A thieving contractor, a close encounter with a rowdy bunch of drunks, three squad cars and two militant taxi cabs were not the usual bookends I would have expected for hosting my first Ratebeer gathering but they do embellish the story nicely nonetheless.
I had just moved into my new 4’ x 4’ basement apartment (ok it’s not that small but it was starting to feel like it with so many people in there) and had taken my sweet time to get settled in. Part of the problem, other than my own tendencies towards procrastination, was some dry wall work to be done on the windows. I came home from work one fateful day to discover a dusty white blanket over most of my kitchen, which was the first real indicator that the workers had been there. The next bits of evidence were the Moosehead Light and Birra Morreti bottle caps inside the newly constructed cabinet for the fuse box. (The empty Moosehead Light bottle sitting on the counter in the bathroom would not make its presence known until later.) Not a big loss really, he could have polished off the bottles of Terrible, or Old Horizontal sitting right beside them.
The details of the tasting itself are quite inconsequential (aside from the occasional provocative comment that may show up in Oakes Weekly) Saisons in Rangoon, lambic lessons, and in the evening we made stout helmets, pretty standard really. Later on Kimchee would accuse the palm nuts of being lazy. Definitely an eclectic selection of beer ranging from the bottles of fizzy yellow water I provided, to some more exotic European and American offerings. The bottle of Dark Lord contributed by Frielock clearly reigned as the dominant beer of the night. I will be keeping a keen eye on the Top 50 to see what happens once we have all weighed in with our ratings.
After feasting on No Name cheddar and crackers and my moderately successful first attempt at quiche we finished off a few more beers before heading off to Smokeless Joe’s where Joe himself entertained us in conversation. Excellent beer, good food, and some much need palate cleansing bread on the house are just a few of the things that make Joes a must visit for Ratebeerians in Toronto. The subway home was uneventful, (Beer Buddy seemed to enjoy his tour of the TTC a bit too much. I guess there really isn’t a lot to do down there in Buffalo eh? I won’t chuckle too hard considering I had to get directions to orient myself after coming topside!).
The walk from the station proved to be a tad more interesting. After deciding the group of guys ahead of us was a bit sketchy we crossed the street, only to be passed moments later by three police cars and a taxicab, that came to various screeching halts, in what could have passed for a Hollywood stunt scene. The young hooligans - pardon me "alleged" hooligans - were promptly swarmed and presumably arrested. I have no clue what happened after that as we didn’t really stick around to find out. All in all, a rather surreal ending to an interesting night.