Tag Archives: imperial amber

The Local: Belmont Station

“Purpose, Mr. Anderson.” – Agent Smith

taps at belmont stationI realized today that I’ve not really been looking forward to these posts. I’ve lost my way a bit. The last few episodes of The Local have been draining, in part because I’ve gone to places that haven’t had a lot of energy, in part because of me, in part due to a whole host of convergent reasons that are beyond the scope of this blog. So as I slough 2009 off like a python whose head I’ve severed before it strangles me, I feel that it’s time to reassess what I’ve been doing.

I live in this area so it doesn’t seem like I ought to explore it. I’ve been to most (all?) of these bars so I already know what awaits me, right? I, like many people, pick my drinking post by virtue of its utility to me. I want X so I head to a place that serves up X, be it a brew, or a vibe, or a TV I can watch football on, or a big table where I can play cards, or a quiet place to have soft discussions. There isn’t something new for me at these old places, is there?

Well, yes, if that’s my choice, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m out to explore the neighborhood. I can’t know everything so today I set out, not exactly sure of what to do, but thinking that I needed to reevaluate why I was going to these bars. The axiom, “do what you do, just different” came to mind, and while usually I respond to that with: ‘what the hell does that mean’ I had an idea this time. So instead of heading out late and just walking straight to the Belmont Station in order to get beer for the podcast and another for this post, I wandered a bit to clear my head. Shortly after realizing that I needed to remember to explore the neighborhood, and that amongst the history I had at these bars there might be a story to tell, I stumbled upon this.

old dodge

Isn’t that a cool looking Dodge?

Now, I’m not someone who is on the lookout for signs from above but I’m also not someone to slap a gift donkey. Especially not while drinking SOB’s Son of Santa. So let’s just pretend that I’m doing something right and go with it.

Most people know the Belmont Station, of course. Back when it was on Belmont, next door to the popular Horse Brass, it was just a bottle shop but ever since it moved a cafe has been added with a perpetual motion rotation selection, it’s also become a place to sit down and enjoy yourself too.

They frequently host “Meet the Brewer” events which are always a joy. Getting to talk to professionals has always been an insightful experience for me and then there was the night I took up waaaay too much of Alastiar’s time. Still, he was great about it and I managed to keep my fanboy actions to a minimum.

The bar area doesn’t have much in the way of character to me though. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a testament to beer wall paraphernalia, visually but it doesn’t quite bring the lived in quality of comfort that older places have. Give it five years or so, enough time for the chairs to become more comfortable, for late nights with arguments of hollered laughter, for a conspiracy to happen, and the cafe will be more fun. The frame is there, it just needs a painting.  Actually, give it ten years. The scholarly aspects of drinking here will hold out against the characterization for a little while. Not that this is a bad thing. The stories that will be told then will be smarter and funnier for it.

The Son of Santa is a wall of malt beer. Hops are lighter; evident on the nose, sneaking back up on the back end, but this beer tastes sticky and sweeter, which I know doesn’t make much sense but there you go. It’s an Imperial Amber, and I like it.

52 Weeks 40: Anderson Valley Huge’r Boont

I’m sitting at the bar tonight. Usually I’m able to snag a table by the window, but there just wasn’t space when I walked in. It didn’t feel right. So I went to the bar. Twenty-one taps lined up, the Stormtrooper action figure hidden in a nearby statue. a list of beers on a blackboard in front of me. This is the bar. 

The Huge’r Boont is an imperial amber, which makes it very drinkable, but with an extra density that I’m having a little trouble defining. A hint of burnt flavors at the end, a chewiness that ambers generally don’t bother with, yet a highly drinkable beer. At 7%, it’s not that much stronger than an amber made to style, so the average beer drinker could have it and probably not feel ambushed by booze. 

I’m having one of those moments when I want to make declarative statements, like: NoMeansNo is the best punk band of the 90’s. Things that don’t really mean all that much–who can argue with my point of view, especially when I put it that way–but they feed a little aggro in me.

Maybe I’m just tapped into a little aggro of the country. Healthcare is under debate. Reforms are needed on Wall Street like a junkie needs a fix. Energy policies need to change. Foreign adaptations ask a different nimbleness of us. New ideas are being begged for, stagnation is being promoted usually in the form of some kind of rage that appears to be madness. An anger that comes from two directions: people who insist that the only way for us to keep the greatness we have is to enforce things we’ve always known, and those who insist that the only way for us to continue to be great is to accept change.

It’s all manifesting in energy that is either being too easily directed, or not usefully directed. It’s worrisome. I’d like to think that we could solve a lot of problems by honestly sitting down with a beer, and so long as that remains true then hopefully nothing will be beyond our reach.

But when someone doesn’t want to sit down and have a drink with you and listen (and vice versa)…we do indeed have problems. I like to think my country is one that still wants to sit down and have a beer with each other.