Like many 30-somethings, I can (kind of) recall my college years with a species of detached fondness: I came, I saw, I occasionally went to classes, and now I work in a field unrelated to my degree. I have no regrets pertaining to my college years. Perhaps I could have been a better student by skipping fewer classes, but, overall, my time at Central Michigan University was well spent.
It has been 13 years since I graduated, and although I feel no ill will toward my alma mater, I haven’t put in much of an effort to connect with other grads. A chance invitation to a 2000-2010 CMU grads Facebook group recently brought me into a whole world of connections that I didn’t realize existed. One of these grads, out just a year before me, happened to be the current sales representative for Dragonmead Brewery, the first microbrewery I ever visited.
To say that Craig Lindeman is passionate about his work with Dragonmead would be a wild understatement. This dude loves his beer, and he knows his stuff. As the architect of the CMU grad meetup, he had a lot at stake in a party that was planned to span three locations: Dragonmead Brewery in Warren; Dragon’s Landing, the second location of Dragonmead in St Clair Shores; and Baffin Brewing, also in St Clair Shores. I only visited the first brewery in Warren. While the prospect of meeting other CMU alumni was appealing, the idea of being in a large crowd during a global pandemic was not. Plus, once Craig introduced himself, I found it impossible to break away.
Dragonmead’s beer menu has always impressed me. Since my palate has developed over the past 13 years, it seems like I have come full circle in my beer preferences – from complex and bitter to smooth and clean. I was instantly pleased with Ball N Chain, a Czech pilsner that I was told is only made once a year. I also enjoyed Lancelot’s Cream Ale, which is a menu staple that I never used to appreciate. Craig, in true sales representative form, insisted I taste the Oktoberfest Marzen, and after some hesitance, I gave in.
I was hesitant because I have never been a fan of Märzens. I found Dragonmead’s version to be smooth and missing the spicy bite of other Märzens I’ve had before. It was easily drinkable that it was almost dangerous. Where had this beer been all my life? Why don’t all Märzens taste like this? A 4-pack came home with me that evening. If Dragonmead prides itself on being true-to-style, then what kind of Märzen have I been avoiding all these years?
Maybe some things are better left unknown. What I do know, now, thanks to my new CMU alumnus friend is that I have been missing out on one of the most delicious beers I’ve ever tasted, and I will definitely not let that happen again.