Tag Archives: ninkasi

The Local: The Blue Monk

I tried to go to the Pied Cow tonight. When I entered the establishment there was a nice handwritten sign with daisies drawn on it; Please Wait to be Seated.

So I waited. For about three minutes. After not seeing a server or anyone to greet me and let me sit, I left. Perhaps I should’ve waited longer but I could hear people giggling in the back and why the hell should I stick around? They want me to wait; I’ll wait. I’ll wait longer if it’s busy or I’m acknowledged with a “Be with you in a minute” but when the opening foyer is a ghosttown and there are empty tables? Nah. I’ll try again another day because this bar is part of the series but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it anymore.

Instead I walked up the street to The Blue Monk. Similarly deserted, there was no instruction to wait and a sign pointing out that the basement bar was open. The bartender greeted me, asked me how things were in the world above, laughed at my meager joke response and gave me a Ninkasi Oatis stout.

Next to me people are talking time travel, conspiracy theories, pyramids, electromagnetic fields, acoustics machines, the Illuminati. It’s not just a little fascinating. Behind me a couple of friends are hashing out some relationship drama in their circle, wondering why people ‘can’t all be adults’. A crusty voiced man with driving gloves on comes to the bar and the bartender asks if he’s going to play the piano tonight; he is and shortly heads over to the upright in the corner, begins to play Right Here Waiting.

blue monk pubIt seems like a good hideaway, this bar. Sure, you could stay upstairs and watch the passerby, the kitchen workings (which smell mouth-watering), perched at the rail. But those are not my people. My people seek the downstairs, smuggling wi-fi from someone else, using the piano man to cover their conversations made of intrigue, deviance, or  sweetness. A windowless bar that isn’t a sports pub or a dive-ah, I never thought I’d see such a thing here. It was once a jazz venue and though I don’t think they do that much anymore, the stage is still in place and there are fliers advertising belly dancing on Wednesdays. A morphing space, this bar.

All the more reason to keep walking around, ya? Never know what kind of pub is going to perfectly suit the moment and with a happy hour that runs until 8? Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

That said; get a booth. The stools at the bar are a touch uncomfortable.

Ninkasi Tricerahops Double Red

I’ve been a fan of myths and dinosaurs since I was a little boy. As a result, just when I heard the name of this beer I was already inclined towards it. Sure, there’s a pun in the name and I’m not so big on puns, but it’s dinosaurs, ok? I’ve got a soft spot.

I also have allergies. The recent heat wave has caused a ruckus in my sinuses, so when I poured this hazy amber liquid, I held it up to get a wiff-sweetly floral, but hard to make out. It evaporated before I could get a hint of it and I am reminded that I’m not breathing as easy as I’d like.

Fortunately, my tongue still works, even on hot days. Sweet in front, and pretty much as long as it was in my mouth, the double red comes on strong. Once I swallowed, a deep resiny bitterness kicked in, lingering and very tasty.  I almost puckered my lips a little at the bitterness, strong enough to clear out most any spicy food, and a good reset for the taste buds. It’s an 8.8% beer so it really hits strong, but maybe on days when my nose isn’t so uncooperative I’ll be able to appreciate this beer even more.