So I figured What the heck? At least I knew it wouldn't kill me. I ordered one.
Either it was different, or I was different, because this time, this time it was delicious. After 15 minutes I was thinking Fuck Pete! After an hour I was wondering Pete who?
So just like that, I switched beers. I never drank anything but Alaskan Amber until I moved away from Seattle three years later.
I hated Memphis. Part of the reason that I hated it was because it wasn't where I wanted to be. Part of the reason was that everyone seemed racist to me. Part of the reason was that there was no beer worth drinking. Not that I found anyway. My own stubbornness kept me from ever really getting out to explore that city.
Nope, I spent most of my weekends during my Memphis tenure back home in Southern Indiana. Sleeping on my Dad's couch, and hanging out with my sister Dina and my cousin Jeff. With the latter, and a couple of times with the former I guess, we'd go out to some bar and I'd drink whatever there was. It didn't seem to matter anymore. There was no Alaskan Amber. A couple of places had Pete's, but the recipe had changed since their sale, and it just didn't seem the same. Plus you couldn't get it on tap anywhere that I ever went.
And to me, no Pete's and no Alaskan Amber meant that there was nothing at all. I resigned myself to drinking swill and that's pretty much what I drank when we went out.
Until this one time.
This one time we all went to this weird little bar with the weird little name of "Rich O's" and played euchre in a weird little area that was set up with living room furniture.
Sofa and loveseat and a padded chair. In a bar. Pretty damn strange.
This place had dozens of beers. It seemed like thousands to me. I was overwhelmed by all of the choices. I asked the bartender for a beer recommendation and he brought out some foreign beer that I'd never heard of.
Newcastle Brown Ale, it was called.
It was yummy.
So just like that, I found a new favorite beer.
Newcastle and I were inseparable for years and years. I moved back to Southern Indiana, hung out even more with my sister and my cousin, but I didn't drink swill anymore. I drank Newcastle Brown Ale, by God.
Usually, right after I moved back home, I hung out at this place called Bailey's in Clarksville. At first, Bailey's had been more of a pool hall than anything else. A pool hall with Newcastle. A pool hall with Newcastle and hot waitresses.
In other words: Heaven On Earth.
But all good things must be ripped away from me eventually. Bailey's went through several management changes and, after several failed attempts to become a date bar, it closed for good. But by that time I didn't really care that much. I'd stopped going soon after they stopped taking care of the pool tables. I'd stopped going out altogether, and I'd stopped drinking completelly. It was a happy time in my life though. I was perfectly content just being by myself, playing pool in my basement and watching TV with my cats.
But I did start to get bored with it. So, every now and then I'd go down to that weird Rich O's place and have myself a Newcastle.
One of the times I went down there fairly early in the evening, and I saw a pretty girl sitting off to the side, typing into a laptop computer.
I wish I could remember the date, but it happened before I started doing this 'blog stuff.
But I digress.
Because of the Newcastle, and maybe partly because of the pretty girl and the hopes of catching another glimpse of her, I became a bit more of a regular at Rich O's. The PBDs in there would all look down at me and my beer choice, but I was perfectly content.
Like I said though, all good things must be ripped away from me eventually.
Rich O's started brewing its own beer. It was decided that one of those beers was too close to Newcastle in style and flavor, so Newcastle was pulled from the draft list.
I thought that decision fucking sucked back then, and I still think it fucking sucks now. The reason that I was given was the Newcastle sales suffered when the NABC Community Dark was introduced. Well, duh. Of course people are going to try a new beer brewed in-house. Of course sales of an allegedly similar beer will suffer initially.
But it seemed to like they only gave it a week. It seemed to me like Newcastle never had a chance. It seemed to me like the decision had been made months earlier.
Like I said, it sucked.
But I had become accustomed to Rich O's, and I had gotten to meet some interesting and nice people. MisunderstoodGirl and DooRagGirl were among the first. As were ElPresidente and FirstLady.
I kinda liked the place, and so I didn't venture back out into the world in search of another bar with Newcastle. I stayed, and I looked for something else to drink.
(to be continued)