Drawback

On one hand, living in a small town provides peace of mind and quality of life. On the other hand, there are Good Beer problems run rampant. As in: it’s tough to find a good beer.

This became painfully evident Tuesday night when a hailstorm forced me to take refuge before heading home. Tornadoes were sited between my office and my home, so I opted not to drive for a while. What to do? Go to the bar.

Yes, someone looked at me funny when I pulled out my camera.

I’ve really wanted to talk about the Red Bull* for a couple of years, but just never get around to it. It is my local watering hole, sprinkled with colorful characters,  a tightknit group of regulars. While the beer selection is very Bud-alicious, I enjoy stopping in from time to time to support the owner, whom I like, and to just hang with a few of the local imbibers, bad beer tolerators whom I like, in spite of their beer-character flaw.

There’s the beautiful image we all hold of an Irish pub or an English pub, and then there’s your Smalltown, USA bar image. They don’t match up in our romantic minds, but you know what? They are very much the same. I’ve been in Irish pubs and I’ve been in American dives, and they are very similar. The decor is different and the accents are different, but the culture is the same: local laborers having a beer with their comrades after work. They discuss the day’s events. They relax with a cold one. They watch storms roll in from the west. They go home, sleep and get up the next day to work hard for a modest living.

It is simple and beautiful. If only the Red Bull could toss in a local beer for me. I’ve gotten to where I just drink bourbon or Scotch there, but Tuesday, I was parched and I wanted a beer. While I hate giving money to Anheiser-Busch Inbev, I drank both of my two best options: a draught Michelob Amber Bock and my first sip of Bud Light Golden Wheat.

A review then, on the latter: supposedly in the wit style, this stab at preserving market share isn’t undrinkable. But if this were my best choice at a restaurant, I’d just have water. It was a little darker than a wit–orange in both color and flavor. Clear and sweetish. No head to speak of. No Belgian yeast character or coriander that was trying very hard. For those that toss their orange slice garnish in their wheat beer, this may be what they’re after. I just had it because the hail was coming down and I was thirsty.

Next storm, I’ll order a glass of water for my thirst and a bourbon for my tastebuds.

*Wonderful Beer Wife says Howie makes the best Bloody Mary on the planet, and from everything I’ve tried, I totally agree with her.

One Response to Drawback

  1. Adam says:

    When I was living in Cedar Rapids about 8 years ago, I played a gig just north of town at a place called the Dawg House. The owner seemed hospitable at first and offered the band free beer while we were playing. I didn’t dare ask for anything “good” based on the looks of the bar, so lowered my standards and asked if they had Amber Bock or Leinenkugel’s. He looked at me with a look of disgust and in his semi-thick southern drawl told me, “son, this here is an ‘merican baaar, and we only serve ‘merican beers” I should visit him again and ask if he stopped serving those “non-American” Belgian and South African beers. LOL.

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