Friday, July 30, 2010

Golden City Brew-Ha Ha. Gimme a Coors.

Wherein a native Coloradoan gets a lesson in just how much has changed in 33 years.

I’ve returned from a trip to Colorado and, by and large, it was a nice, if somewhat poignant visit for me. Nevertheless, from the standpoint of new beers sampled and new places visited, there was one significant negative experience that I’ll relate now to get the ugliness out of the way.

Last Friday I went out of my way to find their establishment and, arriving to find an adjacent beer garden full of laughing patrons, I entered through the open front door and approached the counter where I enjoyed the pleasure of being ignored by two or three folks for a couple of minutes, while a line formed behind me – a line occupied by at least one individual who was obviously past the point of intoxication.

Eventually, a woman washing dishes in a back room leaned around the doorframe to ask, “Have you been helped?”

“No,” says I, finally hopeful that I’d gotten in with the right person in the joint. I quickly stated that I’d like a glass of stout.

“We’re closed,” came the reply from the dishwasher. The stunned look on my face must have provoked her into adding that they were only filling containers or some such. (Remember, the beer garden outside is FULL of people.)

I was still attempting to register this nugget of knowledge – and I’m sure the dumb expression on my face told the story – when a second woman, similarly clad in a red t-shirt, sauntered into view. She cast a look toward me and based on her expression I felt the impulse to further explain myself (I frankly don’t recall if she bothered to ask my business). I restated my request for a beer and then trailed off saying, “….but I understand you’re closed.”
The snotty tone of her monosyllabic reply echoes in my head even today, a full week later: “Yeah,” she said, with a sort of rising inflection at the end that implied, “what are you, a moron?”

I stammered something about the price of a t-shirt and said maybe I’d buy one, though in my mind I knew immediately that I’d never, ever purchase another Golden City Brewery product again in my life. I took the brief walk of shame toward the door and out into the fading light of a Colorado evening. My hopes of sampling a local stout dashed.

Golden City Brewery touts itself as the second largest brewery in Golden, Colorado. For now, my money will go to support the biggest brewery in Golden, Colorado because, for all their big business, stomp-the-little-guy swagger, Coors still makes decent beer and their staff aren’t wankers – at least not in my experience.

In closing, let me state that before heading over to Golden to be ill used by the staff at Golden City Brewery, I sampled a bomber of their Mad Molly’s Brown Ale. Here are my notes, verbatim (remember, I jotted these before heading out to find Golden City Brewery):

Smells of chocolate in the bottle. Pours whiskey brown with a thin but respectable head. It’s either too carbonated or I’m using the wrong glass or both. Slightly nutty, vaguely chemical. Thin mouth feel means it works on a hot day. Not great. 4 or 5

So the one GCB beer that I did manage to purchase (at a liquor store) was okay – let’s say mediocre. But get this straight: It’s okay to make mediocre beer, perhaps it’s even okay to make bad beer if you behave like a decent human being, but if you make mediocre beer and you and your staff are jackhole’s to boot, we’re going to have problems.

Check back soon; I’ve got nice things to say about Breckenridge Brewery and Tommyknockers Brewery!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Beer Moment: Cold Beers on a Hot Patio

I’ve subtitled this as a “beer diary” from the start and with that title comes the fact that from time to time there will be some heavy baggage to carry here – or I can stop posting and cash in my chips, I guess.

I’ve been out of the loop for a month or so.

I’m growing my beard out some these days, which isn’t too unusual for me given that I try on the beard now and then just to see how gray I’m getting. (I think John Steinbeck wrote that growing a beard is the only thing a man can do better than a woman.)

Difference this time ‘round is that I’m keeping the beard for now because it’s the way I would have last appeared to my mom as she lay sick and dying in a hospital bed.

Mom passed away very suddenly on May 29th. Just about 2 months after a wonderful 80th birthday party, at which we were all blessedly oblivious to the cancer that was even then taking her away from us.

I haven’t been drinking heavily as a form of painkiller as I thought I might under the circumstances; though I have had some beers for sure. I’ve had occasion to stop off at mom’s place a time or two in the last few weeks and I always take a moment to have a cold beer out on her patio – just one, maybe two – never too much to count me out for the hour long drive back to my place. (I had coffee and donuts one morning, too by the way.) It’s good therapy, there in the shade, with the incessant heat licking at the edges of the patio cover and at the edges of my soul; watching the wildlife.

Mom was a lot of things in her life but never a quitter. She lived in France shortly after the war, she worked in the then traditionally all-male banking industry, she nursed more than one dying husband and she wrote a book. She was awesome and largely under appreciated. She’d probably be a bit disappointed that her youngest son chose to first eulogize her on a beer blog. “You learned to drink in the army,” she once admonished me.

At times like this, I think the tendency is to make wild promises about how one will lead ones life going forward. “I’ll go to church every Sunday.” “I’ll give more to charity.” “I’ll stop swearing.” “I’ll never drink again.” “I’ll only cheat at cards if I plan to give the profits to charity, while not drinking or swearing.” You get the picture.

For now, I’ll just keep the beard. Beyond that, I am what my mom made me and I’m sure that at some point she’ll tell me what needs changing. I'll get myself straightened out and post some more here soon.

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