Bradford on Beer

A College Beer Town

Posted May 2, 2011 by daniel 0 Comments | Post a Comment

A great thing about touring prospective colleges with my daughter Anne is that she is already well-heeled on the pleasures of a good beer scene. I had wanted to visit Dennis Thies’ Green Man Brewery for quite some time. Apparently we picked the perfect day. After a four-hour drive, we pulled up to the building as the temperatures plummeted. We hustled in pushed by a cold front and found the bar at the brewery to be just short of perfect.

Located in the shell of a former garage, it was filled to the brim with customers watching a soccer match. Age and gender defied marketers’ expectations: I was not the oldest nor was Anne the youngest and women made up half of the crowd. We settled in next to a couple who were there for the beer. Period.

I had a cask porter, served from a beer engine, which couldn’t have been more perfect. As I scanned the brewery and watched some soccer, I couldn’t help think that this was as good as local gets. Packed and noisy yet without being obnoxious and surrounded by strangers who were easy to talk to. Of course, the porter was fantastic. Had another.

On the way to the hotel I pulled over and stopped at Bill Drew’s Craggie Brewing Co., a favorite beer joint of mine. Whenever in Asheville, I relish grabbing a pint of Antebellum ale with the unusual ingredients of molasses, ginger and spruce tips. Very dry and very complicated.

Our table mates at Green Man gave us a restaurant recommendation for tapas at Zambra; two thumbs up. After a quick change at the hotel, my daughter and I we took some food suggestions by the bartender and paired them with beer from Pisgah Brewing. The masa crusted Gulf shrimp and prosciutto wrapped dates were unbelievable. Made even better paired with the pale ale and porter. Great food in small servings paired with excellent beers to work back and forth between dishes? Their couldn’t have been a better situation at that moment.

After a day rambling around bohemia, Anne and I dressed for dinner and went to the Hector Diaz’s Modesto. This restaurant is highly-touted and considers Highland Brewery‘s owner Oscar Wong as one of it’s fans. Once again we experienced some excellent pairings - I loved putting the Gaelic Ale next to the muscles diavolo with the hops a hit competing for the finish. I also matched the Oatmeal Porter with the mushroom gnocchi with a truffle sauce. The porter seemed to unite the two dominant flavors unbelievably.

The press of college took over the rest of our trip. I’m hoping my daughter ops for UNC-Asheville because the school is wonderful and the location breathtaking… and there’s plenty of food and beer for me!

Now’s your chance to vote Asheville BeerCity USA again. Vote here.

The Hidden Charlotte Part 2

Posted March 3, 2011 by daniel 2 Comments | Post a Comment

The final phase of my Charlotte weekend occurred after the Pints for Prostates first annual board meeting.

The Pints for Prostates’ board meeting went for quite some time as the board worked through some of the guiding principles of the organization and the future plans.  It was some heavy lifting by a group of passionate individuals.  I was flattered to be included.  As a reward for all the hard work, Rick Lyke took as all to Old Mecklenburg Brewery.

What a find!

First place, it is hidden in a not very populated area which means it has a very large parking lot, dozens of picnic tables and lots of great space for expansion.  Thirsty from a day of hard work, my fellow board members and I settled it for a couple glasses of the dunkle.

I should have paid better attention to the glassware when I walked in.  My first clue about how great an experience I was in for.  You have to go to their website.  These glasses are absolutely fabulous, with gold highlights in the logo.  The dunkle was exceptionally clean, with some subtle toast/roasted nuts flavor and clean spicy finish that lingered.  You simply don’t run into many beers this complex, subtle and clean.

Before I’d finished my first half, owner John Marrino came in and I discovered his secret.  What do you suppose happens when you uproot a Boston Italian and drop him into Germany.  For John, it became a lifelong passion for the cleanliness, discipline, and focus of the German brewing heritage; which he has replicated in this low density part of Charlotte.

John gave Rick and I a tour of his brewery and, not surprisingly, it was both gorgeous and ship shape.  A three vessal system, you need decoction for these German beers.  Plus, the OMB system includes quite a few lagering tanks to finish the beers.  Set on an easily cleanable pad, the set up is easily scalable.  Actually, John is bringing in a small bottling line for the next jump.  Furthermore, he just leased the adjacent building for his long range build out.

We interrupted John’s building a beer stand to showcase his beers at the local ballfield.  He had interrupted my trying out his different beers.

My next half pint (was it a “Becher”  the German 200 ml glass, definitely substantially less than the German maas) was the altbier, again an amazingly clean refreshing beer with hints of spices in the finish.  Lately, I’ve become fascinated with the taste and texture of carbonation.  If not at appropriate levels a beer lover will miss the romance of a beer.  This was simply refreshing and intriguing.

John’s focus is in becoming Charlotte’s hometown brewery.  He’s already landed over 100 draft lines of which nearly half were carrying a second beer of his.  Not bad for barely just tipping into its second year.

Of course the company, the brats, the afternoon all conspired for a great social moment that all enjoyed.  Watch for OMB.  They’re going to play a great role in the development of the North Carolina beer scene.  Count on it.

The Hidden Charlotte Part 1

Posted February 28, 2011 by daniel 4 Comments | Post a Comment

Recently, Rick Lyke invited me to join the board of directors for Pints for Prostates, a charity I’ve been fundraising for the past couple of years.  A yes came quite easily and our first board meeting was this Saturday in Charlotte.

You’ve got to love a board where the pre-meeting is scheduled in a place they feel will seem really special to this out of towner.  Expectations were exceeded at The Liberty, so much so, I heartily enjoin you to add it to your must visit list.  They nailed ambiance, beer list, food quality and staff knowledge/attitude in a rare restaurant home run.

While waiting for the rest of the crew, we hung around the bar for shrimp and Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, both came at the recommendation of the bar tender.  (Wait till you try the sauce!) Dinner was a similar dynamic interchange between waiter and guests with whole party amassing such a variety of dishes and tastes.  My mind still lingers on the two bowls of steamed muscles that started the whole banquet.

However, the treat came when I got the last of the Heavy Seas Siren Noire Imperial Chocolate Stout keg (an amazing piece of brewers art, by the way).  Owner, Matthew Pera, was visiting our table when this happened and asked me what I’d like to have instead.  As in, what is the next keg I would like to have tapped.  You’ve got to be kidding me!

And here’s the list Matt presented to me.

Allagash 4, Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black, Dogfish Red and White, Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot and Lefthand Fade to Black.

Are you kidding?  I went for long time favorite Allagash 4, which I’d never had on tap.  And every beer we had all night was in absolute perfect shape.  I’m scamming for another trip to the Queen City, and the Triangle, as soon as I can.

Tuning my cask for Brew Your Cask Off cask ale festival

Posted February 11, 2011 by daniel 0 Comments | Post a Comment

After my last insipid, yet bizarre, entry into the competition for the SweetWater Brewing Co’s’ Brew Your Cask Off Cask Ale Festival (March 5th, SweetWater Brewery, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm), the powers that be suggested I should pair up with some talent, like their brewer maybe?  Was it that obvious?

Steve Farace, marketing gonzo from SweetWater,  suggested I call Adam Beauchamp and see if we could produce something that, if not winning a medal, would at least be enjoyable to drink.  As one of about 80 entrants I do have some bragging rights on the line and the Atlanta beer crowd is a tough bunch.

Here is our communication about building a cask of, hopefully, delicious beer.

On Jan 6, 2011 Daniel Bradford left a voice mail

Adam, this is Daniel Bradford.  Your guy has put us together to help me do a better job with my cask this year than the nightmare I made last year.  The bitch of it was, it wasn’t good enough to place in the top, nor bad enough to place in the bottom.

However, I think it was a great idea that simply got out of control.  Perhaps working with you I might be able to realize my vision a lot easier.

Adam, I’ve always been attracted to holiday beers, but thought they were generally overstated.  I’d like to capitalize on the softness of the low carbonated cask and craft something very holiday/desert-ish.

What do you think?  I’m in Vail right now at the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywine Festival.  You’d be in heaven with this collection of beers.


On Jan 7, 2011, at 1:42 PM, Adam Beauchamp <[email protected]> wrote:


I just listened to your voice mail.  I hope you’re enjoying Vail.  We still have plenty of time to put your cask recipe together.  I like the idea, and I think the porter base beer that we are using would lend itself well to some spicing.  I actually made a cask today with the porter and some spruce extract that smelled incredible.  Please allow me a little time to do some research and come up with some ideas for your cask.  I will call you afterward and we can discuss some options.  Is there a specific time that is good for you to talk?

Adam Beauchamp, Brewer, SweetWater Brewing Company

On Jan 7, 2011 at 2:49 PM, Daniel Bradford wrote:

Many thanks for the reply.  Spruce and porter sounds fabulous.  I, also, have a very old New England heritage (Mayflower!) and ale sounds wonderful.  I’m here through the weekend.  I have to get to Columbia, SC next Wednesday and Thursday.  Otherwise, I am relatively available.  Thanks for helping me, Adam.  I appreciate it a lot.

Daniel Bradford, Publisher,All About Beer Magazine

On Jan 15, 2011, at 4:02 PM, Adam Beauchamp wrote:


Sorry I’m just getting back to you.  We got snowed in here in Georgia and I’m just beginning to think about work again.  I thought about your recipe for a while today.  I’ve got a couple of suggestions and some rough ideas and I’d like to see if I’m on the right track.  I want to present them to you in an email to give them a bit more order.  You described a desertish holiday spiced porter originally.  Of those spices I think our options are quite diverse for different combinations of allspice, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, nutmeg, black pepper, spruce, and vanilla.  If you are set on using any of these let me know.  From experience with these things, I recommend keeping the recipe simple, especially for the first time brewing it.  We should limit ourselves to 2 spices, 3 at most.

The porter that we are using is fairly well attenuated and will need a little boost to come off as a little more rich and desert-like.  I would suggest a half-pound of lactose, which will lend body and make the beer a touch richer without running the risk of being cloyingly sweet.

Personally, I think allspice would be a nice ingredient to try.  It’s a really warm spice that smells like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves combined.  With that I thought it could be interesting to add either dates or figs.  A subtle dark fruit component could enhance the chocolaty porter and combined with the allspice should come across as a holiday desert.  I think dates would work well because they taste almost like chocolate to me.

Let me know if I need to go back to the drawing board on this one or if you were thinking about something different.


On Jan 17, 2011 at 2:54 PM, Daniel Bradford wrote:


We are so on the same channel.  This is exactly what I wanted to do last year, specifically the lactose and allspice.  I did want to include star anise, however, and the homebrewers switched out lactose for malt.  Then is really started going downhill.

Now the dates, that sounds like an amazingly interesting idea.

This may be over kill, but I can’t help but think it would need a third flavor note to add a bit of excitement.  I’m not great here; Adam, but we’ve got a strong floor with the dates, lactose and porter.  Then we’re going to round it all out with one spice that sounds like a full range of holiday spices.  Could it use something to tease the tongue a bit, with a slight contrast or something?  What are your thoughts?


On Jan 17, 2011, at 4:14 PM, Adam Beauchamp wrote:

How about ginger?  Its spicy/sweet pungency would compliment what we already have going on but could just put the whole thing over the top.  I’ll need to check into the quantities of all these things to ensure that the flavors can be detected but aren’t overbearing.

What do you think?


On Jan 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM, Daniel Bradford vwrote:

That sounds pretty interesting.  Is there a way to guess at the amounts to keep it as a counterpoint and not a central, if discordant, element.  By the way, have you read Jitterbug Perfume, a novel about making perfume?  Pretty interesting.  I’m also thinking about how some painters add a drop of color from the other side of the spectrum to add “luminosity” to the image.  That’s what I’m thinking about, Adam.

Does my original thinking make sense to you?  The strong base from porter, lactose and dates, with the color provided by the allspice.  Want me to ask a few friends and see if anyone has some quantity recommendations?

By the way, how are we preparing these?  Are we adding them dry, or whole with the dates, to the cask, possibly in a “tea” bag?  Or are we going to “cook” them in advance.

On Jan 17, 2011, at 4:44 PM, Adam Beauchamp wrote:

I like the painter analogy.  And yes, I think this beer will work well if we can get the balance of these flavors right.  I’ve got some pretty good reference material in my home library that I will go through and give some suggestions for concentration.  If you know someone with experience brewing something similar it couldn’t hurt to ask.  My general philosophy with spiced beers is that any spice should not be too far beyond the threshold of detection.  When you get it right people will notice that there is some spice beyond the typical profile of malt, hops and yeast, but not be able to put their finger on exactly what that spice is.

When we make the cask the plan is to put any solid ingredients into a hop bag so they don’t interfere with serving, once tapped.  The lactose will need to be dissolved in a small amount of water and boiled.  It would be a good idea to add the dates to that boil to kill of any potential spoilage organisms.  If possible, we should de-pit and puree the dates as well.  We could then pour this mixture through the bag, into the cask, so that the solids remain in the bag.

On Jan 17, 2011 at 5:09 PM, Daniel Bradford wrote:

That sounds perfect.  If you notice the spice than there’s too much.  I’d like the drinking to be the experience and not the noticing, if that makes sense.  The peak experience is when you just know you really enjoy what you’re doing; instead of having so much of something that it distracts you from the experience itself.

But what am I saying, you do this for a living!

On Jan 28, 2011 at 8:08 AM Daniel Bradford wrote:

I heard from a friend about making a tincture.  We could add the spices to an alcohol base, extract the flavors and put the resulting extract through a coffee filter.  Then test the extract with the porter in a graduated test tube and extrapolate the addition.  My friend says this may be overly scientific, but a little spice can go a long way, and much is stripped out during fermentation.  I’ll give you a shout.

On Wed. Jan 26, 2011 at 12:06 PM Adam Beauchamp wrote:

Funny!  I got your message yesterday but I was working in the noisy factory at SW until 10.  I like the idea, but it doesn’t work for the TTB (the federal agency that regulates breweries). We could go the same route without the alcohol and use a precise scale to replicate a couple different levels of spices in the porter, say in a growler.  I could have 2 growlers ready on cask day that we could try together and go from there.  I could put the dates and lactose in these as well.  The beer would be very similar to what the finished product would taste like.  If neither growler is right, at least we would have a better frame of reference.

On Jan 31, 2011 at 9:42 AM Daniel Bradford wrote:

Sounds like a plan, Adam.  I’ll get to Atlanta Friday Feb 11th in time for our brew time of 2:00 PM.  I’ll get over to the brewery much earlier so we can test these growlers ahead of time.  What shall we name it?  Adam’s All About Beer Holiday Cask?

On Giants and Stout

Posted December 14, 2010 by daniel 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Did you see the footage of the Vikings’ dome coming down?  Pretty wild, and like good chaos theory it lead to a discovery of a great beer.

I’m not such a fan of the NY Giants.  Actually, I find being a fan an exercise in suffering, not something I’m fond of.  However, I am a fan of fans, particularly a couple of Giants fans — Eric and Jonathan.  I do try to watch a game with them simply to razz them about their suffering.

With the stature of the game elevated to a Monday night, the whole group decamped to a relatively new beer bar, the Tobacco Roadhouse overlooking the Durham Bulls field, home to the World Beer Festival — Durham.

Given the freezing temperature, I sought a comfort beer.  At the end of the row of taps was Big Boss’s newest beer — Aces & Ates.  At 8%, it had the warming capability I needed.  Trading out a frozen glass for one heated with hot water got the beer temperature nearly perfect.  With ten different malts and specially prepared coffee, the complexity and intrigue of the beer is off the charts.

The nose is all toast, that combination of slightly burnt grain.  The head had a decidedly brown hue.  The flavor was layers of different umami sensations that ranged from coffee bitter to silky cream, with roasted nuts and toasted bread in the middle.  The complexity continued through the finish that had some warmth from the alcohol.

I didn’t let the lace settle too long with two more refills in the same glass.  Like the beer, the game started all over the place and quickly settled into a nice comfortable evening.  Like I said, I’m not a fan; but it was great to see Eric pleased with the outcome as much as I enjoyed the beers.  I never used to be such a bar person, but now there’s little that provides as much pleasure as a good beer, a good bar and a good friend.

Except maybe the 18-year-old Talisker that I had afterwards at the already legendary Whiskey.  That turned a great evening into an adventure.

Got your own chaos-theory-beer-discovery adventure?

Sam does Discovery Channel

Posted November 23, 2010 by daniel 6 Comments | Post a Comment

I’m sure you’ve all watched the Big Show — Sam and Dogfish Head take the Discovery Channel, and Sony, by storm.  It was quite a romp actually.  We got a great glimpse of Sam’s envelop-pushing, madcap, genius and a great look at the team of stalwarts who executes his vision.  Fabulous combination.

Meanwhile we also got a great look at the irreverent screw-ups that beset small breweries.  We saw the wonder of creating a great beer juxtaposed with the hilarity of the silly things that can hamstring getting the beer into a bottle and out the door.

All in all, a delightful peek behind the curtain.  Frankly, I thought Sony got a free ride here.  I’m sure they drove the train on putting the whole project in place, but, let’s face it, we’re only talking about a rerelease of an historic album; not the creation of a new work of art, as Sam and his Merry Pranksters affected.  (Do you remember where you were when your first heard Bitches Brew?  I can.)

The fun bit was how cyberspace was all a buzz over the Blue Moon ads.  There remains this concrete distinction between a beer from a craft brewer and a beer from a major brewer.  There is something ineffable about this that consumers get and respect.

I think Blue Moon is a serious work of art and love the painting metaphor that they use.  I don’t think the team behind Blue Moon has any illusions about being a craft brewer.  (They could do a better job of telling everyone where it comes from!)  People buy it because they like the beer and/or like the marketing.  Anyway you cut it, they are getting turned onto something other than the ubiquitous light lager and that’s fun.

So, let’s applaud light lager drinkers who take a run at a Belgian wit and let’s rejoice in the Belgian wit drinkers who take a run at something wild from Sam and his Merry Pranksters, like maybe a bitching Bitches Brew.

Talk to me.  What’s your opinion.

Birth of a Brewery

Posted August 28, 2010 by daniel 6 Comments | Post a Comment

It’s rare that a beer lover gets to watch a brewery being born. However, years ago I offered a young man a job at the magazine for no apparent reason other than he seemed really interesting. Along the way he lead the charge to change the alcohol limit law in the state of North Carolina with the Pop The Cap initiative and dreamed up a brewery that connects agriculture and beer.

Fullsteam’s mission is create a distinctly Southern beer style that celebrates the culinary and agricultural heritage of the South.” That’s Sean Lily Wilson’s brewing idea.

A week ago that dream came to fruition. Fullsteam Brewery opened. Just two blocks from our office, the whole staff has had a chance to watch it grow step by step – from the early fundraising with homebrews and different concepts for the brand, to building the team and opening up the doors.

A master of social media, Sean Lily Wilson, owner of Fullsteam, had created a community icon even before the equipment was bought. And the town showed up for the day when Sean opened the doors. Along with the All About Beer Magazine crew, neighbors from the surrounding businesses filled the room. Government officials from the city of Durham showed up to see the new addition to their constellation.  I overheard one saying the brewery was anchoring the revitalization of that corner of the city. Only blocks away lies a huge residential area and I recognized people walking to the brewery from their homes.

It was a fantastic crowd spilling out onto the lawn on either side of the brewery with the rolling Only Burger truck providing the food.

The look of the brewery brought together a wide variety of aesthetics. The stainless steel system was on display behind a wall of glass. A wooden stage filled an adjacent corner, prime location for singer/songwriters. Old-fashioned picnic tables filled the rest of the space. The steampunk aesthetic donned the walls ranging from construction wall hangings to panels of dials picked up at a salvage shop. They adorned huge vistas of gray and red wall paint set off with rugged industrial warehouse exposed brick.

The beers?  Well, the crowd was there for the beers.  Sure the muffulettas from Neil’s Deli in Carrboro were special. The deserts by Crumb vanished before hitting the table.  But it was beers.

The team behind the bar was so slammed that I stepped in and joined them as a server. What a great way to get the beer passion. People were jammed together six or seven deep and everyone was ordering four to six beers. There were only four of us covering about 60 feet of bar. Plus, Sean had a portable tap set up out in the dining area and his line was pretty steady at forty feet. Amy from our office backed him up on that draft line for awhile.

Sean had five beers on tap. He has created two groups of beers – Plow-to-Pint which features local ingredients, and Worker’s Comp featuring classic styles. From Plow to Pint was Hogwash Hickory-smoked porter, the Carver sweet potato beer, and the Summer Basil farmhouse ale.  From the Workers’ Comp Sean had Rocket Science IPA and El Toro Cream Ale.

As I was running back and forth with handfuls of beer, along with staffers Kevin and Johanna,  I noticed that people kept asking for beer by its agricultural ingredients. Not the Carver but the sweet potato. Not the Summer Basil Farmhouse ale but the basil. Interesting. Yet, the others were requested by style, the Cream Ale or the IPA. However, Hogwash was, and probably always will be, Hogwash, just plain Hogwash. Sean is going to have fun with that mixture of branding challenges.

I’ll save a discussion of the beers for a later time. It is enough to say there was an unending request for pints of beer and I was stealing sips from an IPA when I could grab a moment. I’m going to like this neighborhood brewery/pub/bar.  I think I’ll be bumping into a lot of my friends and business associates there.

Just a close knit beer family

Posted August 27, 2010 by daniel 0 Comments | Post a Comment

While running errands the other day I got a funny call from Andy at Triangle Brewing Co.  He needed a favor.  Now, you need to understand this.  The Boys From Triangle are some very resourceful, self-reliant, guys not above some serious razzing and I’m one of their favorite targets.  Andy calling me for some help?  Well, I got ready.

The back-story started a few hours earlier, when after quite a struggle with a recalcitrant cask to be tapped at a Alivia’s, (home to Triangle’s weekly cask program), uncovered some technical weirdness with the tap.  Frankly, I’d never seen a gizmo like this thing.

So, the Boys From Triangle decided to borrow a tap from me, which I delivered to their brewery early in the afternoon and picked up my service fee in the form of a pint of Triangle IPA. Sweet.  Nice beer and a nice Good Neighbor feel.

Back to the call from Andy a few hours later.  It turns out my tap didn’t match the threads of their system.  Okay, three serious beer guys and we couldn’t have anticipated that move.  Huh?  By now Andy had inveigled the All About Beer Magazine staff to beat it up to Alivia’s, declaring a state of emergency!  When he called me they were cheering on The Boys From Triangle as they struggled mightily for hours trying to get this cask tapped without disturbing the cask ale.  Time was of the essence because the cask tapping party loomed.

I was doing a site inspection for the World Cask Ale Festival coming this October (get your tickets, not many will go on sale) and didn’t have my office/car keys.  Did I tell you that the staff was at Alivia’s?  So I called Angela, but then thought of the landlord.  Three trips back and forth from their office to mine before one of their keys unlocked the office.  I called Angela to tell her not to come, but she’d set out to let me in the office and left her phone at Alivia’s.

I am getting to a point, patient reader.

I drove home and pulled the correctly threaded nut off of my own tapped cask of Top of the Hill Saison, which later leaked all over the refer and the shop, and triumphantly delivered it to Alivia’s, The Boys From Triangle and the gang from All About Beer Magazine and the World Beer Festival.

Within moments we all had pints of Triangle’s cask IPA.  Then I looked around the gathering and realized, ah ha, one of my favorite moments — beer community! Here was the local brewery, owner and manager of one of our better beer bars, and the crew from the world’s best beer magazine and four spectacular beer festivals, all conspiring together to get a pint of brilliant cask ale on a beautiful Thursday afternoon.

It was a great toast from all of us.

Okay, this is weird.

Posted August 26, 2010 by daniel 0 Comments | Post a Comment

I’m sitting down to watch an old movie with a bomber of Foothills Baltic Porter.  Pop the cap and pour a nice tulip glass full of the dark liquid.  I put the bottle on the coffee table and pick up the glass.  Then I look at the open bottle.  I put the cap back on it, but it’s now crimped and doesn’t sit well.

Then the “ah ha” experience.  I head into the kitchen, rummage around the crap drawer (you know you have at least one of those) and find this old holiday present of a pair of wine stoppers.  These really, really heavy three dimensional dart shaped things with rubber ribbed sides.

I drop one in the Foothills Baltic Porter and get a pretty good seal.  Hmmm.  Knowing I had a couple more bottles I took that half empty bottle with the cork dork seal on it and stuck it in the fridge.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

The next evening, it poured a pretty good head.  I couldn’t taste any oxidation, but one day, in a fridge, with a big beer, I didn’t expect that.  Still, a pretty good head.

I guess there are some good things coming out of the wine world after all.

A night at the bar

Posted August 20, 2010 by daniel 5 Comments | Post a Comment

Some evenings can’t get much better. I’m such a sop for gatherings in the bar. This one tops the list however.

After a bit late stay at work, I stopped in at a wonderful source of draft Fullers London Porter, Bull McCabe’s. Laura called and I invited her to join the musings at a bar. Before she arrived, good friend Barry dropped in to catch the Twins game. The three of us chatted over a pint, while I awaited the arrival of dinner – veggie burger and salad. It’s true; I am trying to drop a few inches off the waist. When the cook, a good friend and consummate master burger maker delivered the plate to the bar, I took some abuse, much to my friends’ amusement.

Then the evening got very special. John, the cook, asked if I wanted to try some home made prosciutto. Are you kidding? After a veggie burger, hell yes. And it was very, good.  Amazingly soft for prosciutto. I hope you have enough imagination to sense what went on between the prosciutto and the Fuller’s Porter. A perfect match. I almost started whimpering. I excused myself from Laura and Barry, and headed to the kitchen in the most ingratiating fashion I could summon.

There was John with a grin on his face. “I knew you couldn’t hold out.” With all the grace I could muster, having been caught on the dark side, I asked for “more.” John laughed and said he’d fix up a plate with some slices of cheese and, bonus move, some corned beef he’d also made.

So here I am, after a fantastic, but long day at work, with a modern version of a Ploughman’s Plate and a classic English porter, and great company, sitting at a wooden bar. Now if that isn’t pure romance.