ON & OFF THE BEATEN PATH :: Orlando – Traveling the World & Tasting it’s Beers

by David Daugherty on March 23, 2011

The last time I had been to Walt Disney World’s Epcot in Orlando was 25 years ago and I only remember it vaguely. Maybe it’s the fact that everything that week 25 years earlier actually took place in a blur, or maybe it could be chalked up to old age setting in. It certainly COULD NOT have anything to do with 25 years of beer consumption!

The one thing I do remember though is that at Epcot, you could visit countries from all over the world. Oh…and each country furnished their native beer. I figured, “Well, I‘m here, might as well see what they have to offer” Right. Spontaneous. No thought to being the “BeerNetwork Guy” in the least.

Walking around the “world,” we first encountered Mexico and a rather large mariachi band. Enjoyable, I have always loved that style of music.

Sidebar—check this out. Seriously, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRu_Id9WmBE

Next up, China. There’s an impressive exhibit of the Terracotta Warriors, a spirit army that stood guard at the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of the Qin Dynasty. Amazing as it might be, it was also a really warm day and I was ready for a beer.

First stop was the Biergarten in Germany. I ordered a brat, a pretzel and an Altenmünster Oktoberfest. The menu provides this description, “One of the most beautiful regions in Germany is the Allgäu, home of Altenmünster Brewer Beers. Altenmünster is made from rediscovered recipes for connoisseurs, who highly value the use of long-forgotten ingredients creating a full-flavored and timeless beer.” This is a mellow beer with a slightly sweet flavor and malty finish. Glad to see an offering other than the usual German beers readily available here in the states. Delicious start to the tour I would take here at Epcot.

Next, we were off to Italy. We’d written about the Moretti LaRossa in a previous post, and it was the featured beer at Via Napoli, where I ordered the Tortellini Soup. The slightly sweet beer paired very well with the saltiness of the soup made with a clear broth and chives.

After finishing there, we went to Japan where my son Anthony wanted to try Sake. I had never had Sake before, and probably like some of the beers we drink here at YBN, Sake is, for me, something that will probably take some getting used to. The nose had, of course, a wine aroma. Interesting, as rather than just a very dry wine, it tasted like a very dry wine with a touch of vermouth. Not our favorite, but something that needed to be tried.

Lastly, it was off to Morocco. I had the Casablanca Beer, a premium lager with which I was very impressed. This original lager from Casablanca put a nice topper to the end of a very long day. Corny and grainy, it presented a little more to the mouth than the average 4-5% ABV lager too many Americans have grown accustomed to, much like the way Harvey described his experience with the Dominican Republic’s Presidente on his leg of our journeys.

So while this world traveler found sampling some slightly better-than-average regional beer and experimenting with rice wine was fun, upon our return to the hotel around 1 AM, I finished off the evening with a Maker’s 46 from Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey—barrel finished with oak staves, 94 proof—neat with a Mayorga Corona 2000 from Nicaragua! Life is good.

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