Monday, October 24, 2011

A shot and a beer---my way

A Shot and a Beer---My Way!

It had been a long day, most of it standing and moving on tired knees and complaining ankles, with the slow, low ache in the small of the back. A long day, but a good day, a satisfying day with a job well done. Now it was time to relax and reward in a lively but not too loud bar with a little liquid refreshment in good company. It was time for a shot and a beer.

There might be times, I’ll admit, when a standard generic brew and a well shot could work...but this wasn’t one of them. If you’re rewarding and relaxing, you should do it right.

To drink right you have to a good bar. If you happen to be in Anchorage, Alaska, one great place to go is Suite 101 Restaurant and Bar. Good food and a bar worth bellying up to---if you can get to the bar through all the folks that got there before you and don’t want to leave.  Go early; this is a mighty popular place!

To drink right you have to order right, and a quick two-second scan of the bar told me that was easily achieved.

The shot was a tight, snappy Manhattan made with Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon, soft and sweet with the obligate corn, supported with the firm body of malted barley and reinforced with the zesty spice of rye (whence cometh the aforementioned snap). There are some aficionados of the Manhattan that prefer a sweeter style of Manhattan, but I’m not one of them---too sweet, the balance of the drink is off, making it a sweet instead of a nervy-taut and spicy cocktail with a noticeable bite.

The beer? Easy, when there’s a tap handle sticking up from the bar that says Stella Artois.  They even have the classic Stella glass, tall and fat-bellied with just the right balance in the hand and just the right curve to show off the fine bead.  And for the final perfect touch, it’s just the right temperature, chilled but not so cold the taste is obliterated and warming up ever so slowly as you work your way down the glass, and holding just the right gas balance, not too soft, not too sharp. Stella Artois is a great light style from Leuven, Belgium (where they know how to make good beer). Crisp, tangy, yeasty, mild hops, and an all around easy-drinking brew, it was the perfect followup to the Woodford Manhattan.

There’s nothing quite like a shot and a beer after a long day’s work. Especially when you call the right shot and the right beer.