Jungle Jim’s, Craft Alcohol, and You

Written by Alex Mashny

Edited by Maggie Callaghan

Last week, I finally turned 21 years old. As Miami University students are known to do, I decided the best way to celebrate this weekend would be to slowly damage my liver through the consumption of alcohol. Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that I would make a great role model for your kids.

(Also, Mom, if you’re reading this, now would probably be a good time to stop.)

Rather than drinking the traditional Miami University beverage of Natural Light also known as “natty light”, which is gross, I decided to go to Jungle Jim’s to see what they had to offer.

What I found in Jungle Jim’s is what I can only describe as the alcoholic’s Disney World, which is consistent with the “foodie wonderland” image that Jungle Jim’s maintains. According to the Jungle Jim’s website, the store offers at least “15,000 labels of wines” and at least “4,000 different beers, from craft to crazy”. The aisles are broken down into each different type of spirit, and I exclusively focused on the beer section. I was surprised to see almost no college students at Jungle Jim’s on a Saturday afternoon – though some of the alcohol was pricey, a lot of it seemed more fairly priced than in Oxford.

Jungle Jim’s also carded me when I purchased the alcohol and even entered my license number into a database to make sure that my license was legitimate. Unlike the bars uptown, Jungle Jim’s is actually doing something to make sure minors aren’t getting their hands on alcohol.

Because I am not an alcoholic, and I have no intention of blacking out or dying anytime soon, I decided to break up my taste-testing over a period of several days. I also tasted most of the alcohols with another person nearby.

The first drink I had was the Commodore Perry India Pale Ale, by Great Lakes Brewing Company. Without even trying it first I decided to purchase an entire six pack of the IPA. I opened a bottle on Friday night and discovered that I didn’t like the taste. It tasted too bitter to me, and it left an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth.

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Photo Credit by Alex Mashny

I would later be informed by an acquaintance that the IPA was very “hoppy”, and that the hops in the beverage were probably why I didn’t care much for the drink. My roommate, Joe Rakowski, walked into our apartment on me drinking a Commodore and asked about it.

“How do you like it?” he asked.

“I don’t really like it. It’s kinda sour,” I replied, taking yet another sip.

“Then why are you still drinking it?”

“Because I bought a six pack, and by God I’m going to finish drinking all of it at some point”. Despite the pained expression on my face, I knew that I made my bed by buying a six pack and that I would have to lie in it too, so I ended up nearly drinking the entire six pack over the course of a few days. I definitely wouldn’t drink it again, and it taught me that India Pale Ale really isn’t for me. In fact, I would be tempted to cross off IPAs altogether, if not for a Rhinegeist IPA I tried at a bar with a few friends of mine. I also had a Nitro Milk Stout there, but we’ll come back to that.

The next drink I tried this weekend was a hard root beer by Coney Island Brewing Company, aptly named Hard Root Beer. It was, well, interesting. I actually split this one with a friend, and we both agreed that it wasn’t what we were expecting.

“This tastes like I’m drinking candy,” I said to him, taking a swig. It didn’t taste at all like alcohol, and it only vaguely tasted like root beer.

“It tastes like root beer to me, but it definitely has a funky aftertaste,” he said.

After some deliberation and experimentation, we found that the most tolerable way to drink this was with blue Gatorade. We didn’t really have much to work with. I definitely wouldn’t drink it again, though maybe combining it with ice cream would improve the taste.

The third drink I tried was a Nitro Milk Stout by Left Hand Brewing.

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Photo Credit by Alex Mashny

I was recommended Milk Stout at a bar on my birthday, and I am very glad I went with it. Of the few different alcoholic beverages I have tried, this is by far one of my favorites. It is sweet, but in a good way, unlike the Hard Root Beer. I have already enjoyed a few over the weekend, and I really can’t recommend the drink enough.

The final drink I had this weekend was a chocolate stout, brewed by Samuel Smith’s, a brewing company in the United Kingdom. They even made this stout organic, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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Photo Credit by Alex Mashny

The chocolate flavor in the drink baffles me. There isn’t any actual chocolate in the drink, but it tastes strongly like chocolate. It’s not quite like munching on a Hershey’s Bar or anything like that, but it is good. I would have quoted a friend here about it, but I’m not willing to share. The only downside to the drink is that I drank it way to quickly, which seems like a great way to give myself alcohol poisoning or a trip to the hospital, which seems unpleasant to say the least.

If you decide to try any of these drinks at my recommendation, please drink responsibly.

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