Tuesday, March 24, 2009

my perfect beer joint

just what is the "perfect beer joint"?

i think for everyone it is a somewhat different answer for different reasons, wholly personal of course. but, ask enough people and/or do enough studies of one's own, and some commonalities start to come into focus.

most important of all is the quality and variety of beer available. i will forgive many a thing in beer joints if the beer is worth going there for, minus dirty tap-lines and stale beer of course. secondly, i would have to say that knowledgeable and friendly staff is key to keeping the Good Beer Love alive and well. there can be nothing worse as someone new (or experienced) who is curious about an unknown beer and the staff on hand know as little as you do which is equal to nothing. third is the crowd. i'm all for jolly times, laughter, and a boisterous crowd, but please mind those manners and common courtesies. as much as i am there to have fun with friends new and old, i am there especially to enjoy the Beer.

so to summarize:
  • 1) selection
  • 2) knowledgeable, passionate staff
  • 3) comfortable atmosphere and customer base

so next question then would be does your favorite beer joint have to be local? personally, i would have to say "Yes". one can have a favorite beer joint to visit when traveling, but the perfect joint should be local. as one infamous Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head is fond of saying, "Think globally. Drink locally." which i think also applies to one's beer joint. no matter what day of the week, rain or shine, busy or slow, lazy or running a-mile-a-minute, you know that the minute you step inside all of that is left behind and it is just you at the bar counter, beer glass in hand brimming and foaming with joyous abandon, and the company of friendly fellow beer compatriots and comrades-in-life.

this of course is leading to my own personal favorite perfect beer joint. (though, i am probably pushing my own stated standards in terms of the locality.) i live in Vero Beach, part of Indian River County, while Vine & Barley is in St. Lucie West, part of St. Lucie County. all it takes though is a 25 minute trip in my car, not long at all imnsho, and i am there and all my worries are washed away. whether i am there for 30 minutes or 3 hours, it is all the same: perfect beery relaxing bliss with a generous helping of fun sprinkled throughout.

as i type this i am here right now supping on a Saxo Blonde Ale served to me in her proper Saxo snifter glass, as she should be. another oft underlooked quality of a good beer joint is proper glassware, the more variety the better. an old, tried and true concept in Europe, it is slowly growing in understanding and appreciation here in the states, advocated most passionately by beer geeks and professionals. it is a tuesday night so it is more relaxed and quiet; come on a friday or saturday night and you are in for lots of people, lots of good beer (and wine), and lots of fun.

want to watch the big game and catch some grub? you better look elsewhere. Vine & Barley is a wine and beer lounge; not bar, restaurant, or pub. the focus is on quality beverages and quality bar food in the name of gourmet cheeses and meats for some of the best dishes to nibble along with your brew, ever. this is a lounge of old-school class and gentry.
  • smoked gouda.
  • crumbly and creamy blue cheese.havarti and brie that melt in your mouth.
  • divine intervention is here and now.

had dinner already and looking for an after-dinner apertif with some dessert? no problem. they offer at least a half-dozen wonderfully delicious desserts that pair wonderfully with their wide selection of quality craft and import beers. of course, i have never had a problem with dessert before dinner, but that's just me.

seeing as i am here now enjoying yet another day at my perfect beer joint, i have included some choice pics on this lazy Florida spring day of sunny skies, puffy clouds, and perfect beer bliss.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

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