Micro Home Brew
The occasion often starts out with an unannounced text during the height of the day that reads, “Taproom open tonight for some sampling.” Then, that evening, once the kids are tucked in and I get the green light from my wife, I head out in the darkness to search for the fresh brews. I drive through a quiet, unassuming neighborhood that has no idea what goes on during some week day nights. I pull up to the curb, usually with no one in sight. All I hear is the darkness of night and see the second floor bedroom lights illuminating the neighborhood as kids prepare for another night of sleep. I walk up the elevated driveway and head back to the sunken, quaint brick patio that leads to a glass door. It’s understood that I should just walk in, careful to stay quiet because the brew master’s family is getting ready to sleep upstairs. When I enter through the glass door, I am surrounded by even more darkness, except for a glow of light streaming up through the stairwell and the laughter that soon follows the light. My eyes try to adjust to the light as I walk down the stairs to the small basement home brew pub. The laughter grows louder. There are usually between 4-8 guys attending the sampling, depending on the night and everyone’s schedules. The brew master is usually found behind the modest homemade paneled bar with three beer taps coming from the side of an old, avocado green refrigerator tucked into the corner next to the bar. We have all seen this green refrigerator at some point while growing up.
The familiar faces are always eager to see the bigger company and to try the new samplings of brew that are being offered. I look around, only to see half-empty glasses. I realize that the beer taps are indeed flowing. There are project lights hanging from the drop ceiling, illuminating the bar top where I head next after shaking hands on my way. My parched mouth keeps me focused on my goal: Getting a cold brew in my hand and seeing the brew master.
It turns out the brew master already has one poured out for me as he describes his latest brew. I can’t help but lift my first beer to quench my thirst. Mid sip, he says, “What do you think of my newest beer that I call the penetrator?” I almost spit the beer all over the bar, laughing, knowing the name probably isn’t suitable for the grocery shelves yet. ”I love it!” I reply. It’s a fitting name for these micro brews that are a little higher in alcohol than the weaker domestic pale ales we generally see.
The brewpub’s rusty ‘70s color patterned carpet clashes with the Ohio State Football paraphernalia decorating the walls. Everyone’s week activity stories flow as quickly as the beer. We are a group of guys with varied backgrounds that genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Then, Fremont brings the guitar out as Chopper starts his vocal warm-ups, taking another sip of beer to prepare for what is about to happen. Fremont becomes a human jukebox, strumming out any song spanning three decades. He doesn’t waste any time before the favorites come out, along with some more recent songs that we all try to sing but have no business in trying. Nobody cares because we’re having too good of a time. The brewpub opening hours aren’t that long but are filled with good conversation, micro brew, and an occasional guitar karaoke. The evening soon comes to a close, and we know the reality of life awaits us in the morning.
Sometimes, some of the patrons make a request for a jug of the new sampling to-go. This is always a treat that holds us over until the next brewpub outing.
The beers that was on tap this particular night:
Blackstone Ale- Brown Ale (ABV= 5.2%)
A deep copper brown ale that has a full, malty body with hints of chocolate, a touch of sweetness and a light hop flavor.
First Straw Wit- Belgian-style Wheat Ale (ABV= 5.6%)
Brewed with orange peel and coriander, this lightly spiced Belgian-style wheat beer is full of body and is very easy to drink.
The Penetrator IPA- Wheat IPA (ABV= 7.8%)
A unique IPA style which has a strong hop start and an even bigger hop finish. This is due to the light silky wheat allows for many flavors to penetrate through to you taste buds.
Until next time, when that unassuming midday text comes through…
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