Monday, May 2, 2011

Best Beer Day Ever Part 2: ?????

After a nice little Saturday afternoon at Monk’s Café with Brother Joe, which you can read about here, I headed up 95 to pick up Wife and load the car full of baby gifts.  Once the car was loaded, I handed Wife the keys and we headed to the turnpike to take us home. 

I was asleep within 10 minutes of Wife putting the car into gear.  Not that I was that tired, it is just how my body and mind deal with the absolute horror that is Wife driving on the turnpike.  She hits that cruise control button and the shit show begins.  Me falling asleep is merely a proactive passenger strategy I refer to as defensive napping.

After a hard break followed by the unnatural acceleration indicative of Wife driving using only the buttons on her steering wheel - pedals are way obsolete - I was awake and pleasantly surprised by two things: 

1.  We were alive.
2.  We were only five minutes from our exit. 

I brought up the idea of dinner and again was pleasantly surprised when Wife agreed with my suggestion of the Tap and Table.  We’d been there several times before, I even wrote about it here, and it was starting to be a little hit or miss, leaning more toward the miss side lately.  But I saw somewhere, maybe Facebook, that their beer list had been updated and that they were doing more customer feedback stuff so I figured it was worth another try.

My meal was awesome and Wife’s was alright but it doesn’t really matter because I heard through the grapevine that the place closed - but I am glad our last trip there was a pleasant one.  I am going to miss that place.  I wonder what happens to all the beer in their coolers? 

From what I understand, the owners also have The Bookstore in Bethlehem,  the Fork and Barrel, and the Farmer’s Cabinet, both located in Philadelphia.  From what I’ve read, it appears the Fork and Barrel has also closed but the Bookstore and the Farmer’s Cabinet remain open.  The Farmer’s Cabinet has a nano-brewery, in other words - a very, very small brewing operation - run by this guy, Terry, who used to brew for Bullfrog Brewery - an awesome brewpub, from what I’ve heard, in Williamsport, PA, and I really look forward to a trip to both Bullfrog and the Farmer’s Cabinet, hopefully this summer.

But back to the beer in the Tap and Table’s now warm coolers, because they had some great ones in there:

I started my meal with  Bell’s Hopslam Ale (10% ABV), a seasonal double IPA offering from Bell’s that I’ve read is so hoppy my mouth may just go numb.  It was very hoppy but not obnoxious.  My mouth did get a serious tingle from the first sip, but not quite numb.  Perhaps I should have rubbed it on my gums?  What?  But it was a pretty tasty double IPA, nicely balanced, with a crisp finish.  The taste had hints of grapefruit, flowers, honey, and just a bit of pine and there was a very drinkable quality to this beer that really hid the high ABV.

Bell’s Expedition Stout (10.5% ABV) was on tap, and even though it was a bit out of season, I had never had it on tap so I knew I wanted to finish my night with one of those.  You don’t go questing for a beer all winter and then pass it up when it’s on tap right in front of your face.  So while I would have loved to have another Hopslam or two, I knew I needed to start transitioning a bit from one flavor profile to the other so I could enjoy my draft Expedition Stout properly. 

Also, if you drink 10% beers all night you might pee yourself, or worse, say something so hilarious yet so wildly inappropriate that you get banned from said establishment.  Which has never happened to me, by the way, but I really do feel that I am one night of drinking 10% ABV beers away from something exactly like that happening to me.  I’ve been asked to leave enough campfires to know I’ve got it in me.  Apparently, Mennonites are a touchy subject in my town.  Someone could have told me that before I decided to combine the words slut, whore, Mennonite, and bitch one night many moons ago. 

First rule of comedy: know your crowd.  Second rule of comedy:  post-college-feminist-Mennonite-wannabes have no sense of humor and on top of that, they don‘t understand the concept of an inner monologue.  Or perhaps I don’t entirely understand the concept of an inner monologue.  Either way, the tofu dogs we were grilling should have clued me into the fact that I was not at the right party for a tale of Mennonite promiscuity that ended with me being rejected and angry about it and without my wallet.

“What did you just say?”

“And to top it off, the bitch stole my wallet”

“What? That’s ridiculous, you gotta go.”

“Seriously, over that?”

“Just because a woman rejected you makes her a slut, a whore, and a bitch?”

“Don’t forget Mennonite.  She also stole my wallet. True story.”

That was also the night that I’m pretty sure Wife fell in love with me.  (The true story is I went to the local hardware store, held the door for a Mennonite chick, I said “Hello”, she said not a fucking word, not even thank you for holding the door, and then when I went to pay for the six nails I was buying I realized I had left my wallet in my other leather pants.  Unfortunately, this is not the version of the story I told to the fem-bots roasting testicles around the fire.)

Perhaps I would have been better off doing the bit where I claim that my feet never smell no matter how hot or sweaty I get.  At which point I remove my shoe and sock, smell my own sock and then attempt to smell my own foot - however, I feign inflexibility and appear unable to get my nose close enough to my foot to get a good whiff. 

“Go ahead, take a whiff, it’s amazing - they never smell”

“Alright, let me smell it”

“Go for it.”

“Oh no, they kinda smell, actually they really smell bad.”

“That’s weird, they never smell.”

(I'm really sorry Rachel, you were the last person on Earth I thought would actually volunteer to smell it - I was aiming for the cousin that looked like Corey Feldman with a beard.)

Okay, enough about my great material for Last Comic Standing, back to the beer I was drinking to help transition from the Hopslam to the Expedition Stout.  After finishing the Hopslam, I ordered a Lefebvre Blanche de Buxelles (4.5% ABV) - a Belgian White beer similar in style to the Allagash White I’d drank earlier in the day at Monk’s Café.  I knew, after the Hopslam, this would pretty much taste like water - I had this before and it’s pretty good, a good session beer as it goes down very easy, but it seems a little bland compared to the Allagash White or the Avery White Rascal (another great American Belgian Style White beer, but with a bigger flavor profile than the Bruxelles or the Allagash, in my opinion).  Regardless, it went great with the mussels I had for dinner. 

With my palette pretty much cleansed, I wanted to venture into something a little darker.  I found a Scotch Ale on the list by Dark Horse Brewery called Scotty Karate (9.75% ABV), apparently named after a local one man band, Scotty Karate.  The beer was a dark brown, with a tan head and a dark fruit booze aroma.  It was very smooth to drink, with a low carbonation, and had a malty flavor with hints of caramel and cherry, although it was not as sweet as it smelled, which was a plus.  There was a faint, faint hint of the booziness flavor that I smelled with a surprise suggestion of chocolate or cocoa toward the finish.  Overall I was really surprised by how much I liked it, as I had never tried a Scotch Ale before.  However, I have read a few reviews that suggest that this may not be entirely true to the style of a Scotch Ale.  Whatever - it was really, really good.

I finished the best beer day of my life with an Expedition Stout from the tap.  And damn that beer is like a punch in the tongue.  It’s like that Uncle that puts you in a headlock the second he sees you and noogies the hell out of you, sometimes too hard, but you never let on that it sort of hurts, because you’re 22 years old dammit and noogies aren’t supposed hurt a grown ass man - so you pretend to laugh so hard while your in that headlock, like your Uncle’s armpit is playing Eddie Murphy’s Raw as an in-flight movie, so that when you finally earn your release, the tears in your eyes require no explaining.


  1. Anonymous post.
    You're descriptions are creative and artful and your baby daughter is beautiful. I am in love with you.

  2. Since I moved out West, I'd forgotten all about the Mennonites. They're the Mormons of the East!

    We don't have many Mennonites out here, New Mexico has a few Quakers out here, which I suppose are like the Mennonites, in that they probably got their biggest influx of converts were conscientious objectors, except one makes furniture and the other makes oatmeal.

  3. @doublewordscore - I don't have a whole lot of context to compare the Mennonites to, but it is a pretty cool aspect of the town I live in - the horse and buggies, women in long dresses and men in suspenders and fedoras riding bicycles, and the pretty awesome baked goods.

    @anonymous - Wife is pissed.