So… what do a Beer Ambassador and her Love do when they have the whole weekend to themselves? Without kids? Pub crawl of course!
Even though someone somewhere apparently thought it amusing to curse upon us a nasty head cold in clear violation of our weekend plans, deterred from beery foodie bliss we were not.
Starting with a side-trip to the historic Treasure Coast Antique Museum for some breweriana and glassware hunting, it was then off to the original Hurricane Grill and Wings. The birthplace of good wings, yes, but of good beer to drink with good wings, no. Thankfully that has changed, and under new stewardship the original Hurricane's is flourishing. While not sporting quite as many glistening spouts of beery decadence as my Hurricanes, a grand total of fifteen fountains of bliss is nothing to scoff at. With the exception of Miller Lite, Bud Light, and PBR, all the rest were craft choices. Located along the Fort Pierce jetty, any number of crafty treats (Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Harpoon IPA, Drifter Pale Ale, Ale, Cigar City Maduro Brown, UFO Hefeweizen, to name a few) await your thirsty attention while the blue cheese and jalapeno queso dip with kettle chips awaited our Sierra Pale and Holy Mackerel. Yum!
Rumblings in the belly sated for now, twas back onto US1 South through Fort Pierce for an impromptu stop in at the Boozgeois Saloon. Location? Behind Roy’s Liquor where time past tempts the present. A last bastion for smokers, what it loses in health it gains in old world charm. You truly feel like you have stepped back in time no sooner than you step through the doors. As your eyes adjust to the darkly wooden establishment where lighting is an after-thought, a plethora of old kitschy and risqué posters offend and intrigue at the same time. As Laura and I swirled into our bar stools, we leaned forward to savor our Southern Tier IPAs and, much to our contentment, realized leaning was not necessary.
Finally! So many drinking establishments have crappy chairs, stubby bars, and far too much space between where the elbows must meet to rest in comfort (versus leaning back and kissing the floor) thus inducing an ache in the back no amount of alcohol can or should cure. A brass bumper held in place with brass lion heads wraps its way from one end of the wooden bar to the other. In an instant I was reminded of a time when bars didn’t have chairs, just a wide counter with a foot rest and enough common sense to know when the swaying starts, tis time to call it quits. Ahh... comfort indeed. Before parting the Boozgeois to peruse Roy's eclectic beer selection, we quenched our thirst with another IPA for my Love and the classic Tanqueray & Tonic for me. Somehow, it just felt right.
Arms cradling precious goods, we bid farewell to an era lost to soon find ourselves at Vine & Barley. Even though it had only been a week or two since the last visit, our sense of deja vu was righteously crushed by an absolutely new line-up of beers on draft. Now that my friends is what I call beertastic. Why? Because there are that many beer aficionados in our tri-county area who feel it their duteous pleasure to patron Mark’s fine establishment on a very regular basis. I should know; I’m one of them. Seeing as my tastebuds were still out of tasting commission in regards to new untested beers, I started with a Marron Acidifie from The Bruery, a deliciously tart woodsy earthen collaboration between Bruery and Cigar City while Laura cured her hop craving with a Stone Ruination. We eventually settled on the patio where I savored a Cohiba Cubano Robusto with the last of my Marron Acidifie before heading on our way once more. As always, thanks for the hospitality Mark. Mi casa, su casa.
On the road again with no thanks to yellowpages.com, we finally found Shindig’s Irish Pub after more than a few U-Turns threatened to leave us dizzy. Left is not right and right is not left. Got it? Good. Turned around and back again, new age meets old school meets wide open spaces with 40-something hipsters getting ready to cut a groove on the band floor. With a smattering of the usual domestics and "imports" to choose from, our final answer, Smithwicks, went down easy enough to be followed by another for Laura and a cocktail for me. Why? Why not. Drinks in hand, it was time once again to refuel and what better way than with corned beef and cabbage egg rolls. The green salsa verde got lost in the dipping, but the spicy mustard was spot on for a crunchy juicy meaty cabbage delight. Irish egg rolls duly demolished, it was time to move on to the main dish: the Belfast Burger *caramelized onion, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, onion ring, garlic aioli* and Rasher Cheese Burger *Irish bacon, cheddar cheese*.
Rasher = Irish bacon.
Fact: Bacon makes everything better.
Sharing the best of both worlds, our first bite led to many more amidst flavorful moans of burger bliss. Juicy. Tender. Meaty. Smoky. Bacony. Spicy. The toppings matched perfectly in melty savorance and the fry, that simple stick of potato humility, was quite frankly the best I’ve indulged so far. Hand-cut. Thin. Crisp. Potatotastic. What we couldn’t finish at Shindig's was finished the next day after a short session atop the oven stone. Delicious x 2.
Full of culinary delights but nowhere near full of life, where better to end our pub crawl than at the one place which inspired us to embark on this Saturday endeavor: the one and only Tequesta Brewing Company. Having sold, poured, and savored many a Tequesta brew in Vero, it was time to seek this holy nectar at its source and maybe even bring some home. Pulling into the parking lot, a seemingly endless line of cars greeted us but persistence prevailed and a space was had. Ready and raring, the grand entrance beckoned unlike none I’d ever seen before, the prelude to a blues tribute of grunge, industrial, heritage, and damn good beers.
After gratefully grabbing our first beers, a Belgian Pale for me and a Saison for Laura, we soaked in the ambiance with pictures scattered between. Always and forever, thank You to my Love for putting up with the camera and me; I may sometimes get caught up in the moment but that moment is meaningless without you and it is with only you I want to share them. In fact, if everyone reading this thought the pub crawl was my idea you are wrong. It was Laura’s fantastic plan.
Eventually nestling up to the 96 year old bar, we watched the hustle and bustle amidst a blur of modernist retroism. From the bar top we leaned upon to the mirror painted in today’s beerly offerings to the towering bar-back complete with arches, time oozed from its tobacco stained poor. Every nook, crack, scrape beneath our glasses told a story, a story that only Matt has the privilege to do justice as we listened in humble awe. If you want to hear the it than you know where to go, keeping in mind that nothing goes better with a good heart-warming story than a glass of good heart-warming beer.
Feeling the tiring effects not of beer but congestion, we wisely decided to call it a night but not before getting a growler each of beer to take home for later. Opting for the quart instead of the gallon, we cradled all the way back to Vero Beach the very Saison and Belgian Pale we had just savored. Being the beer geek that I am, they might be beers I haven’t taste yet…and even if they are, I want to taste them again.
And so I leave with a tribute and thanks to Matt and his generosity this picture tribute to our Final Destination. Cheers, my friend. We shall drink together for so long as delicious beery nectar flows from your humble taps.
(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)