beer, but creamier and hoppier, with a fruity, jam-like undertone. Overall, sweet and mellow: on the beer-as-baked-goods scale, more Danish than biscuit. But that’s just judging by the sips I could steal before the all-pervasive aroma of beef on the grill drowned out any other subtleties. Suffice it to say, further research is needed.
Drinking monk-inspired beer in the den of iniquity that is Kuma’s? Oh, brother, indeed.
Image: Two Brothers Brewing Company