Life Through the Bottom of an Ale Glass
Often when I make the drive North to "civilization" from where I live, I stop at one of the local microbreweries; it's a place that those who like funky, well-crafted beer know of and just hitting the blips of the local alcohol distribution network. You see their brews occasionally on taps throughout the North here, but they don't bottle (yet?) and the selection, while huge at the brewery, is extremely limited in restaurants and bars. This is a brewery with character: funky art from hipster artists for sale on the walls, eclectic iPod-fueled audio, polished concrete floors holding mismatched chairs, DIY beer steins, Vogue magazines with Sharpie-stylized mustachioed cover girls & a schedule of beers, ales and porters that change entirely too often. It's a great place to watch people, eavesdrop on townie conversations or meet friends old and new for a pint or two or four. There's an ever-changing parade of patrons, you never really develop a feel for who will be there at any given time--it runs the gamut from local university students to au courant post-bubble pseduoyuppies to guys in moon boots and $400 sunglasses. I've never had a truly bad brew there, I was not crazy about their barley wine (judging by the half-finished glasses I was not alone), but the flexibility and creativity of the unseen brewers is the stuff of legend up here. Say you want to try something brewed with asparagus, bacon, cherry pie, basil, dill or myriad other arcane or esoteric ingredients--they'll have you covered. I, for one, did not try the asparagus beer; I know how my body processes beer and I know how my body processes asparagus, I'm not quite ready to combine the two...perhaps they'd negate each other, but I have the feeling that you'd not want to be standing down wind of me at the urinal a couple of hours later. The bacon porter is excellent, there's a glass in front of me as I type, I'm dreaming up all sorts of things that you could pair it with, though a PBJ on bacon toast from Respite Coffee would put me in heaven I think... (*shameless plug...my blog host has given me all these nifty new ways to imbed items in my postings, a little time off gives me time to fun them out...) and the honey-basil ale is awesome when they have it in the late fall. I'm going to miss this place when I head west, but moving to the highest density of microbreweries in the US, I'm sure to find somewhere just as quirky.