I had the day off, and in a fit of virtue decided I’d walk to the grocery store. The afternoon was sunny, and though there was a hint of a breeze it was starting to heat up.
I’d vaguely noticed that someone had bought the old neighborhood bar and had been doing some work on it. The building had been vacant for about a year, and after awhile it had seemed almost invisible. But today was different. The windows were clean and gleaming, there were lights on inside, and as I got closer you could smell fresh paint. A hand-written sign read “Floggin’ Brews” in curvy script, and smaller notices in the window said “Come on in – we’re awesome!” and “54 taps – as far as we can tell”. Well, that’s ambitious. I’ll stop in this evening at the munch, check it out. I’d heard about this place at a party a few weeks ago. Beer positive, kink-friendly. Should be, with a name like that. The EARLY group was going to hold its munch there later this evening.
I was going to walk past, but I reached the entrance on the corner, I noticed the “Open” sign. Without thinking about it, my hand reached for the handle. The blue door opened easily and I walked in.
The place looked bigger on the inside than it should be. There was a big wooden bar which at first glance looked like the old bar, but better. There were a lot more taps, that’s for sure. The barstools were new, as were the strategically-placed computer screens. Behind the bar, liquor bottles were so neatly arranged that they seemed to create a backsplash for the action. Except there wasn’t any action yet. Just a bartender (was he actually polishing a glass?) and a couple at a hightop, each sipping a beer.
I sat down at the bar and scrolled through the beer list on a tablet. Oh my. Oh. My. Even for a confirmed beer snob like myself, this was impressive. I looked up at the bartender, who smiled at my expression.
“Welcome! What can I get for you?”
“An Oude Tart, please.”
“Coming right up. I see you know your sours,” he remarked as he reached for a tap.
“You have it on tap,” I blurted out without thinking.
“Of course. Here you go.” He set a tulip glass in front of me on a coaster that, astoundingly, said Bruery Terreux . “Would you like to start a tab?”
I looked at the beer. It was perfect. The light hit it just right and it gave off a warm red glow. The smell of dark cherries and oak. This was the beer that started a relationship I’d sooner forget but never could. I hadn’t had one of these since moving back to the Cities – hadn’t wanted one, either. I’d stuck to IPAs as a form of personal penance. But this was a perfect beer at exactly the right moment.
I looked from the beer to the bartender, who was waiting patiently for my answer. I had the feeling he knew what I was thinking, but that didn’t make any sense. I smiled despite myself.
“Yes, I’d like to start a tab.”