Steel String Brewery Round 2 – Rollie Pollie

 

In previous post about them, I waxed philosophical about the general high quality of Steel String Brewery’s people and beer, so I’ll be sparing that narrative and getting down to business. They now have a beer called Rollie Pollie that knocked my socks off. Coming in at 6.5%, it’s a sipper with a lot going on. There’s a smokey nose (yes, smokey), a sweet but peppery flavor, very light…OMG WITH A BBQ SANDWICH, THIS WOULD BE UNSTOPPABLE! Its kind amber to orangey in color and a little cloudy, and I would drink a lot more of this if I could.

They were going for a BBQ inspired beer, and nailed it.
They were going for a BBQ inspired beer, and nailed it.

There happened to be a really fun comic book event going on in partnership with Chapel Hill Comics on this visit that was worth mentioning. If you ordered a flight there were comic book pairings, and you got to keep two of the books. I have to say that the folks at Chapel Hill Comics have always been very easy to talk to, informed, and able to make great suggestions. It only makes sense that friendliest brewery in Carrboro team up with the friendliest comic shop in Chapel Hill and have an event.

The final bit of praise for Steel String I’ll leave you with today will be the fact that you can now get their beers in bottles in select areas!

Bottling = more for later = good times
Bottling = more for later = good times

Next up on the whiskey front, I’ll be taking a flight of single malts from Glenmorangie. See you then!

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw

Check out Steel String here: www.steelstringbrewery.com

Chapel Hill Comics here: www.chapelhillcomics.com

 

Eat Like You Mean It…or dont…whatever

Sometimes in life you can never go back.

Hardee’s breakfast will always have a special place in my heart, in no small part because of their California Raisin figurine campaign from the late 80’s. I loved those little guys. As a child I was told that you could only get them from Hardee’s at breakfast time, and only if you ordered a cinnamon-raisin biscuit. This may or may not have actually been the case, it may have been a way of preventing me from asking if we could stop at Hardee’s every time we passed one. Needless to say, as a 7-8 year old, getting yourself to fast food in time for breakfast (let alone procuring money to purchase anything with) is a daunting task, so in my mind, I was S.O.L. Whether or not the breakfast bit was true, my parents somehow managed to collect me a fine lineup of California Raisin’s, or as I called them “raisin men”.

I stole these off the grape vine...or Google image search, either way, these are the guys I remember.
I stole these off the grape vine…or Google image search, either way, these are the guys I remember.

Given my predisposition for bending to nostalgia, I recently took an excited visit to a Hardee’s for breakfast only to sadly find that unlike the McDonalds biscuit review, sometimes you can never go home. With garish signage imploring me to “eat like you mean it”, promises of “new thick cut bacon”, and the continued existence of ::gasp:: the fabled cinnamon-raisin biscuit, I was entranced by the Hardees siren song.

Whoaaaa...
Whoaaaa…
THEY STILL MAKE THESE?!?!?!
THEY STILL MAKE THESE?!?!?!
How can I say no to this face?!
How can I say no to this face?!

I decided that I was going to go big. I opted for the chicken, egg, and bacon biscuit with swiss cheese. It looked gargantuan, it promised “thick cut bacon”, it had a novel cheese, it called to me in a way that I hadn’t realized was possible from a sandwich. I was moved by its visage, inspired to achieve greatness. So inspired was I that, that caution was thrown to the wind, and a cinnamon-raisin biscuit was added to my order as well! If was going to consume a caloric intake more appropriate for a 48 hour period in one sitting anyways, why skimp?

My first impressions were that the chicken biscuit was enormous, and that the biscuit looked a little wimpy/broken up. Measuring in at 5″ wide (tip to tip on the NJ shaped piece of chicken) and a smushed 2″ tall, this was one serious sandwich.

njchix
The chicken looks like Jersey!

2inchtall fromtiptotip5Unfortunately, the chicken turned out to be way too over-breaded (even for fast food fried chicken), too salty, and too greasy. The bacon was sad, pathetic, burnt up bits, and absolutely not the stuff represented in the pictures. There was a lot of egg, so that was cool, and the novelty of swiss cheese instead of the standard American or cheddar was cool. Tragically, not even the biscuit itself was good. It was a greasy, crumbly, overcooked mess. Biscuiteers, I must confess that I didn’t even finish it. It was that bad.

It falls apart if you look at it too hard...
It falls apart if you look at it too hard…
Look at this sad-sack bullshit!
Look at this sad-sack bullshit!

I ran to my cinnamon-raisin, icing covered biscuit hoping for some redemption…alas, it also did not live up to my expectations. It was probably 3.5″ wide, and not too tall (1.5-2″).

Redemption?
Redemption?

It was really soft, almost cake-like in texture…like Duncan Hines box cake (which I love…chocolate cake with white icing and a little bit of red crystalized sugar sprinkled on top for color and added texture…so gooood). It had a TON of icing on it, but only like two sad little raisins hidden in it. It was too sweet for my liking, but went alright with a nice black coffee.

raisin
Hello raisins my old friend
noraisin
ONE RAISIN?! ONE. RAISIN.

Thanks to the excessive icing here, and the excessive salt from prior I do believe that there was a possibility that my blood pressure was now through the roof, AND I had just developed diabetes. In the end, to Hardees I say: I’ll start “eating like I mean it” when you start making food like you mean it. Maybe I’ll try a different location down the line…maybe.

Shut up.
Shut up.

This was a let-down. At least I’ll always have the raisin men…actually, no I wont, I dont know what happened to them. I hope that they’re in a box somewhere to be discovered down the road.

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw

A Tale of Two Irish Whiskeys

Discovering a new favorite Irish whiskey.

I was recently gifted a bottle of The Quiet Man traditional Irish Whiskey (http://thequietmanirishwhiskey.com/) by Mike of White Stag Trading Co. (http://www.whitestagtrading.com/). The majority of my Irish whiskey experience can be traced back to younger days, enjoying Jameson primarily as a shot, not really giving much thought to what subtleties might present within. I decided this would be a good time to revisit the classic (to establish a baseline), before exploring the newcomer to my world.

What can be said about Jameson? How many times had I over imbibed to the point of regret on this nectar in my early to mid-twenties before allowing it to slip from my regularly scheduled programming, only coming back as a part of a Hot Toddy when needed? I used to really like it, and then it slowly disappeared. It was a bit more yellow in color than I remembered, almost radiant. Light nose, light taste, almost grassy, with sweet end notes, and a familiar burn at the end. It’s a solid drink choice, widely available, and familiar to millions. Not being blown away, but having established a solid baseline, it was time to move on.

I hope you didn't need picture to visualize this. I didn't want to get more than airplane bottle...that should tell you where this is headed.
I hope you didn’t need picture to visualize this. I didn’t want to get more than airplane bottle…that should tell you where this is headed.
This is amazing, and it is my opinion that if you like whiskey, you need it in your life.
This is amazing, and it is my opinion that if you like whiskey, you need it in your life.

The Quiet Man has a nice story on the side of its bottle about the distiller’s father being a bartender in Belfast, and where its name originates from. I always find little touches like this as having a way about them that can endear me to a product. I know it sounds silly, but I like to know a little bit about where what I’m getting myself into is coming from…unless its light beer, then I don’t care, then I just want light beer. So having poured a glass, the first thing I noted was that it still had that yellow tinge, but was paler than Jameson. It had a floral nose, but what struck me was how rich the flavor was. It had a bit of the grassiness from Jameson but was dominated by more malts, and a big almost buttery finish that possessed a subtle but welcome sweetness. I’m in love. This is wonderful Irish whiskey, and I feel spoiled for future encounters with lesser varieties.

So thanks Mike, you may have brought me back into the world of Irish whiskeys with this one.

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw

Must we play this game every time?

Quick break from biscuits, whiskey, and beer to pose a question. Do we need so many questions, and so much paperwork in our retail experiences? Let me relate the interaction I just had while purchasing a book.

Me: Hey how’s it going? (places book on counter)

Clerk: Did you find everything ok?

Me: Yup.

Clerk: Will you be saving with us today by using a membership?

Me: No.

Clerk: Would you like a membership?

Me: No, thank you.

Clerk: Would you like to provide an e-mail for updates and sales?

Me: No, thank you.

Clerk: Will this be all?

Me: Yup.

Clerk: Would you like a bag?

Me: No, thank you.

Clerk: Ok, you ca have a nice day.

Me: You too!

THAT’S A LOT OF DIALOGUE. For the record, I have no ill-will towards the clerk, I understand they have to abide by the script, but maybe, just maybe, someone at corporate should reconsider the amount of questions asked of a person buying a single book.

Also, have you been to CVS lately? They print receipts as long as your arm, even when you’re just getting a soda or a pack of gum. Its equally as nuts.

Lets get back to simpler times of “hows it going?”-“this it?”-“yup.”-“thanks!” and keeping it moving…with receipts that only list what you bought and who you bought it from.

This about sums it up.
I am keenly aware that this about sums up this post.

That Irish whiskey post is coming soon, promise.

Charlie Mewshaw

 

Bull Durham Beer Co. – Lollygagger Kolsch

It was late last summer that I first tried a Bull Durham Beer Co. brew at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Immediately drawn in by the novel approach of actually having a brewery in the small stadium, I looked forward to seeing how their lineup would grow. Now that they are entering their second season, with expanded offerings, the excitement and buzz around this new company is really growing. I took in a game during the teams opening weekend, and decided it would be prudent to stick to one type of beer from Bull Durham Beer Co. per game, stretching the adventure out through the season a little.

Fine day for a trip to the park.
Fine day for a trip to the park.

The brewery being located in the stadium is impressive enough, but then you factor in the fact that they utilize those super futuristic bottom-filling cups, and the whole experience begins with a wow-factor of 11 before you even have a sip. Now I know this filling method isn’t new, but it’s still novel to me, every. single. time. You can even keep the little magnet on the bottom as a souvenir, my fridge has several.

In-stadium brewing!
In-stadium brewing!

Here’s a quick video if you’ve never seen magic beer filling stations in action:

 

The disc at the bottom is a magnet...every beer has a prize!
The disc at the bottom is a magnet…every beer has a prize!

For this game I went with the “Lollygagger Kolsch”, a light, crisp brew that evokes sunny afternoons spent leisurely enjoying one’s self at the ballpark. It’s got little to no head, but plenty of carbonation, a clean taste, and it truly may be the perfect baseball beer. It’s got an ABV of 4.7%, so you can have a few without worrying. It’s got the perfect balance of malts and hops, and really is just exactly what I think a beer should be. I only wish I could have it at home, but then again, maybe what makes it special is knowing you can only have one at the game.

So good.
So good.

I’ll be revisiting more of Bull Durham’s offerings later in the summer, and look forward to watching Mike V of The Everymen break his personal hot dog eating record on one the many Thursday night dollar dog nights this year. Speaking of The Everymen, they’ve got a new album available now (https://theeverymen.bandcamp.com/) and are about to embark on a tour that will likely land them in a town near you.

That’s all for now, tune in next time for a tale of two Irish whiskey’s.

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw

Rise Biscuits and Donuts

Rise Biscuits & Donuts is a North Carolina chain of breakfast eateries with locations in Durham, Morrisville, Carrboro, and Raleigh, and new locations opening in Charlotte and Wilmington soon. Their website proclaims their vision of serving great food at an affordable price point, made with premium quality ingredients by people who care. I had been hearing about Rise for some time, usually with fervent adoration, and the insistence of “you haaaave to try it.” Based on this, I decided that a rainy Spring morning would be ideal for visiting. My logic was that the rain would drive away the lines usually seen out front (also it was the wife’s birthday and she wanted to go, so there it was). I was wrong.

Before we go any further, I have to admit that I was approaching Rise with healthy skepticism. The hype was just too much, from too many people, I felt like everyone was just convincing one another that this was some kind of artisanal donut/biscuit thing and if you didn’t say how great it was, you just didn’t get it. There was just no way it could be as amazing as everyone was saying. I was wrong again.

Whenever anyone talks about fancy donuts, I think of the episode of The Simpsons...
Whenever anyone talks about fancy donuts, I think of this episode of The Simpsons…

Upon entering, I first observed a donut + biscuit = heart shaped art thing and thought “how true it is…”, but then I noticed the line…and the lack of places to sit. The Rise disciples will not be deterred by weather, will be out in droves always, and will eat standing up. Upon approaching the counter there was a glass case full of awesome looking donuts and pastries (the apple fritter is as big as my head, and I have a noggin). The girl behind the counter had the disposition of a wet paper bag and couldn’t be bothered to smile, or really say anything. At this point I thought, “yup, here we go…all aboard the artisanal, too cool to care hype train”, but then a funny thing happened. The price was totally reasonable, not an inflated artisanal price, but a reasonable, normal price for a bacon egg and cheese biscuit (it was like $3 and change, I don’t remember exactly). I happily walked over to waiting area.

How true it is.
How true it is.

While waiting, you can peep through a little hole in the wall and watch the kitchen staff buzzing around like manic worker bees, assembling, frying, baking, and running orders. I’m sure kids love this type of stuff, but I felt bad for the people working. I wouldn’t want to be constantly watched at work, but they seemed not to notice.

I seeeee you.
I seeeee you.

A much friendlier seeming man brought the orders out, and when I heard him call my name I proceeded forth to claim my biscuity prize. It came in a Rise branded bag, wrapped in Rise branded paper, and was an impressive specimen upon unwrapping. I forgot my little tape measure, so I used a quarter for referencing size as seen in the pics below. It was of noble stature, not gargantuan, but not small (it was a little shorter than I had envisioned). The golden yellow biscuit contained a single fried egg, some great thick cut bacon, and a slice of cheese. I have to say that the best part of this biscuit was the bacon. It was very flavorful, and its smoky character really compliments the buttery (but not greasy) Rise biscuit. The biscuit itself was an absolute champ, it didn’t crumble away, held together like you would hope, and had an impossibly light but substantial texture. I think the buttery flavor sans greasy texture is accomplished through a bit of extra flour, I noticed that it had a bit of a floury thing going on. I kind of inhaled it honestly, so the truly unique floury undertones went somewhat unappreciated until the end of the experience, but it was good.

Two quarters tall? Let's go with that.
Two quarters tall? Let’s go with that.

IMG_8305

BACON FIT FOR KINGS!
BACON FIT FOR KINGS!

I’d like to revisit and try some of pastries next time…Rise, you are as good as the hype.

It really is "so good"
It really is “so good”

Tune in next time when I begin part one of what will be a summer long run of beer reviews from the Bull Durham Beer Company from their ballpark brewery!

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw

Boh-Shine

Today I will be combining both whiskey and beer, in a discussion built surrounding the venerable National Bohemian.

Natty-Boh is something of a cultural phenomenon in the mid-Atlantic, specifically Baltimore. With a long and storied past that has been covered at great length elsewhere on the web, this once brewed in Baltimore beer was at a time distributed nationally. After falling out of national favor, it lingered as a budget beer in Maryland for decades, eventually ceasing local production after the brand was sold, moving out of state, at some point spawning the awful “boh-ice”, and generally being relegated to a place alongside Narragansett and Lone star as a local oddity/novelty brand. After a resurgence of interest in the brand starting in the late 90’s into the early 2000’s, its iconic imagery spread throughout the city (great old marketing campaign posters, and a snappy cartoon mascot helped), and the brand relaunched in full – though it is still made out of state. Now it has become un-escapable, with expanding distribution, and availability on draught after a number of down years of existing bottles and cans only. I’m pretty sure that in some parts of Maryland they’re even tattooing children with Mr. Boh’s face at this point.  It’s an inevitability that they’ll get one someday themselves anyways.

An example of the modern can design.
An example of the modern can design.
This beer was so bad...I never met anyone who actually liked it.
This beer was so bad…I never met anyone who actually liked it.

Speaking of children, I have a coming-of-age tale brought to you by Natty Boh that seems appropriate to tell at this point in our examination. It was the late 90’s, I was 15 years old, approaching 16, and needed to log some forgotten number of hours driving with an adult to qualify for a driver’s license. My father, being a generous man came to me one afternoon and said “drive me to the liquor store, and I’ll sign off on an hour.” You must understand, this was a 10-minute trip, so his offer of getting a full hour signed off on was a sweet deal, and of course I agreed. So we got into the car, drove to the store, and while in line he gestured at the cooler next to the register filled with single loose cans of Natty Boh “why don’t you get one for yourself”, feeling like a total badass I said “ok!” and handed one to him to purchase for my own. While on the brief drive home, windows down, summer sun shining, he handed me my single beer while rifling through his own bag of freshly acquired brews and said “here ya go.” I was floored, I had made it, I was all grown up! I could do whatever I wanted! I cracked it open, took a sip and ::SLAP:: beer gone, dad now has it, and is saying “pull over.” I did, confused, as he informed me “you were just drinking and driving dumbass.” I drove home thinking it was a dirty trick, but it worked to enforce the notion that just because someone says to do something doesn’t make it a good idea…this magic moment was brought to you by Natty Boh.

This is the Boh can I recall from my misspent youth.
This is the Boh can I recall from my misspent youth.

Boh comes in bottles, cans, tallboys, 40’s, and draught, and will consistently, without fail, give you a hangover that will make you wish for death if overly consumed. It will also give you the absolute rankest farts this side of rotten eggs. With a flavor ranging from corn when ice-cold, to yeasty when less than ice cold, one thing that can’t be said about this lager is that its lacking in flavor. It’s unique (although Trader Joe’s “Simpler Times” Lager tastes very close), and not without charm, but there’s better cheap beer options. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I might have one here or there, but after however many gallons consumed over the years, the affair is over and it’s no longer a staple in my fridge but rather a throw back enjoyed with friends before moving on to some other drink.

Tastes alarmingly similar to Boh.
Tastes alarmingly similar to Boh.

At this point if you’re still with me, you’ve got to be wondering, where does the whiskey come in to play here? Well, I was recently privy to sample some home distilled National Bohemian whiskey (which is totally illegal and I do not officially condone in any capacity as the proprietor of www.biscuitswhiskeyandbeer.com). What’s that? Liquor made from triple distilled Natty Boh, oak aged for mellowing and flavor? That doesn’t even make sense! You’re right, it doesn’t, and that’s why I get such a huge kick out of the secretive TBM Distiller’s Boh-Shine. It’s technically a whiskey based on the ingredients used to make the beer from which it is distilled….don’t argue this, I looked it up. Coming in at 45-50% ABV (I’ve been told the bottling is less than an exact science…TBM being bootleggers and all), if you take a whiff out of the bottle, there’s a slight familiar smell, with oaky-char overtones. This is a loud, brash shine. It’s got a very slight beer taste, but is surprisingly sweet, mostly oak in flavor (must’ve been a heavy char on the barrel), and while stiff, not un-enjoyable for sipping over ice. For a novelty item of dubious legality, this was a fun one. I’m sure it took a TON of crappy beer to make one little bottle of this stuff, but I think it’s better that way, a true labor of love, and a gesture towards an old familiar friend, Mr. Boh.

The best parts of Boh, with all the worst parts distilled out and bottled at 45-50% ABV? Sign me up!
The best parts of Boh, with all the worst parts distilled out and bottled at 45-50% ABV? Sign me up!

Here’s to you Mr. Boh, we’ll meet again…and again, and again.

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw

Adventure Biscuits

I recently spent a couple of nights out in the wild, wonderful wilderness of West Virginia, and let me tell you, it made some distinct impressions. First off, when you get really out there in the mountains and your phone displays “no service” for probably the first time ever, you start to feel a little like Matt Damon in The Martian. Not the parts where he’s working to survive, like the first parts, where he’s still all “well this sucks.”

Well shit...at least it looks nice here.
Well shit…at least it looks nice here.

Once that subsides, and you figure out how to get your bearings, things calm down until you have to stop at the only gas station you’ve seen for an hour of driving. It’s immediately evident that you are less Matt Damon in The Martian, and more Luke Skywalker in the Cantina scene from A New Hope. The people…they stare…hard. All you can do is smile back, be friendly, and hope to not get captured while eyeing the nearest escape points.

Man, I just want to get some blue milk, and get the hell out of here.
Man, I just want to get some blue milk, and get the hell out of here.

Truth be told, everyone I talked to was totally cool once they got done sizing me up and decided I weren’t no revenue man comin’ fer the shine proceeds. The main take away from that particular stop was that people in rural West Virginia (as opposed to more developed areas, like say Morgantown) don’t believe in sugar free ANYTHING. They’ve got energy drinks you’ve never heard of, in sizes that would stop a horse’s heart…but no sugar free anything.  It’s weird. Also, lip sores in full blossom were on display in these parts, and the cashier definitely licked her thumb to count out change. So that happened, and so did a frantic hand sanitizer bath once back to the vehicle.

Once the site was reached (I drove through a river!), and camp was made, I partook in a practice only previously seen on adventure/survival reality shows. I drank charcoal water…yum. You see, I was getting over a legit, “sick from both ends” bug, and although the worst had passed the day prior, lingering queasiness was impeding my spirits from rising. Observing this, White Stag Trading Company’s very own Mike (http://www.whitestagtrading.com/), and partner in crime-for-life Kevin debated the amount to prepare, but agreed that I should drink the slurry. So we burnt a stick, scraped off the charcoal bits, and down the hatch it went. It didn’t taste like anything, and had a sandy texture, it was actually unremarkable in every sense, but it got my gut right and left my teeth black…already I was assimilating to mountain ways.

Stir it up...just like Ovaltine.
Stir it up…just like Ovaltine.

 

Not so bad looking, right?
Not so bad looking, right?

Kevin had brought some Bisquick, and stated his intentions to make some biscuits using the recipe from the box on day two of the trip (add milk, cook). This task would require a spoon/spatula, and since none were available, he impressively fashioned one from some wood.

Spoon!
Spoon!
IMG_8220
It didn’t make itself…

Once the giant dough ball was made, it was hit with a weeee bit of garlic salt,  broken up into biscuity shaped balls, and placed in a Dutch oven (go ahead and laugh, I am). The Dutch oven (still giggling?) had been used for some bacon earlier in the day, so a wee bit of flavor was meant to be included in this now highly anticipated batch of biscuits.

Dough ball.
Dough ball.

These things came out amazing. Maybe it was the fact that I had only eaten MRE’s at this point in the trip, but the kind of burnt crunchy outside, and hot bready inside was amazing. It was like a ball of that bread restaurants sometimes bring out, it even tasted buttery despite their being no butter (and the garlic salt was ever so subtly in the background). I am now a born-again believer in bisquick, and feel ashamed for having neglected it for so long in favor of the tube kind of grocery store biscuits.

Dutch oven, pirate flag, feet up. It's a good day to be alive.
Dutch oven, pirate flag, feet up. It’s a good day to be alive.

 

Biscuits workin.
Biscuits workin.
IMG_8234
Done.
The best snack I have ever had.
The best snack I have ever had.

Join me next time, when I return to civilization and continue discussing things of no consequence.

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw

Steel String Brewery – Dad Fuel

Steel String is a small brewery located in Carrboro NC that makes adventurous, but grounded beers, and rotates their offerings with amazing regularity. They don’t distribute their beer in bottle or can, so it’s all draught, and only available within a small geographical range. Their staff is amazingly nice, and not in a weird cheesy way. One time after a few too many of their beers, I left a stack of records on the corner of their bar, and the next day I went back to behold that the bartender actually saved them for me! Another time, I was flying solo at their trivia night, killing time until a show later in the evening, and I got absorbed into the staff’s team sitting at the bar. Seriously, really awesome people making amazing beer. It’s always exciting to walk in, gaze upwards at the offerings of the day, and check the “coming soon” board because you know an old favorite might be coming back, or something unknown might be coming the pipe. They really do a great job of keeping it interesting, which is why I hate to say that Dad Fuel didn’t knock my socks off and won’t be a revisit for me.

IMG_8166
Steel String Growler with some good reads and instructions.
IMG_8164
Anticipation! 
Dad Fuel
Dad Fuel

Weighing in at 5.1%, and pouring from the growler with a golden color, I was looking forward to seeing what a Steel String Lager would be like. It was light, with mild, but present hop profile, kind of yeasty…reminds me of cheap beer, you know – Dad fuel. I get it, I really do, they wanted to do a version of an easy drinking, every day beer. Thing is, there’s a ton of those on the market for way less money. I love Steel String, and I’ll continue going and trying new things, but this wont be a staple of my visits like say their “Big Mon” and “Rubber Room” offerings…or this one mysterious dark one that I recall from two winters ago whose name escapes me, but it was so good that here I am still talking about it.

Feeling bad about saying anything less than “I loved it!” in the case of this amazing brewery, I made it a point as a postscript, to go in and try something else I hadn’t had before from Steel String before posting. They are as of this writing offering a really cool Coffee Saison that I thought was great…see? There’s something to suit all tastes at Steel String Brewery.

No head, almost citrus sour notes with big coffee flavor, its weird and wonderful.
No head, almost citrus sour notes with big coffee flavor, its weird and wonderful.

See you next time biscuiteers!

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw

Provocation of my Ire

Dear Biscuiteers,

I must address a recent occurrence that has underscored some notions previously held quietly between my ears. I can’t stand snarky, know-it-all hipster types. Recently I traveled with a small group of three to a local watering hole known for its “hip” atmosphere, and fancy high-end cocktails and liquors. It’s the kind of place you take out of town guests for one drink before moving on with your evening (which is exactly what we were doing). I have visited it about half a dozen times, and had mixed experiences, but nothing like what has just transpired. I will not name this establishment, but instead describe the experience on this particular evening.

Upon entering and perusing their list, our party ordered at the bar. What other’s ordered on this tab is of no consequence, what is of consequence is that I ordered a single pour of Hudson Manhattan Rye on the rocks. The pour was lean, but it always is at this place when ordering anything other than a cocktail, so I took my tiny drink and sipped it for probably half an hour until we decided to be on our way. Prior to leaving, I excused myself to the gentlemen’s room. Upon emerging, I found that the Mrs had graciously picked up the bill, and we were on our way.

Once we had left the establishment and were well on our way home, I was asked if I knew I had been ordering such an expensive drink. I replied with “huh?” What occurred next highlighted the ineptitude of the staff member that was working solo that evening in an otherwise empty bar. He charged $26 for a lean pour of a very good, but not exceptionally rare whiskey.

This was some serious elitist hipster nonsense. You would think that for $26 I would be receiving his most cherished sacrament: the artisinally distilled tears of Lena Dunham, filtered through a finely waxed beard, poured over ice imported from Mt. Kilimanjaro (which cost the lives of dozens of indigenous peoples btw), and presented in a genuine prohibition era crystal high-ball glass.

I flew into a rage, demanding we go back, I was denied. Instead we tried to call, there was no answer of the telephone at this empty bar. A polite message outlining the current MSRP on a single pour of the product in question was sent discretely to the establishment’s management. There were no accusations, merely an inquiry as to whether the charge in question was in fact their list price. If so, ok cool – fool me once, but if not…wtf man. Management responded and confirmed that we had in fact been charged more than double what it should have been. It was further explained that the bottle was old, from an original distillation of the label, and that it was slightly higher than MSRP for the current bottlings of the brand. Ok, cool, expensive rare drink, but not double their asking price, vindication! An arrangement was had, and recompense made. This is why I will not name the establishment, however, this is where it takes a turn.

I was to pick up the object of restitution the following evening (a gift certificate, avoiding any weird credit card cancellations). After work I dropped in, approached the bar, and explained I was to be picking up an envelope. The jackass bartender rolls his eyes and says “oh you must be the rye people, you know that it’s a special bottle…” and I replied “yeah, I get that, but we were still overcharged” to which he said “well…yes and no.” This is where I almost lost it. Instead, I upped my volume, shifted in tone and replied “NO. The email we got confirmed that it was not priced correctly. Look it up. $26 is an ABSURD price for a single pour of that liquor. I’m not going to argue, please give me refund that is waiting for me in the office.”

This is where the sniveling, know-it-all, douchebag, looking like an extra from the set of Portlandia, put his hands up in the air like I was going to assault him, and his with voice escalating in pitch whimpered “ok ok ok”. Seriously, that guy can go to hell, now I feel like I’ve been insulted twice. I’m sure that he’ll describe me as the biggest prick in the world to his boss, but the truth is, his boss knows that what went down wasn’t right, and that they have a serious problem with a few of their bartenders being jerks (its actually a problem in their online reviews).

Anyone who starts a sentence with “aaaaactually” or “well…yes and no” deserves to get hit by a train. Say what you mean, be able to back it up, and if you do happen to disagree with someone and have facts on your side, assert yourself. Don’t be a snively ass-hat. Especially if you look like a clown. If you CAN’T back it up…then don’t say anything!

Next post won’t be as angry, and will extol the virtues of finding a balance. You don’t owe it to anyone to like everything and everyone, but chances are, if you take a minute to understand your fellow man, you’ll find some common ground. The same goes for biscuits, whiskey, and beer…dig a little, and you’ll find something you like.

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw