My pub is better than yours. I can get away with claiming this because my local is a great pub. When I walk in, I know that I'll get a friendly welcome from one of the hardworking staff, probably from mine host and hostess as well. I know that the beers on tap will range from house stalwarts like Manny's Pale Ale and Boundary Bay IPA to something fabulous and unique that wasn't there a couple of days ago, like a wonderfully sweet-and-sour Duchesse de Bourgogne from Belgium or a fat, malty doppelbock from Oroville'sAlpine Brewing. The beers will be served by people who care about what they're doing, who will notice the lipstick stain that didn't get washed off the glass before it gets anywhere near the tap. The beer will be served at something approaching optimum condition, which means for most craft brews and imports, it won't be too damn cold. (Pause for editorial: There is no point in serving a slushie made from any decent beer; if it's too damn cold to taste, it has no business being in my glass, and that glass had better not be frosty cold from the freezer, either.) The decor will be relaxed and unobtrusive and easy on the eyes. There will be a table with space for me and my friends, or room on a couch or two and a sturdy old coffee table for my beer. I'll be able to engage in conversation while I sip my beer, because the music will be unobtrusively in the background where it belongs (if it's on at all). And if I bring along something to eat with my beer, no problem; the joint doesn't bother with a kitchen anyway. My local's the Beveridge Place Pub (6451 California Ave. S.W., 206-932-9906, WEST SEATTLE)—close to home and just far enough away. If your local's even half as good, consider yourself lucky. firstname.lastname@example.org
New, About Brew With this column, we are pleased to announce that Don Scheid will be sharing his broad and deep knowledge of the Northwest's burgeoning beer culture with us on a biweekly basis, as well as in more in-depth reviews and features. A fluent German speaker, Scheidt has traveled widely in the beer heartland of Europe—Belgium, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic—as well as in the United Kingdom. He is a contributor to Celebrator Beer News (celebrator.com) and edits and contributes to the weekly online newsletter BeerWeek (www.probrewer.com/news) in addition to maintaining his own site surveying the local pub and brewing scene, NWBrewpage.com. Scheidt's first beer was a typical industrial megalager. He was almost convinced he hated beer until, on a trip to visit family in Germany, he was introduced to a German pilsner. His first tastes of Alt and Kölsch beer made him a confirmed beer fan. (He still doesn't care for industrial megalager.) Scheidt has lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of his life, and remembers when Redhook, Grant's, Hale's, and Pyramid breweries were new.