Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What's on draft in my head at the Expendables Bar & Grill.

Totnes UK, 2013.

People keep asking me if I intend to get back into the pub game. It seems unlikely, though one shouldn’t ever say never.

An old friend of mine is a chef, and recently he decided to step away for a bit. I was joking with him: “You do the food, I’ll do the beer, we’ll use someone else’s money to get started, and it’ll be called Expendables Bar and Grill.”

Make no mistake: “Someone else’s money” is the single most important part of the equation.

But just like anyone, I daydream.

What if I could get back to the beginning, have another place, and just fill six taps? Few bells, limited whistles; none of the constant rotation and chest-thumping, but bread and butter for people who like it that way.

Working under the assumption that I'd buy beer, drink beer and sell what’s left – it worked that way during the formative period of the Public House – what would I put on draft as my ideal lineup?

Today’s answer is three lagers, three ales. Tomorrow's could be different.

Except for the IPA, they all fall in the range of 5% abv, which is a tad high to suit my session beer fixation, except one thing already is certain: I’ll be drinking a lot of that 4% Bitter.

Ideally, there’d be an Indiana brewery on hand to brew some of these to spec. I know one that needs the work …

Here the are:


Kellerbier ... an earthy, golden lager like St. Georgenbrau in Buttenheim.

Rauchbier ... more in keeping with Spezial than Schlenkerla, but let’s not be picky. Either model works.

Schwarzbier … it needn’t be stronger than 4.5%


Ordinary Bitter or Best Bitter … surely someone close to New Albany can make a reasonably authentic English interpretation, right?

Dry Stout … Guinness still appeals to me, though I’ll need a clever escape clause for my “death to multinationals” mantra.

IPA … something like Daredevil Lift Off IPA works just fine, and so would West Sixth IPA. I like them both quite a lot.

What about Belgians? Well, most of the ones I like are better served from bottles, anyway, as are higher gravity beers, so that’s how we’ll treat those. A few classics go a long way. Seeing as my wife likes Hefeweizen, and I won’t be home as much, one of them makes the cut, too.

I have other draft lineup fantasies, like the one with a brewpub-scale brewery producing only historic American styles:

Pre-Prohibition Pilsner
Colonial Dark Ale (or Porter, with molasses)
Kentucky Komon
American Pale Ale
Cream Ale
Bock (in springtime)

If you have a pot of money somewhere and would like to fund a start-up within walking distance of my house, let me know … and I’ll give Chef Joe a call.

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