Nathan and I met at about 7PM on Friday, and managed a missed connection with Geoff(gasp!), before heading to Bulldog for a couple drinks and an eyefull. The actual First Friday event was a good deal bigger than I remember it. I haven't been able to attend since April, and a lot seems to have changed since then. For one, the place was crawling with beautiful women.
After walking from gallery to gallery for about an hour and a half, we walked over to Jilly's, and beat the rush. Indeed, we wondered if there would even be a rush, when we walked in. There were probably about ten people in there, altogether. As we walked in, we experienced the elusive Kansas City ID check, along with being adorned with nametags that said, "I'm Alicia."
Alicia, it turns out, was one of the bartenders at Jilly's. We both recognized her from when we were on there on Wednesday. She kept bringing me glasses of their all-day, every-day special: $2 Leinie's Red draws. What the reasoning was for the nametags, I will perhaps never know. Maybe I'll just have to go back again.
People started to filter in, and then they started pouring in, as, presumably, galleries closed. By 10PM, the place was packed, but we had good seats at the bar, talking to a number of the uncharacteristically abundant attractive women, and digging the 80s music being played by the DJ. Geoff finally showed up, just in time for us to start to get tired of the music getting steadily louder.
I mentioned the numerous women to people in phone and forum conversations since then, and and every time, I was met with the same response: "Did you get any phone numbers?" No, I didn't get any phone numbers, but I never tried either. I wanted to try on one girl that I was getting along with nicely, and who seemed receptive, but Geoff stuck his face in the way, inadvertently, dashing my hopes, at least, for that night.
But this recurring question has revealed to me something about people that aren't me, I think I've discovered. Many people go out, for the sole purpose of meeting people and hooking up. No such thoughts are in my head at all as I sit, enjoying a beer. My thought is usually, "this is a good beer," or my mind is in the conversation. It never occurs to me to ask a girl for her number, until it occurs to me that I like her. Maybe I should ask more women for their numbers, but I think focusing on something like that would get in the way of the good time that I set out to have when I go out.
But, at the same time, maybe I go out for a different reason than most people. I go out for draught beer and conversation. The eye candy is nice, but it's not my big motivator. Maybe it should be, but I think I'd become a big asshole if it was.
Yeah, I know it's been a long time. I haven't even been particularly busy, at least, not compared to most people. I can only apologize, and hope that you can find it in your heart to forget about it. To help, here's a distracting picture.
Anyway, I decided it's been long enough since I started this little web experiment, to officially review one of my favorite beers, and one of the most common regional beers in the Western United States. This beer is produced by New Belgium, in Fort Collins, CO, and is called Fat Tire. It's an amber beer, and surprisingly, it is, by far, their most popular beer.
I have seen it on tap in Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, California, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska, and my home state of Missouri, making it one of the most well-distributed beers that isn't produced within the circles of the alliance of evil: Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and Coors.
Nathan and I met up with Josh and Josh at Tanner's for Booga night, and actually received a free round of these beers, because of some alleged clerical error at the bar, but Josh was happy to receive them.
The beer pours a deep orange. Pictures like this are rare.
Josh and Nathan spoke genially on various subjects.
I was having such a nice time, I forgot to get an "empty" picture.
Ratings (out of ten):
Flavor: 8 (This is a consistently tasty beer, and always surprises me when I'm not paying attention.)
Body: 7 (A very solid beer. It delivers a sweet, malty punch.)
Aroma: 6 (Sigh. It just smells like beer to me. I guess its common aroma belies its flavor.)
Smoothness: 8 (80% of the time, I want another one. 78% of the time, I get another one.)
Price: 8 (Tanner's had a "Beer of the Month" special on it: $3 for a 20-oz glass.)
Josh got home a little early last night, and I suggested we go and get a beer. We went down to 75th Street Brewery, and had a nice couple of beers, a conversation, and took in the first half or so, of the Chiefs game. We had a nice time, and were about to head home, when Josh got a call from Igor to come out gambling.
So, we picked up Igor over by UMKC, and headed over to the casino I have visited most, in KC, but like the least. In about an hour and a half, the casino efficiently separated me from $50, and Josh from $80. We got home way too late, and came to the decision that the Department of ATF needs to be renamed the Department of Fun.
The show, as I expected, was just excellent. I got a chance to talk to the master saxophonist after the show, and inquired about something he mentioned on stage, the last time I saw them play. He said that he grew up a Kansas City Chiefs fan, so I guessed that he might actually be from somewhere close. Alas, it is not so. He told me, with a certain degree of discretion, that he's originally from Orange County, as if it's something he didn't really want to get out. Well I'm here to say that the country's most talented Boogaloo saxophonist is from the LA area, and I personally don't see why that's something to keep quiet, considering the modern inception of the genre was spawned there, about ten years ago.
Pelican Publishing recorded the show, and offered CDs of it immediately following, for $15. I thought it was an excellent idea, and I hope more people do this. I picked up the Universe's latest album, the previous night's performance at the Blue Note in Columbia, and the show I just saw. It was just amazing. I'm extracting the CDs to ogg, right now.
Nathan and I made the trip down Broadway to Jilly's, a bar named after the late friend of the same name, of the late Frank Sinatra. We grabbed some seats at the bar, and waited patiently for the third of the Presidential Debates to begin, on the bar's corner television. We came here for a number of reasons.
First, it's a great bar, with fun events every night they're open, and has a real neighborhood feel. Second, lots of attractive women come to Jilly's, presumably, to have a more comfortable experience than what the Quaff and Tanner's have to offer. I don't blame them. Third, the staff is always friendly, and happy to help.
The most important reason, however, is that this bar has Leinenkugel's Red on tap, in the visage of "Jilly's Brew," for the comically low price of two dollars per pint. I remember paying prices like that when I was in school in Dubuque, and getting angry about being gypped. But Dubuque is well inside the bubble of Iowa reality, and out here in the real world, we're ecstatic to be charged three dollars for a premium beer, much less two.
So, when we found out about this unreal bargain, we committed ourselves to drinking a lot of it, and to go back as often as we can. It pours a reddish rusty color, prime for drankin'.
The bar has a line of taps that are exceptionally high up, as you can see here. I wonder if it was placed that high for the sole reason that the ladies behind the bar would have trouble reaching it, and have to stretch.
The beer emptied well.
The "Hit Shitters," came to plug their next show, and fill in some open mic time.
Nathan points out the nuances and fine points of whatever it is he's talking about.
Ratings (out of ten):
Flavor: 7 (Classic "Red Ale," tastes exactly as it should, with a hint of sweetness)
Body: 7 (Good mouthfeel, and plenty to discover with each next sip)
Aroma: 6 (There's not much to the aroma, except that it smells like it tastes. This beer wears its identity on its sleeve, whatever that means.)
Smoothness: 8 (When you start the evening with it, it's a bit tough at first, but after your first two or three swallows, you're ready to drink it all night, like I did.)
Price: 10 (Jilly's has this beer on tap for $2, all day, every day. That's about the best deal in Kansas City.)
Hello from Orlando!
I write this from the conference room of the Embassy Suites on International Drive in the touristic suburban underbelly of Florida's fifth largest city, connected to you through the magic of my cell phone's internet connection.
The wedding was fantastic, and pictures are on the way, though it could be a while before the pictures are ready, as the connection here isn't exactly great, and I won't be in front of a more permanent internet connection until next week. Until then, I might give you an occasional picture of my surroundings, like the one above.
I am very surprised at this, but my sister called me today to complain about a lack of updates on this site. It's only been three days or something, but I guess that's enough to raise the radar. So, for you, Julia, here's a short update on the trip.
The conference itself has largely been a hand-holding convention, as there, presumably, must still be a number of people who just don't grasp the basic concepts of having a job, and the paperwork that often goes with it. There was a very good block of system administration training, but it only lasted for about a day and a half. If the whole week consisted of that kind of training, then I would call this a very valuable conference. Unfortunately, because of the markedly but apparently necessarily repetitive nature of the rest of the events, it seems to have amounted to little more than a very pleasant meeting of the people of this program. That's very nice, but certainly not worth the tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent to make this happen.
The Embassy Suites have been excellent, though. I have never stayed at one before, and am very impressed by the overall quality. I am disappointed, however, that high-speed internet access isn't included in the room rate. The free breakfasts and happy hours have been partially satisfactory in making up for this, however.
Geoff and I have gone downtown two nights, to find some very fun bars and a ridiculous array of beautiful friendly women. I have a new Draight of the Week for you, but will be unable to get it ready before I get home. Speaking of home, I can't wait to get back. While this place is lovely, I am definitely ready to get back home, and sleep in my own bed.
Orlando is nice.
Whenever I leave town, I try to get a beer on tap that can't generally be found in Kansas City. This past week, I was in Orlando, FL, for a company conference. By day, we were shrugging off yawns, daydreaming about getting a nap, and occasionally attending training and briefing sessions. By night, however, we decided that sleep was overrated, especially when visiting a place with summer as long, and skirts as short as in Orlando.
Not to sound like an insensitive pig there, but it's true. It seems to be all about reducing tanlines, whether the sun's out or not, in the sunshine state. Not a couple of guys to be overcome by adversity, Geoff and I hopped on the bus by our hotel. Ninety bumpy, jerky minutes later, we were downtown, and proceeded toward 37 W Pine St, to find the Back Booth, where BeerAdvocate says there is excellent beer to be had.
And they weren't kidding. The taps are atwitter with exotic beers that are unavailable in KC, and while we were there, we drank one of all but maybe three of them.
As a bit of positive reinforcement, we were reminded of this ancient Confucian proverb:
The beer we came to explicitly try was Tabernash's Weiss Beer. When Geoff returned to Kansas City from his ten-month stint as a Floridian, he continuously ranted and raved about this beer, which is actually made one state away, in Colorado.
It pours a very bright yellow, and is reminiscent of Boulevard Wheat, or any wheat beer, for that matter. It tastes very good, but at the same time, I must offer my apologies, as I am not much of a fan of lighter beers. It was good, but it wasn't that good. I was glad when it was over, so I could try something else from their bountiful tap.
This girl had a bitchin' tattoo.
Ratings (out of ten):
Flavor: 7 (The realization of a hyped moment is rarely as great as the hype itself. Delicious nonetheless.)
Body: 7 (For such a light beer, it had a lot to say on mouthfeel. I think that's the main draw.)
Aroma: 8 (One thing that's certain about Weissbier: It smells really good.)
Smoothness: 6 (Geoff couldn't seem to get enough of this stuff, but, I didn't find it very smooth at all. I have averaged out our opinions.)
Price: ? (Since they only charged us for about half the drinks we had, I have no idea what this beer costs.)
They released us from the company conference at about noon on Friday, which was a beautiful day, not quite as hot as the previous days last week, but still sunny and nice. I made up my mind that I was going to go to Disney World, and decided on EPCOT, as there would almost certainly be neat things to look at. With this in mind, I went up to my hotel room, changed clothes, and asked the front desk, when I got back down, how to get to Disney World.
The woman behind the counter started giving me driving directions, and being the slow type, i didn't figure this out until about two words until she was done explaining, when I cut her off with, "I don't have a car." She then said unhelpfully that the hotel had a free shuttle that wasn't scheduled to leave again for the rest of the day, and then suggested taking a cab.
Not completely opposed to this idea, I asked her curiously how much it would typically cost to cab it to WDW. When she informed me, my slow sensitivity instinct wasn't able to overcome my immediate response: "Forty dollars!? You've got to be frigging kidding me!" Annoyed, she said she was not, and asked if I wanted a cab or not. I politely informed her that I did not, and went outside.
As soon as I stepped out into the pleasant early afternoon Florida sunshine, I spotted a tourist office across the street, and chanced a risky crossing of the crosswalk-less International Drive, narrowly disappointing an angry driver in a suburban. I walked into the office, and asked them if there was a relatively cheap way to get to Disney World. They informed me, to my delight, that they ran an hourly shuttle, and for $19, I could get a round trip ticket for the van that left in twenty minutes.
Forty five minutes later, I was standing dumb, looking up in awe at Spaceship Earth. After a quick trip around the park on Disney's incredibly efficient, but noticably aging monorail system, I giddily handed over $58.13 and entered EPCOT Center. It turned out that the day I visited was one of the last days of the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. This, to my further delight, meant that in each of the "countries," represented in EPCOT's World Showcase, where it's socially acceptable, beer from the country in question was available on tap. I helped myself to a number of glasses of: Pilsener Urquell, 1664(I pronounced it "seize-cent soixante quatre," when I ordered it!), Kirin Ichiban, Tsingtao, Tusker, Carlsberg, and Key West.
Needless to say, my breath utterly stank of beer when I stumbled out of the park, and made my way over to Pleasure Island to spend more money and drink more beer. Fortunately, once I ate, the desire to drink anymore had largely left me, and over the next three hours, I managed to get only three bottles of Yuengling down. This was also because of the fact that I went to the Adventurer's Club, an adventure-themed nightclub, set in 1937, and canvassed with very entertaining costumed personalities and talking wall ornaments. I would highly recommend a visit.
The next day, I met up with my relatives who live on the north side of the city, and spent the remainder of my trip with them. I hadn't seen any of the kids since they were two, six, and eleven years old, four years ago. Needless to say, it was an eye-opening experience hanging out with them, but would have been better if the Irish had beaten BC.