After meeting Chuck, we had a few minutes left before I had to compete in The Hot Zone Online’s 1st Annual Chile-Head Jeopardy. So off to CaJohn’s store we went to see what was new. Turns out CaJohn has a new store (moved from his previous location to a new, more prominent setting in the market) and the way it’s set up is much more easily accessible than the previous year. Sauces lined each rack, samples were out, and it was very open and roomy!
That’s when Chem spotted it…the Mongoose! No, not the giggling, cat like mammal (although that would have been entertaining if CaJohn had let loose a bunch of them in the market with little promos on their backs advertising his newest sauce….maybe next year), but the newest sauce in his line of extremes….it’s the sauce that kills The Black Mamba. Samples were out and this sucker has a bite and tastes great!
This was just the buzz I needed to keep my senses alert for it was time to start Jeopardy! The contenders we HUDD, Ethan, Buddah (Al, not the deity), and me. We were playing for a prize of hot sauces that were generously donated by CaJohn. During the first round I kind of played it cool but the questions were also being shown while they were read off and I was to far away to read them. But this was rectified and I went on to decimate the other contenders in what Buddah described as showing “a Rainman-like pepper knowledge”. I answered questions before they were finished being asked (some only three or four words into it), and hurt my hand from slamming it down on the table so many times (that was our “buzzer”).
When the dust settled, I had won by twice the amount of points as the person in second place. It was an amazing and fun game, one which I hear will be played again at future events, and everyone who participated had a blast.
Chem was hungry so he slowly….very slowly….ate some Pho while the Hot Division of the wing eating competition started. Amongst the competitors was HUDD’s son (pictured below on the far left), who did his dad proud by lasting many rounds.
Finally, Chem finished his Pho and, after twisting Joe and Linda’s arms to come with, we were off to sample some of the local breweries! First stop was Barley’s Brewing Company
which is conveniently located right across the street.
We all purchased a sampler and each found different favorites. Overall, it’s an ok brewery, nothing really outstanding, but for the most part very drinkable. The service was a little disappointing, but they were extremely packed. Unfortunately they didn’t have anything on cask which was one of the things I was looking forward to.
We still had some time to kill before the Extreme Division of the Wing Eating Competition started and Joe needed some more liquid courage so we started to walk to the next brewery on my list, Gordon Biersch. On the way, I spotted the back of HUDD’s head and we abducted him. His son was informed to tell his mother that we were going for ice cream and cotton candy.
Now, Gordon Biersch was a place that I was a regular at back in Los Angeles for years and Chem had heard many stories, even got to sample a six pack. Ever since that six pack, his new catch phrase oscillated between, “Gordon Biersch” and “Biersch de Gordon”, now, finally, he gets to go there and stop bugging me about it.
When I was a regular back in LA, I hadn’t a full pallet for beer, I liked certain styles, but I really couldn’t detect what made a really good beer (but I did know that micro brews were much better than macro brews). Now that I have been back in Cleveland, Chem has helped me develop that pallet (especially when it comes to my hop tolerance). Now going back to Gordon Biersch, I realize that they too, are middle of the road. It’s better than most, but it’s no Stone Brewing Company.
This ends Part 2 of the tape. Please turn to the other side to continue listening to the coverage. Part 3 will contain all the info you need to know on the wing eating competition, the Execution Station, and more beer.