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Oakes Weekly - August 28, 2003
Daydreaming about my tap list
August 27, 2003
Written by Oakes
I’m sure we have all, at one time or another, dreamt about it. Maybe you have envisioned a basement speakeasy pouring your own homebrew. Maybe you run the best beer bar in town. Or perhaps you just want to retire to a country pub in Ireland. (Does Guinness still have that contest where you win a pub in Ireland? I don’t drink so much Guinness these days, but I always wanted to win that one).
I have written before about my idea for a country pub. I’ve got the concept in my head. Pictures even. I’ve thought about the menu pretty much every time I cook. But strangely, I don’t recall giving any hardcore thought to what beverages I would serve. It’s not as easy as it seems. First, no matter where you live, you’ll have a finite list of beers to choose from. Since my farmhouse pub will most likely be in either Ontario or BC, my choices really would be limited. But debating dream tap lists with such constrictions makes it even more interesting. For instance, do you serve local brewers exclusively, or do you sneak some imports in there? Do you have a macro? A "transition" beer? If you read the Oakes Weekly you’ll know my answer to those last two.
So here’s the assignment: draw up the 10 taps you’ll have, and 10 bottles (I know most beer bars have bottles by the hundreds, but that’s just a little too easy, right?) You’ll have a pair of cask ales on as well. If you’re in the British Isles, you’ll just have 12 cask ales on, of course. Then because you care more about great beer than we do about petty laws, you’ll have a couple of dream beers that are unavailable in your local area. You’ll pour these in the special basement bar that seats four or five people - just for you, your regulars and visiting Ratebeerians.
First, here’s my ten taps. A couple of local brews are, in my opinion, amongst the best on Earth for their style - St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout and Denison’s Weissbier. I’ll want something for the hopheads - Tankhouse Pale from Mill Street; Sgt. Major’s IPA and Corporal Punishment from Scotch Irish. I’ll have Amsterdam Framboise for those who want a fruit beer (or something to mix with the St. A). Black Oak Nut Brown is a good local brown ale (but I’ll boot it in the winter for their Nutcracker Porter). So that’s seven. Fuller’s London Porter makes eight. I have to admit, the list is starting to thin out in a hurry. Until I remember that the Granite is a micro now...Peculiar makes nine. And I’m going to need something smoked, so Church Key Holy Smoke rounds out my ten taps.
Bottles are trickier, as the selection is better. I’ll start with some obvious choices - Sam Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, Aventinus, Schlenkerla Märzen, Orval, Christoffel Blond, Rochefort 8, Bush. Did I say ten bottles? I must have been on crack. At least we don’t have any sour beers available locally or I’d never pare this list down. But we do have Terrible, so only two more. Mexicali Rogue is a favourite, and goes well with the chipotle-obsessed menu. (Did you know that Microsoft does not recognize the word ’chipotle’? At least not back in ’98 when this software was written). This leaves one, and I do need a bock so Brick Bock is it (too bad I can’t still get Celebrator or Asam-Bock).
The handpumps will of course carry bitter - Scotch Irish Session (which I’ll dry hop with a different hop each week) and Granite Best Bitter Special. And the wild cards? One will be the beer at the very top of my most-wanted list - Girardin Lambic. The other will need to be a strong stout, I think, since I don’t have any of them. I don’t have any barley wines either, come to think of it, nor berliner weisse, tripel, Flemish sour, sahti...well this is a pickle. Courage, A. le Coq, Expedition, Rasputin, Dark Lord, Eggenberg Eisbock, Sillamäe Hele, Westvleteren, Rodenbach GC, Schultheiss BW, Horiztonal, FES, Behemoth, AleSmith anything, Jacobite, Cantillon, Lion Stout, HOTD anything, Andechs Doppelbock, Weltenberg anything, Bavaisienne...I’d even love to carry Linc’s Foreign Stout. But at the end of the day, I think a cellar full of various vintages of Expedition Stout is the way to go.
What would your list be?
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Did I say ten bottles? I must have been on crack.
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