Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday Afternoon Crawl

I tell ya, drinking in the afternoon with a trusted colleague and friend--is there anything better? And on one of the most beautiful days of the year, to boot. Three old-school taverns got our business that day: CW's in the Fairground Neighborhood, Valerie's Sit 'n' Sip in Hyde Park, and Hatfield's in St. Louis Hills. A proper account of these Old Reliables is necessary, but for now, I'll just say that the Stag was cheap, the music sweet and the barkeeps attentive. What else do you need, really?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend Roundup

Excellent drinking this weekend. A rare two-night outing, only accomplished because I got to conduct some business during some of the sessions. Aren't bars great?

Friday night was spent at the venerable Schlafly Tap Room. New chef/GM Andy White has reimagined the menu and everyone's stoked. I had the vegetarian shepherd's pie which was spicy and hearty and delicious, a perfect chilly Fall night bite. It was of course accompanied by an array of liquid hearties, including the Oatmeal Stout, Hop Harvest Ale, and the long-awaited seasonal Coffee Stout. Boatloads of lovely peeps were in attendance as well, which always makes the experience memorable (whattup DanSheenaPaulPaulBrett AmyBrendaKristinAndyTony!)

Saturday I was a little more, um, promiscuous. The evening started at Off Broadway at the KDHX volunteer appreciation party, which featured great burgers and brats from Kenrick Meats, and the sweet sounds of a young gent ("from just up the street") on kazoo and old-timey geetar. Had a coupla Stags--easily the #1 choice for cheap beer aficionados. Then, just down Cherokee to the PHD Gallery, where a colleague was opening a provocative show (entitled "Buy Mark's Art or the Terrorists Win"--check it out). Usually I settle for the white plonk at these things but they had cans of PBR so what the hell.

A quick jump from Benton Park to Tower Grove brought me and my lovely partner for the evening to Friendly's. Oh, Friendly's. This place, I believe, at this point, might qualify as a South Side institution. But so much about the place still just makes me wanna go "Yeesh." First off, this was my dad's haunt when I was a kid, so the phrase "been down at Friendly's" can still elicit an eye-roll in my family. Then there's the familiar scuzzy bar aroma, the fucked up floor out to the patio that threatens to make you spill your drink, the ubiquitous TVs with the game turned WAY UP--not to mention that bizarre big screen near the pissers that allows you to see the security camera feeds! My companion was generous on this last bit, pointing out how convenient it would be for a manager--or just a bar-goer--to be able to see the whole place at once, but it just gives me the creeps. Twenty cameras in this joint? Yow. But here comes the but: Really nice patio bar area, friendly staff (duh), and happy hours that start after 10 pm. Dig that crazy shit. Keep drinking and the beer gets cheaper. Suddenly a round of Schlafly Oktoberfests is five bucks. Who's creeped out now? Not me.

A last-round swing by the new Amsterdam Tavern on Morganford capped off the crawl. The theme here is futbol, with an emphasis on the Netherlands. Decent European bottle selection, big comfy beflowered and firey patio, and, usually, footie on the telly. Tonight, hey, it's the World Series. Phillies are up two games, if you're wondering. Oh--had a Spaten Oktoberfest and a funky fruity decidedly-past-its-prime Fuller's ESB. Didn't say anything because I was more interested in catching up with an old friend who showed up with a literal busload of bachelor party guests. By the way, the whole place erupted in applause when the bus started to unload. That's the spirit!

Don'tcha just love drinking in this town?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The "Honest Pint" debate

Ok, this is interesting.
I've noticed some better beer places in Saint Louis switching to some version of the marked 18-20 oz nonik/tumbler glasses, so the serving can have enough head to be visually and olfactorily pleasing while providing a full 16 ounces of beer. I think it's an excellent development, but I also don't think we'll see the end of the 16 oz shaker pint any time soon. Of course, anything's better than the 12 oz shaker-pint-looking glasses a local restaurant tried to sell beer in a few years back. (Employees rebelled, the 16 ouncers were brought back and the price went up.)

Brew Day Recap

So that turned into a full on party.

My dad invited his homebrewing neighbor, my girl brought a coupla friends, all the bros showed up, it was a thing. The only bump happened when a filter fell back into the mash, gumming things up for a bit. And the water had to be replaced because someone dropped a shrimp into it. And the wort got siphoned rather messily, so there was a little sediment in the final product. But eventually the beer got into the final container and into the office closet to rest.

Next time, it'll be much more dignified.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homebrew Day #1

Today, I take the leap.

Twelve or so years after opening my heart and taste buds to flavorful beer, ten years of pouring said beer for pay, and about a year after my first batch of mead, I, here, now, today, with my best friend, father, brothers and son at my side, will finally, at very long last, get off my ass and brew some damn beer. Why did it have to become such a big production, you may very well ask? My question as well.

It will be a scotch ale. And this beer will be good. And we will call it "This Beer."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Baby steps

The theme for tonight is Editing.

I just found a bunch of articles I wrote a while back that never really saw the light of day. Trying to polish 'em up now and see if they're worthy to show anyone. Also, the business plan is being overhauled again. Progress!

Got to try the new O'Fallon Cocoa Creme Stout today. Really really nice. Much more approachable than I'd expected. Expected dessert, got more sessionability than most milk/sweet stouts offer.

Sprout's screamin. Gotta go.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cheap beer you can't have

So over at stlhops there's a running tally on "what you had last night." I've been skipping it b/c my intake lately has been limited to the same few beers, including Boulevard Pale, Schlafly Oktoberfest and O'Fallon 5-Day. Why have I been limiting myself? I got a deal on six-packs of these lovely reliable session beers. I'll be drinking off these for a while. No, I'm not telling. Get yer own.

I did buy a Mikkeller Jackie Brown from 33 a few nights ago. I'll be holding off on this one though until the sweet cool nights of Fall are here to stay.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This thing here

Just my beer diary. Want lots of information and opinion? Want lots of information and opinion with a local emphasis? Me, I'm just recording my experiences so I stop forgetting them.