Starting a small Tavern in rural Northern California. Barley and Hops Tavern catalogs the trials and tribulations of the restaurant biz, and teaching wine country to love beer.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Unlike the minimal, and by minimal, I mean complete lack of, packaging which accompanies most of your fruits, Grapples come packaged the same way batteries, or pre-paid wireless cards, or pug-themed party favors, or burnt-umber doilies come packaged; 4 to a blister-pack. Removing the device from the packaging fills a 25 cubic foot area with the exact scent of a grape jolly rancher. It looks and feels like an apple, and it's crunchy, but it tastes EXACTLY like an apple that's been injected with artificial grape flavoring. Sorta like dipping apples in melted grape ribbon candy.
This sort of food and beverage technology is yet another solution looking for a problem, like the Jimmy Dean chocolate-chip pancake covered sausage on a stick (really), and the aluminum can that some crappy mega-brewery uses which changes color when it's cold. Because you're WAY too stupid to know that the snarking thing is cold on your own. Which might actually be true if you actually pay to drink what comes in those high-tech beverage containment devices.
It's yet another illustration of craft versus mass-produced. The craft business may be small, or it may be large; it's not a question of size, but of method, of philosophy. The mass-produced corporate food concerns itself primarily with advertising, packaging, and product-line expansion based solely on gimicks. A great beer in a brown bottle is better any day than a branded half-time show, talking frogs, color-changing cans, buzz-words (budweizer is really going with "drinkability"... really?) and other hollow non-beer-related marketing fluff. I'd rather taste an interesting apple, newly imported from somewhere overseas, or a great craft beer made with an interesting grain; real craftsmanship does evolve and press boundaries, but Grapples ain't it.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Come on out and groove to DJ Tyler spinning this Saturday! The second in our increasingly regular Saturday DJ series, Reggae is this Saturday's theme, so dread your hair up and enjoy. You're Welcome, Occidental.
NO COVER. 7:00PM
Friday, October 03, 2008
You may ask yourself, "self, what the snark is there to do this Saturday at 8:30PM" to which I'd provide the following answer "come out to BH Tav and see DJ Koskue spin some down-tempo records, perfect for hanging out with friends, and drinking a few craft brews". NO COVER. I repeat NO COVER CHARGE. Because really, who likes to pay cover?
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Let me point out that Oktoberfest does, in fact, start in September. It's traditionally 16 days long, ending in October, where mine was a mere three. The second most common question of the weekend was "Hey, Tavernkeep - why is your OCTOBERfest in SEPTEMber... isn't that a SEPTemberfest?" to which I'd answer "No". You see, Oktoberfest honors the sausage harvest (wurst erntedankfest) which happens in September. Each year, the various sausage vines (except for weisswurst, which grows in moist caves) are picked at their height of freshness, in mid-September by large men in lederhosen. Next, the ripe sausage are ridden by young children down the Rhine river, and finally towed by yak to the top of the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, in the Alps. It is atop the Zugspitze that men, women, and yaks all yodel the sausage anthem.
Oh bratwurst and weisswurst- your casings we do pierce
the blutwurst and knockwurst- tasty but not fierce
Braunschweiger is smooshy and rather odd
Bockwurst tastes nothing like fresh cod
It is this song that kicks of Oktoberfest, and that's why it starts in September. Mainly because of Yaks.
Anyway, our Oktoberfest was a smashing success. The Paulaner Oktoberfestbier kegs were killed in a day each, leaving me with none for Sunday - luckily, I had brought in 4 other great Oktoberfest beers in bottles, which lasted through. Also, I brought in the real Hofbrau 1 Liter steins, which I sold completely out of. Luckily, I have one behind the bar as my new bartender mug. The German menu went over very, very well. Enough so that we may continue the koenigsberger klops (German meatballs) and perhaps the soft pretzels. Ohh soft pretzels. The thing about pretzels is that if you want to make more than 8 at a time (and you do, because 8 lasts about 8 seconds), you need a gigantic mixer made by Hobart, which is basically a nuclear reactor connected to a dough hook. The process is not complicated, but the results are delicious. As a native liberty-belle (I just made that up... you know, she's from Philly... I'll draw you a diagram later), Mirjam knows her pretzels. But, as mentioned in a prior post, there are precious few, and by precious few, I mean no places to obtain real Bavarian / Philly soft pretzels anywhere at all on the west coast. So to work she went, using our little pink Kitchen-Aid (yes, it's really pink) to make the perfect Oktoberfest pretzels. They were so good that they only lasted for two days. They're delicious with mustard. And so is sausage. But that's not the point. The point is that we need a Hobart so that we can make soft pretzels a permanent addition to our line-up.
Besides all of the sausage, pretzels, and beer - we brought in music. A friend of mine who is a local volunteer firefighter, Steve, is a regular at the BH tav. His father, it turns out, is an accordion player, who has been playing said squeezebox since he was 6 or 8 or zero or something. Due to his mastery, and the well known fact that it's not Oktoberfest unless 1) it's September, 2) there is beer and sausage, and 3) there's accordions; I decided to book Steve's dad, Steve. Steve's grandfather, Steve, also plays, and he sat in on Sunday. This was quite the accordion setup, complete with effects pedals, drum loops, midi bass- he was a one man band. It set the mood, and made everyone want to eat sausage and drink beer. Which most of us already want to do, without prompting, but it reinforced that desire. On Saturday, the incomperable Tammi Gosnell absolutely rocked the house. The place got really, really packed, because apparently, Tammi has quite the couple groupies which follow her to her shows. I jumped in to sing a few bars of Blister in the Sun with her, which was pretty rad, and by rad, I mean sweet.