Saturday, January 8, 2011

An Afternoon in Stumptown: Looking for Trouble in a Couple Right Places

A little known fact--until 1900 the bulk of the salt used in the United States came from Syracuse. Mayor Stephanie Miner, pictured below, attended high school in Homer, NY where she was president of her senior class and voted "Most Likely to Succeed." At age 41, as a lawyer, a former aide to a governor, and the first female mayor of Salt City, it would appear that she is on her way...
Every now and again, by which I mean every once in a while, or every so often or from time-to-time, or...well, I think you're getting the Kodak I'm trying to snap, or the Van Gogh I'm trying to paint, or the Picasso I'm sketching, or...well, I'm rambling here a little bit maybe, you know, beating around the bush, or how shall I say it, taking a slow boat to get from there to here. Where was I. Ah, yes. From time-to-time, D'Mestiere Investigations brings the chiefs of our branch offices into HQ for some refresher training. This week, Libretto "Books" D'Mestiere, Chief of our Salt City, New York office, is in town for a refreshment, I mean a refresher.

Refreshment, I mean Refresher Training, involves checking out Stumptown Establishments to see if we can spot Trouble in his hangout. Today we decided to check out a couple of spots known for having a taste for brewing what some people call beer, but what we at D'Mestiere Investigations call beer. We pulled into Hopworks Urban Brewery to see if Trouble likes his IBUs. He does.

We headed in the door, expecting the worst. We were disappointed. A couple bar stools found there ways under our butts and next thing you know, Missy was asking us if a cold one might hit some spot or the other. We gave him the up and down. "Give me one that's been to the sub-continent and draught it the way the Limey's do." "Your's matey--and for you?" "I'd like to make a day of it--ESB it will be." "On it." The joint's got a thing about bikes, including the Beer Bike. The lights above the bar look like a graveyard for bikes that have lost their momentum...

Missy was back in a flash with the cold ones. They were mighty tasty--as advertised. It was pretty clear to us by the time we were halfway though what had been set in front of us that there were a lot of things brewing at this urbane hop works, but Trouble wasn't one of them. We finished up, dropped Alex on the bar to cover the tab and there was enough left over to keep Missy in bar aprons for a while.

We both decided a darker place might be a better place, albeit darker and therefore harder to look, to look for Trouble. And how could Trouble not hang out in a place called "Horse's Ass." Wait, what's that Books? Oh, Horse Brass. Well, it's dark at least. We made friends with a couple stools. Missy was busy moving some full kegs in to replace empty kegs that may have been full on Friday, but weren't after Friday night. "You guys looking for anything in particular?" "Beer," we both said with an up-and-down. "Got any?"

I knew he did 'cause I could see the handles over his shoulder. Besides, Beluga Slim had given me a tipster's tip that this place was worth the stop and I was guessing he wasn't going to be wrong. But, I asked anyway. "Can a fella get a brew in here?" Missy gave a little smile and then tossed a card down. "Here's the regulars, boys."

Then a blue piece of paper made its way in front of our noses. "And here's the guest taps. Let me know if you see anything at all that might tempt your tasters." He walked away and gave us some time to, as Dolly-girl likes to say, study the options. We studied like Dr. Rachel S. Graves, MD for the medical boards. Missy was back and we were ready this time. "What will it be?" Books looked at him and said, "You know, this time of year makes me wonder if a Renewale might not be just what the calendar ordered." "New subscription, on the way. Yours, Jack?" How did he know my name?

I looked up. "Numquam occasionem praetermitteret habere Gaius Plinius Secundus?"

"Bene elegi, amice. Serviam vobis directe."

"Gratias tibi, amice. Ne loquerentur possumus Latin nunc?"

Books looked at us and said, "Placita. Vobis occidi lingua Caesar!"

Well, that was enough Trouble for one day. We walked into the house and Dolly-girl said, "You know, you two, if you want Trouble with a capital T, why don't you go somewhere where the brew doesn't put people in such a good mood--how about Fruity McBrewskis? Who doesn't want to punch someone when they're full of beer with orange peel, coriander, and chamomile?"

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