Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A trip to Red Pepper Chinese Cuisine, and much needed help for Pabst.

Hard as it may seem to believe considering Pabst Blue Ribbon's dumbed-down and vapid essence, apocryphal evidence continues to suggest that the beer that once made Milwaukee infamous has become a key status indicator in an emeging China. As one blogger notes, this may have much to do with "signs of a new cultural dominance approved of by the Chinese to assimilate to global standards."

Perhaps, but global standards of what? Considering that virtually all Asian beer is insipid and timid golden lager, I'd hazard a guess that it has everything to do with fantasy-borne symbolism and nothing to do with any widely held knowledge about beer among the Chinese. That's because to know about beer is to know Pabst's place in the pantheon of brewing, which comes far to the rear of the queue.

These matters began invading my cranium earlier today, when Mrs. Curmudgeon and I made our inaugural visit to Red Pepper Chinese Cuisine at 2901 Brownsboro Road in Louisville. For natives, it's located in the same building where Shariat's used to do business.

Order from the authentic Chinese menu (the red one), and I'm confident you'll agree that Red Pepper is a cut above the local Americanized versions of Chinese cuisine, with a good dining room ambience and a full bar. All this comes for a few dollars more than carry-out from Great Wall or Hing Wang, but it's worth it to experience dishes that seldom invade the palates of frightened metro denizens.

Red Pepper has cold beer on tap, and the most noticeable tap handle is ... yes, Pabst Blue Ribbon. I almost had one to accompany my fabulous Bean Paste Bitter Gourd entree, but couldn't quite bring myself to do it even if to do so would be authentic. Oddly, as our server warned me that my dish was very bitter and often objectionable to American tastes, I kept wondering if the bitterness from the gourd might actually assist the Pabst in going where the watery lager has seldom gone before.

Maybe next time I'll find out.

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