photo by Tom Wilson
Sorta the opposite of the spiritual idea of moving away from the darkness and toward “the Light” as the positive, forward movement in one’s life. I’ve been preaching Don’t be afraid of the dark for quite some time, and this weekend Raccoon River helped me break down the barrier for yet another—my great-aunt, Suz.
She truly is a great aunt, and now she likes stout. As I eagerly looked down the row of Raccoon River samples the waitress placed on our table, Suz pointed out that the black one would likely be the last she’d choose. I took my nerdy notes, and passed each brew down the table for everyone to check out. After trying the Tallgrass Light, Vanilla Cream Ale, Homestead Red, Bandit IPA, Maibock, Belgian White and South Station Steam, she bellied up to a pint of the “dark stuff,” RRBC’s Stonecutter Stout. I’m not saying it felt as warm and fuzzy as watching your kid learn to ride a bike, but I figured she’d go for the soft and enjoyable Vanilla Cream Ale, which I though was very well done.
Ultimately, I also grooved on the stout: rich, roasty and packed with coffee and chocolate notes. It arrived in a dimpled mug with a persistent off-white head. The menu calls this “the beer you need when you’re feeling the need for restoration.” Indeed. Restoration and enlightenment, perhaps.
In addition to a solid lineup of beers, Raccoon River also puts out house-brewed sodas. My boys enjoyed Alli’s Root Beer and the electric blue Confluence Cream Soda, while I appreciated the three seasonal offerings being poured. On tap were a maibock, Belgian white and steam beer, which I liked in that order. With food orders that ranged from chicken wraps and salads to Cuban meatloaf and hot beef sandwiches, everyone in our party went home with a satisfied appetite.
But my aunt went home converted.