Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lights Out and Bottoms Up in Bean Town

American Craft
1700 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA

As much as it pains me to admit it, Yankees do a get a few things right.

Like beer.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love my wild-boar-killing, tobacco-spitting, fellow NASCAR-watching redneck friends dearly, but sometimes I just get tired of drinking massive quantities of watered down Coors Light.

That can be a problem when you live in the South – the last corner of America to embrace good beer.

Of course, that’s one of the advantages of being Suit757.

When I get tired of the ubiquitous selection of Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Yuengling, it’s only a matter of time before I’ll be jetting off to some region of America where – by default – they have a more adventurous taste in cold suds.

Like Massachusetts.

Okay. You’re right. The Peoples’ Republic isn’t in America.

But there is one reason to break out your passport, Boston-English translation booklet and get your vaccinations updated.

Really good beer.

Specifically, the world-famous Publick House in Brookline, just a few “T” stops down the Green Line from Fenway Park.

Baseball fans have Cooperstown. Terrorists have Mecca. Constitution-shredding leftists have the Lincoln Memorial.

But beer drinkers have the Publick House.

I have one of those big coffee table books in the Suit757 compound titled “Beers of the World”. The Publick House gets a mention.

Like I said. World. Famous.

So imagine the soul-crushing disappoint when I discovered that a localized “brown out” knocked out the Publick House kitchen. No hot food. No gourmet lobster mac and cheese.


Maybe Barney Frank, who lives nearby, was too preoccupied to pay the electric bill. Or he was testing out his “Cap and Tax” scheme he loves so much.

The good news is the beer was still cold.

As you have probably figured out by now, the Publick House is not just another one of the “tap houses” that pop up in the light-in-the-loafers sections of self-styled sophisticated metro areas where beer snobs can grab a couple flavors of local microbrews.

No. The Publick House offers a selection of the VERY BEST beers the world has to offer.

You know that mouth-watering book on my coffee table? You can get those world class, double digit alcohol, grow-hair-on-your-chest beers right here.

Most of them come from Belgium. The country that is to beer drinkers what Greece is to lazy, rioting, living-on-the-dole, bailout-begging slackers.

My first pour was Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen, a more crisp, hoppy, refreshing version of the typical potent high alcohol Belgian beers.

As you might guess by now, the Publick House takes beer drinking seriously. They even pour your chosen Belgian beer in a glass specifically made by and imported from the brewery you select designed specifically for the beer it contains.

I think that’s pretty cool.

Normally, the only disadvantage of ordering fresh-from-the-brewery draft beer is that you don’t get to peel the label off and stare at the cool artwork that accompanies bottled beer.

Here you get the best of both worlds. I get fresh 10% alcohol beer on draft and I can check out the cool elf dude on the specially-made glass.

The fact that I’m getting excited about staring at a cartoon elf drawing might be a sign that the 10% is getting to me. Oh, boy. This is only my first one.

I’ll blame it on my empty stomach.

Clearly, I can’t stay here long. I’m going to need to line my stomach with something other than liquid barley.

But I can’t leave this world famous bar without trying at least one other brew. One I’ve never had before. One they will never serve at the Hammerhead redneck beach bar two blocks from my home.

I chose the Fore Smoked Stout, not from Belgium, but “imported” from the Dark Horse Brewery in Michigan.

As I’ve written here before, smoked porters are a unique and surprisingly diverse niche for beer connoisseurs like me. The malted barley is smoked. Kind of like what a Guinness would taste like in a really smoky Irish pub – before Ireland banned smoking in pubs, that is.

This Michigan version was tasty, but not that smoky at all.

By this point, I really, really needed some non-liquid sustenance.

Fortunately, the folks at the Publick House recently opened up a sister restaurant one block away called American Craft. Their power was on, the kitchen was open and the place was packed. On a Monday night.

As I understand it, American Craft originally was going to serve Southern style barbeque with a beer selection tilting more toward American “craft brews” rather than beer imported from the Old World. Hence the name.

But Barney and his homo neighbors apparently complained about the smoke.

Yeah. Damn Yankees.

My advice to barbeque craving Bostonians? You’re just going to have to travel to America if that’s what you want.

So I ordered the next best thing. The prime rib sandwich.

Meanwhile, I perused the chalk board of obscure microbrews like a deprived Yankee at a wet T-shirt contest on a Florida spring break.

Mmmm. So much good stuff. So little time.

My first choice was from the most experimental brewery in America – Delaware’s Dogfish Head. Them boys down in Dewey Beach will brew anything. And it usually turns out great!

My Dogfish Head Burton Baton was an imperial IPA with double digit alcohol content and a strong, delicious taste. Four star!

That beer is the personification of why places like the Publick House and American Craft are so much fun.

There just aren’t many places on the planet with such a wide selection of obscure high quality beers. I’m talking beers that have never before graced Suit757’s liver.

Beers like Sixpoint Oyster Stout, brewed in Brooklyn with real oysters!

Extra thick, with a briny texture, this stout had a nice hearty flavor.

Give me oysters and beer for dinner every day of the year, and I’ll feel fine. I’ll feel fine” – Jimmy Buffett.

Somehow, I doubt this is what Jimmy had in mind. But you know what? I’d bet he’d love it! I know I did.

Especially accompanying my prime rib sandwich and fries.

The beef was braised and shredded, smothered in melted cheese. The fries were top notch, hand cut spuds that served well to soak up all that four star alcohol I’d enjoyed all night.

Not to go all lefty on you, but this was one night I was happy to have the availability of public transportation. Although, I have to say, after standing in the midnight darkness for 20 minutes waiting for one of those century old Green Line trolleys, the “T’ does stretch the definition of “transportation” a bit.

Public transportation. Electricity rationing. Congressmen who run homosexual prostitution rings out of their congressional offices.

And really good beer.

It’s like I always say when I have a good time in a foreign country, “Nice place to visit…

…but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

Rating: Bought the Shirt!

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