Monday, March 28, 2011

Beer Adventure :3/25-3/27: Part 2

Saturday morning I was back from the gym and getting ready to drive to Malden to watch my niece* Erika play hockey when a seed of an idea was planted.   Jayne was heading out as well,  to spend the day with her friend Lisa, when she jokingly made a reference to how close Malden was to Redbones (a place she knows I have a history of visiting).  Honestly, up to that point I hadn't made the connection between the Malden and its proximity to the city, but now my wheels were spinning.

Just that morning I had found a new beer bar I hadn't been to:  American Craft in Brookline.  It's owned by the same folks who own the Publick House and just down the street.   So instead of hitting Redbones like Jayne mentioned I could kill two birds with one stone by driving cross town to Brookline.  A plan was formed.

Unfortunately, I arrived in Brookline about 3pm.     That's a reasonable hour for many beer serving establishments but for some reason neither the Publick House or their sister establishment American Craft open for business before 4pm.  I knew that was their Sunday hours (my normal beer drinking day) but didn't learn it was the Saturday hours too until I was standing at their door.  (Like an idiot I didn't read what their weekday hours are so I could make this mistake again.)

Needing to kill some time I walked around some.  I stopped and got more quarters for the meter and while passing a place called 'The Abbey' across the street from the PH I noticed they were open.  I'd always figured the hours of operation of PH was a silly Brookline ordinance or something but clearly this place was open so that's probably not the case.  With a name like 'The Abbey' sitting across the street from reknown Belgian beer emporium like the PH I figured it's got to be worth a look.

So I go inside and it's a cozy place but not a beer bar.  They had Chimay on tap and some Cambridge Brewing Tall Tale Pale and a Dogfish 60 but not much else.  I had never had a Cambridge Brewing product before and it was really very good. I hadn't eaten lunch and and the food looked good so ordered a couple of their small plates:  Deviled Eggs and Smoked Cod cakes.  Both awesome.  Really nice staff too; stunning, statuesque young women behind the bar and a really friendly chap.   If you ever find yourself killing some time before PH opens definitely stop in.

As 4pm nears I join the gathering throng waiting for the PH doors to open.  I'm not first though the doors but I am first to the a bar stool and I belly up.  They have Sommerville's own Pretty Things' Fluffy White Rabbit - a hoppy Trippel style ale on tap  and I order a glass (I just got the connection when writing that sentence - Rabbit, Hoppy. Funny!) .  Great beer but I'm starting to get a little ticked off.

How when I'm sitting in one of coolest beer bars in Boston and enjoying a great beer could I possibly be less than happy?  You guessed it, the service.  At this point I've only had three interactions with the bar tender: (1. Asking for a beer menu.  2. Ordering a beer  3. Receiving said beer)  but I already know the dude is not in a happy place.  I know he's probably tired of beer geeks and college students and has a hangover and whatnot but seriously if you hate your job so damn much quit and let someone who has the common courtesy to smile and pretend to be friendly have the job.  Maybe he was the manager and covering a position for a co-worker who was late or called in sick.  Honestly, I don't give a rats ass.  Just be nice.  It's not that hard.

I ordered the Chacuterie plate and some fries with my second beer a Magruda Obscurant from Jolly Pumpin Artisnal Ales of MI.  It was listed as a Belgian style Stout on the menu and I guess that seems about right.  It was a good beer but not ground shaking, same could be said for the Chacuterie and fries which I hardly touched - all soggy and tiny cuts.  It was a rather disappointing visit.

I had room for one more beer in me and I still wanted to try American Craft.  While waiting outside of the PH I had overheard someone saying less than flattering things about it so my flame was a bit dimmed but I was in Brookline and figured I should give it a shot.

I walk the short distance to American Craft and go inside.  It was a big space but mostly empty except for a few people at the bar  The bar tender was so very pleasant however and even though the first beer I ordered couldn't be served due to some work being done of the tap system he set me up with another choice - a bottle of Short’s Brew Huma Lupa Licious, and was very nice during the whole process.  The Huma Lupa is a nice sturdy IPA.  It was a little more piney than citrusy but had great overall character.  I was still a little hungry and ordered 6 oysters.  Five of them were fantastic but one I had to spit out because it was seriously funky.  I told the bartender and he apologized and went back and got me another.  It was perfect.  Nice guy.  Nice place.  Definitely worth another visit.

Okay, so that wraps up part 2 of my weekend beer adventure.  Part 3 may never get written because this is already way longer than I imagine any of my imaginary readers could stomach.

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