Friday, May 29, 2009

Hey Tazio, what's in the Beer Meister?

Well, I'm moving up in grade a little this week. What we have here is perhaps the first growler of One Guy Brewing ever tapped in a private beer meister. Inside is the fantastic I.P.A. that get's better every time I taste it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beer Tax

C sent me this link that briefly describes a proposal to increase the tax on beer to pay for health care.

Tell your representatives how you feel about this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Freeland Mountain Pub "Fun" Run 2009, Monday May 25th

Gee. I almost forgot about the Freeland Mountain Pub "Fun" Run 2009, that's coming up this Memorial Day, Monday May 25th. It starts downtown Freeland (you can't miss it) and the gun goes off at 3:00 pm.

There are team prizes for top pub teams (10 members per team) and I do know that in the past, you could run unaffiliated. If you're interested follow the link above for the entry form and more details.

You must be 21 or over to run and there are other PLCB rules that apply.

I understand that this benefits the Freeland Chamber of Commerce which uses the monies to put on Santa Claus comes to town, Easter Egg hunts for the kids, and other endeavors.

Not certain of the distance and number of pubs participating--maybe 5.5K and 10 or 11 pubs. It's hard to imagine that many pubs in Freeland, but yeah, there's that many. Coal miners had big thirsts.

...with a Happy Ending at Marty's Blue Room in Sheatown

It may be sacrilegious to speak of Cooper's as becoming old-hat but yes I'm gonna say it.

So with adventure in mind, S and I were looking for something more or at least a break-from Cooper's, for after-show Saturday. I spotted a place over at mybeerbuzz (thank you Mr. MyBeerBuzz you can always be counted on to serve up tasty mugs of beer information) that seemed interesting so I thought we'd hop on 81 south and charge into Sheatown to try out Marty's Blue Room.

It's been a long time since I've visited Sheatown and it brought back many memories for me of visiting my Dad's cousin, wife, and kids when I was a youngster--as a matter of fact, they live just off the main street beyond Marty's Blue Room. I still remember the delight of visiting to see their famous Christmas lighting displays which were always gigantic and magnificent, yet designed in a tasteful way....

Anyway, we parked on-street just after five and went inside. I was forewarned that reservations were strongly suggested for weekend dinner, but thought to myself: Hey! How busy can this place be in an out-of-the way place like Sheatown? Well. I thought wrong and it took all of the Polish charm I could muster to wrangle a table, even at this early hour!

Proceeding past a long bar with a back bar display boasting a cache of ammunition casings and a few guns that would have made Charlton Heston envious, we walked to the back where we were seated in a booth in the intimate dining room that was already half-full just after opening. This is always a good sign.

Of course, beer being necessary for proper digestion, that was our first stop: The Beer Menu. I knew ahead of time from Mr. MyBeerBuzz that Troegs was in the house and yet my eyes were magically and mysteriously drawn as they always are to the delectable taste feast described on the menu. With the onset of Summer, there was really no questioning anything beyond Troegs Sunshine Pils--a fine brew that I had enjoyed many times before from the famous Tazio Beer Meister--last summer perhaps, a simpler and more carefree time for certain. S chose the Ithaca Apricot Wheat which I sipped and also consider a fine and sweet Summer nectar.

For an appetizer, I had heard some murmurs of fondness for the corn and crab chowder, which, by golly, turned out to be deserving of not murmurs of faint praise but shouts of joy. This is a real gem here--where the roasted sweet corn and sweet crab morsels combine into perfect complement. One plus one equals three with this one.

Personally, I was hankering for steak and quickly settled on the 16 oz choice center cut strip special (medium rare). S went for a regular cut Delmonico (medium). Sides of Cole slaw were on tap for both of us, and I being something of a Cole Slaw connoisseur (in addition to sausage, bacon, and beer), found the serving to be ample, chilled, and just the right coarseness (not finely grated, thank you). Semi-sweet, semi-tangy, semi-creamy. The way it should be.

When the chops arrived, my center cut was almost hanging over the sides of the plate with the vegetable of the day, green and yellow string beans and baby carrots arrayed alongside it occupying almost the remainder of the plate. A small hibiscus flower adorned, graced, and colored our plates. I admit to being no horticulturalist; it may have been something else but hibiscus sounds nice to me! S had a side of creamy mashed potatoes, Cajun Tater I think it was, that disappeared before I had a chance to sample it.

The steaks were perfectly prepared and mouth-watering tender. My side of vegetables were fresh, slightly firm, and not overcooked into a sodden morass of limpness (as they sometimes are when not attended to properly in the kitchen).

This is a casual restaurant with bar that provides a pleasant ambiance. There are many framed photos adorning the walls with probably many great stories behind each and every one.

The wait staff was attentive but got busier and busier as our dinner progressed. As we left there was a short line of people waiting for a table.

I would like to see a few more beers on the menu, something a bit spicier to stand up to the beef menu items. But I always ask for more beer choices, so what else is new?

All in all, a worthwhile experience. I will be back to savor some Cajun delicacies next time.

Three fingers up for A Bronx Tale and Marty's Blue Room.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Bronx Tale...

Alas, Christmas 2008 ended with a bang-up matinee performance of A Bronx Tale written by and starring Chazz Palminteri, Saturday, at the Scranton Cultural Center.

If you haven't seen the movie, in a nutshell this is the coming of age story of Calogero 'C' Anello, growing up in the 1960s in an Italian-American neighborhood near the corner of East 187th Street and Belmont Avenue in the Bronx.

C's is befriended by the local don Sonny (Sonny had five fingers, but he only used three.) and his world begins to be colored and pulled by the gravity of many new and interesting characters but at the same time resisted by the pull of his own father Lorenzo who serves as his moral compass during this tumultuous period. In the course of the story, C finds himself faced with all sorts of funny situations like The Test to see if a girl can be trusted, and at times serious grown-up situations like crime and racism, that try his burgeoning passage into adulthood and make him question right and wrong.

Mr. Palminteri plays all the characters, perhaps three main and 12 minor characters, and effortlessly slips between each in conversation and physicality. In addition the character of C provides ongoing narration that puts you into his mind and feelings as he grows up.

The play was without intermission and lasted about 95 minutes and made me appreciate the craft of acting and what is possible with a good story and great acting.

This was a rare and tour de force performance people, the likes of which I've never seen before. If you get a chance to see it and unfortunately this is only playing a small number of cities, by all means do so--you will not go away disappointed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bacon, Beer, and Sausage

Well, here it is. The Bacon Explosion in all it's portly porcine BBQ glory.

When looking for a brew that could stand up to the intenseness of this savage lovefest, I knew I needed something that would hold its own up against the most vicious of flavahs. I opted for a Troegs Hopback Amber Ale which suited me and the pig just fine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hey Tazio what's in the Beer Meister?

Well, in light of the recession and all, I have been consuming the best I can afford lately. At these gravities and taste, 48 ounces lasts a long time for me.

Hemingway's Old Haunt

The former Sloppy Joe's in Key West is only a short 850 miles from Myrtle Beach. I stopped in last week to see where Ernest spent the money he didn't throw in the ocean or his backyard pool, and where the paean to his first wife, a urinal, came from. Had a quick Tony's Amber which tasted like a basic lager to me. It quenched my thirst well, having hiked around all morning in the heat of 25th latitude sunshine. I'd recommend it for the dive bar ambiance.

Oh. Here's the urinal (foreground) he was forced to decorate for his wife. Now functions as the cat watering hole.

Old Forge Brewing Company

I like the spirit of Old Forge borne out by the color scheme, dentil, and cornice details. The iron theme is introduced by the signpost design.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

and B is also for Bumstead's Pub

Last week, I had the great fortune of using my good friend G's timeshare in Myrtle Beach South Carolina. Thanks, G--you're the best!

Myrtle Beach is a wonderful town with a lot to see and do, especially for families, with Hard Rock amusement park, plenty of intricate miniature and regular golf courses, water parks, of course the ocean, beach, waves, swimming, kiting, etc., and reminiscent of Daytona Beach with high rises fronting the ocean along Ocean Boulevard.

While in town I struck gold twice when I managed to find Bumstead's Pub one block in from Ocean Boulevard on Mister Joe White Ave., near where North Ocean Boulevard changes to South Ocean Boulevard. (The streets descend 29th, 28th, 27th etc. coming down North Boulevard from the north, then after reaching the midpoint, ascend 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. while traveling south along South Ocean Boulevard.) Roughly.

This dark and handsome English pub-style place has a decent set of taps and a wonderful bottle collection which I was able to try out first hand. The food menu is nice, inexpensive, and tasty too. The bar maid was attentive and most importantly not at all unpleasant to look at.

I had a quick Abita TURBODOG Dark Brown Ale which went down nicely after a long day in the sun on the road. The beer menu boasts probably over 100 bottles of wide variety, sure to please all beer tastes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

B is for Beer

B is For Beer by Tom Robbins sounds interesting.

You know, it's only seven months `til Christmas...

Friday, May 8, 2009


Is it just me or are you too about to puke over the TV and radio commercials running these days with British and Australian voice-overs?

I can't take it any more.

There's the nauseating gekko peddling insurance.

And there's some irritating British guy doing a radio commercial for the North Carolina Lottery for heaven's sake! What's up with that?

And stop using shilling, end of the day, holiday, kit, best regards, and other nonsense, please.

And what about the rogues gallery of British financial punditry on CNBC? What the frick do they know about American companies, the American economy, and any and all things American?

I'll grant you the Brits gave us the Who, the Clash, Shakespeare, the Pub, a few decent ales, and the language. And the Australians gave us, um, the boomarang.

Why do you think advertisers are doing this? Do the focus groups tell them that someone with an Australian or British accent is somehow more trustworthy or believable?

Don't fall for it people.


Decabrew on Tap!

I woke up earlier this week and found myself waltzing into a beer bar that I had not visited before.

I was salivating to see what was on draft but low and behold they had all or almost all what I'll call Decabrew for lack of a better name.

By Decabrew I mean beer that's not from a Macro brewery or from a Microbrewer. I'm referring to beers like Sam Adams and Yuengling. Put another way, beer brewed by a company brewing say, greater than one million and less than two million barrels a year.

I can't think of any other beers that fit this category off-hand.

I found myself with an fitful thirst, yet I found myself turning my nose up over the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, Sam Adams Summer Ale, Yuengling Lager, et al.

There was never a time before when I behaved this way. I wonder why? These are all great beers but I found myself yearning for more.

Are Decabrewers on the slippery slope to Macrobrewer? Are these beers just too mundane these days?

Am I becoming a beer snob?