Monday, September 24, 2012
The Publick House Won’t Let You Down
The Publick House
1648 Beacon St.
In case you haven’t noticed, as Suit757, I get around. I’ve been to some of the coolest bars and restaurants in all 50 states.
So you’re probably wondering, “Suit757, don’t you ever get a bit jaded about all these exciting places to eat and drink?”
And I have to admit, there is a bit of that “been there, done that, bought the shirt” mentality that can seep into my road weary consciousness. (I have an entire closet full of t-shirts.)
But there are still a few places in America I get excited about.
I’m talking school-girl-at-a-Justin-Bieber-concert excited.
Deprive-myself-for-24-hours-in-advance, pack-a-supervalue-pack-of-BC-Powders and clear-my-schedule-the-following-morning kind of excited.
The dark candle-lit Old World ambiance of this place and world class beer selection make it a premiere destination for serious beer drinkers.
Not “I’ll take something that tastes like Blue Moon” beer drinkers.
I’m talking REAL SERIOUS beer drinkers.
The best beers brewed on Planet Earth. Beers you can’t find anywhere else. Poured into appropriate glassware specifically designed for each beer.
Beers like Houblon Chouffe, Piraat and Gulden Draak, my three favorite beers from Belgium – a proud specialty here at The Publick House.
Belgian beer tastes different from beer brewed anywhere else in the world.
Usually well balanced between hops and malt, Belgians typically let the alcohol and yeast shine through with a sweet fruity taste.
The Publick House is so famous for its wide selection of draft Belgian beer, that it really is obligatory to begin with one.
My Houblon Chouffe looked beautiful sparkling in its specially designed glassware in the fading twilight. Crisp and refreshing, but with a powerful 9% alcohol punch, it slid right down.
Despite the “Dobbelen IPA” label on the Houblon Chouffe glass, this Belgian is smoother and less hoppy than its more aggressive American Double IPA brethren. It may claim the IPA label, but Houblon Chouffe is still a Belgian at heart.
As if to test my theory, I moved on to the American microbrew portion of The Publick House beer menu next and ordered a double IPA called “Mongo” brewed by up-and-coming San Diego brewery, Port Brewing.
Now that’s a hoppy kick in the pants!
The Publick House is known for its fresh Belgian beer on draft, but sometimes a bottle-conditioned Belgian can be ever better.
After three high potency beers, I desperately needed something to line my empty stomach.
While I’m sure the rest of the food on The Publick House’s menu is delicious, I’ll never know. That’s because I always get the famous gourmet mac and cheese made with five types of Belgian cheeses melted into a crock full of orrechetti pasta.
I occasionally wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat dreaming of this dish.
Best of all, you can add meat, seafood or vegetables to your mac and cheese for a truly over-the-top dish of comfort food.
Most folks pick one add-on.
But not Suit757.
Maybe it was the three near double-digit alcohol beers on an empty stomach, but I just couldn’t decide.
Top notch bacon? Andouille sausage? Caramelized onion?
“What the hell. Give me all three!”
My waitress looked a bit stunned as she scribbled my order and tallied all my extra add-ons.
I have to admit, her reaction gave me a bit of buyer’s remorse.
Would it be too much meat? Too greasy? Too over-the-top?
Would it be worth nearly twenty bucks for a modest-sized crock of college student fare?
When she slid my steaming mound of gooey cheese, meat and pasta under my nose, all those apprehensions disappeared into the night.
Worth. Every. Penny.
Holy St. Bernardus!
This was one of the most fantastic dishes that has ever graced my taste buds.
The melty cheese and noodles were luxurious. The bacon added a smoky essence to every bite while the andouille sausage contributed a zesty kick of spice.
Best of all, the caramelized onions balanced everything with a sweetness that elevated this dish to the Comfort Food Hall of Fame.
I knew I needed a special brew to accompany my self-created masterpiece.
Something smoky and sweet and savory, just like my gourmet mac and cheese.
I found my answer deep in the bowels of The Publick House six page beer menu.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urboch.
Translation: Kick-ass German smoked beer!
Yes. The beer is smoked.
Well, the malt in the beer is smoked, more specifically.
If you are a beer connoisseur looking to try something different, you have to try a good German rauchbier like Schlenkerla Urboch.
Like smoked country sausage in bottle, rauchbiers are almost exclusive to the German town of Bamberg – and The Publick House, luckily for me.
Unlike some American smoked beers I’ve experimented with in the past, this real deal German smoked beer doesn’t skimp on the smoke.
It’s like drinking a pack of Marlboros. But in a good way.
And the perfect compliment to my bacon and sausage studded mac and cheese.
At this point in the evening, it was WAY past the point of time to retire to my hotel room.
Then I remembered that I was taking public transportation this evening.
Transporting my drunk ass back to my hotel room is one of the few good uses I can imagine for massive taxpayer subsidized enterprises like Boston’s venerable “T”.
“Hey, this is MY piece of the bailout,” I rationalized to myself as I perused the menu for one good night cap.
Sensing a rapidly approaching law of diminishing returns, I knew I should tone down the exotic flavor and high alcohol for something my altered palate could still appreciate.
So I opted for a classic German pilsner, Kulmbacher Edelherb Premium Pils, served on draft in a traditional glass German stein.
American mass-produced watered down light beers like Miller Lite claim the “pilsner” label, but that’s like referring to SPAM as an ethnic delicacy.
Kulmbacher is what a pilsner REALLY tastes like.
Crisp and dry, with a nice hop kick, it was a perfect ending to one of the greatest beer drinking experiences of my life.
As I stumbled through the Brookline darkness to the Green Line station a block or two away, I had a big sudsy smile on my face.
Despite all the build up, excitement and anticipation, my evening at the world famous Publick House lived up to my heightened expectations.
Exceeded them, in fact.
That’s what makes The Publick House a true “bucket list” destination for serious beer drinkers the world over.
So I’m telling you. If you love beer like I do, get here now. Plan your vacation around it.
Even the most jaded among us won’t be let down.
Rating: Bought the Shirt!