Monday, March 8, 2010

The Drill

I see that the proprietor of Willard's Tap House has signed up to follow this blog, so I suppose I should say something nice about his place.  I did an initial article a couple of weeks back, but now I'm angling for a bar stool with my name on it.

For so many months I wandered lost in this beer desert called Florida.  The Cajun Cafe offered an oasis, but somehow I longed for more.  That's where Willard's comes in.  I now have a new routine for Bingo night. 

No, I don't play Bingo, and neither, so far as I can discern, does anyone at Willard's; it's just not that kind of place.  But the lady I have lived with these past 41 years plays Bingo with her mom.  On Thursday nights.  Now, mind you, I am a daring and resourceful cook: I can make gumbo - damn good gumbo, BTW - and I can even turn a bag of barley and some hops into drinkable beer, so I could fend for myself on Thursday nights if need be, but Florida has made me a lazy layabout.

So here's the Thursday drill.  Wait impatiently for Judy to light out for Bingo, then hop in the car and drive in the general direction of the Cajun, which lies five miles south-southeast of my door.  After two miles, the first frisson (it's French; I'm trying to be literary here - look it up) of thirst overcomes me and - whoa! - there on the right - it's Willard's, dead ahead.  So I enjoy my appetizer beer at Willard's, where Blaine and Chrissie and Blair and Jim and a lot of regulars provide their own hop-based society. God is good.  (Not translated from the Arabic.)

I pick one out of 40 available great beers (well, 37 or so great beers and some cider and fruity junk for Bud Light drinkers).  I'm on a bit of a Belgian kick at the moment, and Willard's just happens to have several on tap.  Sweet.

Then it's on to the Cajun for a couple pounds of crawfish.  And a good beer.  The Bruery is making a Belgian IPA called Mischief that is superb and right now is on tap at the Cajun.  Sit on the bayou with crawfish - let me show you that picture again -

and some amazing beer.  Could life be better than this?  Damn right.

Eventually it is time to go home.

So I head north-northwest the five miles home, and - damn - there on the left is Willard's Tap House once again.  So - one more couldn't hurt.  I pull in.

Once in a while, something special happens at Willard's.  Tonight, for instance (it's Saturday as I type this; I didn't say Thursday if the only time I go there), one of the Willard's regulars, Chris, springs for a $15 bottle of Hoppin' Frog Hop Dam Triple IPA (22 ounces or so).  After a round-robin of eloquent waxings on the merits of this syrupy, well-balanced, highly hopped example of the high end of IPA's - think Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA plus some je ne sais quoi (more French; sorry) - Chris spreads tasting glasses around the bar.  I am in your debt, Chris - thanks. We all nod in appreciation.

Well, that's my limit to drive home, so - off till next time.

If you're in Largo sometime - Erik, I mean you, in particular, but others are invited - we'll check this drill out together.


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