Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Kiss Of The Hops

I don’t know when or how this happened, but crap beer is, and has been for a while, the latest in chic. I was at a bar in the South End full of people who most would consider to be “hip” and “with it”. Many of these scenesters were sitting at the bar, wearing very nice shoes, enjoying something certainly involving truffle oil… all with a can of Schlitz in front of them. It was unbelievable. All the way down the bar, all the people were drinking Schlitz. Someone explain this to me because I don’t understand.

When did this happen? When did people start drinking PBR and Schlitz to be cool? And in the South End, no less! Is this the same kind of trend as wearing hideous trucker hats? Is it trucker chic?

All that being said,
I spent all of Monday night in a bar drinking, oh yes, Schlitz. Let me make this clear – I am not a scenester, I am not emo, and I am not a trucker. So what, may you ask, was I doing sitting in a bar for 5 hours on a Monday night with a can (or two) of Schlitz in front of me?

The thing is that I am suggestible. I have never been able to resist the B-Side. That place has a gravitational pull directed right at me. Whenever I am within a five mile radius of the B-Side, I somehow wind up sitting there for hours, regardless of whether that was my plan in the beginning of the evening. [Those of you that are familiar with Boston will understand the implications of the previous sentence. I think all of Boston is about 5 miles in diameter.] I think I have started inventing reasons to go out to the vicinity of Inman Square, just to bail on the “plans” and go to the B-Side. It is absolutely my favorite bar, and employs my very favorite bartender (you can sort of see his back behind the Schlitz can in the drunk-like picture). Should I be concerned that I have a favorite bartender?

The B-Side has a feel and loyal clientele of its own. The back wall is filled with LPs that they actually play, on an actual turntable. The people that work there are very cool, laid back, thoroughly tattooed (so I am certain to like it), and have great taste in music – yesterday’s selection included very early Rolling Stones singles. Tall stands of hard boiled eggs are out on the bar instead of peanuts. How cool is that? The food is fantastic - garlicky blue cheese fries, mussels with basil, and the best calamari I have ever had in my life are just the tip of the food iceberg. I really think they put crack in the blue cheese fries. They are just that good. Don’t misunderstand though – this is not the place for typical bar food – the special that night was a flounder with haricot vert and a caper beurre blanc. Yeah. One day I will manage to get past the fries and eat an actual dinner.

So anyway, there I was on a Monday night, drinking a Bass, eating good things, when I happened to mention the bizarre Schlitz phenomenon to a friend who is a very, very bad influence (you know who you are). About a second later, I had a thoroughly entertained bartender and a can of Schlitz in front of me. Both the Owner-Patrick and Bartender-Mike were inspired to pop open beers of their own. And that’s when things started getting a little blurry, as the picture might suggest. Owner-Patrick thought us amusing enough to pull out another round when I was barely done with the first one.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t drunk. I think it may be a physical impossibility for me to get drunk off Schlitz. I could never ingest the volume of fluid that would be necessary to get to Schlitz-based drunken-ness. The beer is fizzy and hydrating, much like a carbonated Gatorade, with a only faint beer-like taste.

So I didn't get to the bottom of the cheap-beer-coolness phenomenon, but it wasn't for lack of effort. The bartender said we were punk rock. He may have been joking. [I totally am though, FYI]

P.S. Next post will be about Thanksgiving dinner! I am hosting for the first time this year. I had about 5 seconds of cockiness that were quickly followed by shear and persistent terror. Wish me luck.


JC said...

I was totally going to compare the fascination with crap beer to trucker-chic, but then you went and did it for me. Stupid hipsters. I think you may have been onto something when you said it has a faint beer-like taste. It's beer for people who don't like beer!

And that sounds like a kick-ass bar! Except for the hipsters.

amanda said...

seriously? when did Schlitz become cool? we drank schlitz... and pbr...and beast and all that. we still do. WHEN WE'RE BROKE. i mean, isn't that what it's there for? feeding the poor? anyway, i wish you much luck on your turkey day dinner, anna! you're gonna rock it.

Anna said...

JC - The bar is the best place on earth. It really is. I can't move any closer to it because I would be in trouble. I think Schlitz and PBR have their uses - super hot day, lawn mower... chug a cold beer. Except that I have no lawn, no mower, and it's never really hot in Boston... Eh.

Amanda - See, that's the thing! I think there is something remotely condescending about people in $200 shoes drinking Schlitz. Thanksgiving is making me go grey. I think I messed up the gravy. Thank you for the well wishes.

Hope you both have a great holiday with far too much food!

Ben said...

Have a PBR and Schlitz filled Thanksgiving! I am making mine a Grey Goose one hehe.

That bar sounds like it is full of contradictions...I bet they would have meat versions of vegetarian dishes. However, those cheese fries sound pretty freaking awesome. I have had garlic fries (not the best things to eat when you are chatting with the opposite sex) but the addition of bleu cheese sounds wicked awesome.

Be safe and eat a butt-ton of food.

JC said...

I can't wait for your dinner report. I bet it was great - you gots mad cooking skills!