Saturday, February 13, 2010
The love of Beer
About 11 p.m. last Saturday night, Deschutues Brewery, Portland, Ore.:
“Would you like another?” said the bartender to a soft-spoken pleasant young guy, who was seated on a tall chair, relaxed at the bar with a glint in his eye and a smile painted on his face. His even-more-soft-spoken lady friend was by his side, half seated on her own chair and half seated on his, resting against his shoulder and holding his hand. The two looked inseparably happy and were dressed up — dressed up, that is, by Oregon standards — and probably were keeping the night going by unplanned beers after a date that went better than either expected. They both were drinking the last ounces of their pints of Green Lakes Organic Ale — Deschutes’s only amber-style offering.
“I don't know yet,” said the guy, answering the bartender’s question. The guy was visibly impressed both because the bartender’s ask was perfectly timed in sync with his final gulp and because the pub staff was more welcoming to patrons at this late hour than ever.
The guy turned to his lady friend on his shoulder, practically whispering to her, and asked her, “What do you think, babe?”
She blushed and smiled and curled up, hugging against him tighter. She avoided answering his question with words, but her expressions said it all: she was thoroughly enjoying being with him tonight, and if being with him longer meant having another pint at Deschutes, then she was having another pint. He read her perfectly. And he and took it with honor, the task of getting his lady another beer.
“I’m from Minnesota,” said the guy as he turned back to the bartender. “So I’m not very used to beers like this.
“What would you recommend?” he asked.
“Well,” the bartender said, “Do you like hops?”
“Um … Sure. I think so.”
The guy picked up the beer menu and began the exciting elimination process. But before he had time to consider even three of the roughly 20 choices, the bartender had already grabbed, filled and slung in front of him a four-ounce sample of something a bit more red-colored and a bit more frothy than the Green Lakes amber he had just enjoyed.
“Hop Henge I.P.A.” the bartender declared. “It might be the best beer in your life.”
The adorable couple went on to split a 10 oz. snifter of Hop Henge, and while they did, even though I would have said it wasn't possible, their night appeared to get even better. It looked like something I've heard of before. It looked like love.
Happy Valentine's Day.