It's about the beer
Gina Miller and Bill Keeper
I've been a beer drinking gal since the early seventies. In my day Pabst Blue Ribbon,
Rheingold, Ballantine, Genesee, Rolling Rock, Yeungling, Stegmaier, and even Coors were
considered to be the great tasting smaller brewery beers. There was also a few foreign export
beers but I really didn't like them. Now don't get me wrong, now I only drink fresh quality craft
brews, it's just that this article is about bar traditions.
My favorite spot was calledThe old Gin Mill , a play on words since "gin mill" is another name
for your old time, slightly run down watering hole that fills every day with regulars. Usually the
food was solid but nothing fancy. Unfortunately you would be lucky to find something good on
tap (and luckier if the tap lines were ever cleaned). But you will find however are the old school
traditions that go way back in the industry.
First of all if you ordered a pint of Guinness (or any other beer ) and kicked the keg you
automatically got an additional fresh pint at no charge. Kind of like winning an instant lottery
ticket! If only newer bars with good craft beer honored these traditions. Imagine ordering a St.
Bernardus and getting a free one because you were luckly enough to get the last trickles from
the prior keg. Of course you'll have to wait a few minutes as they put the replacement keg on
tap but your patience will be rewarded with a beer that is gauranteed to be fresh.
Likewise if you ordered a "side car" (shot) along with your beer and were lucky enough to
finish the bottle your shot would be on the house. If you're really lucky you coukd get your beer
and a shot for free.
Then there was the "buy back" which is still followed in some places today. When you order a
third or fourth beer it's on the house. Most often this was a house rule under follwed under the
As a girl, of course my favorite old school tradition was Ladies Nite with half price drinks for we
females. The ladies were happy and so too were the guys, who after all ,came there to talk to
us in the first place.
I wouldn't ever go with a guy who drinks Coors Lite. I mean why bother with him if he is that
dumb. He's the type that if he was heading to the airport and the sign said "airport left" he
would turn around and head home.
So stay tuned until next month when I give you my take on older beers long gone versus the
excellent new craft brew.
Hey, chug-a-lug, Bill.....see you next month.
I agree with Gina that we things were cheaper when bars followed old school traditions. Everything
IS getting more expensive. it is getting harder and harder to budget for a good night out drinking
craft beer. But drinking on a budget doesn't mean you have to drink swill. And if you're a guy
you can forget about impressing women like Gina if she sees you're being cheap.
What you can do is seek out the many drink specials and happy hour discounts available at your
local bars. You might be surprised to find that many places have special deals almost every day
with the exceptin of weekends. Most will give you at least a dollar or two off plus run a bigger
discount on the special of the night.
One of my favorite special promotions is Trappiste Tuesday at the Tap Room at Somerset Hills
Hotel in Warren, NJ. On that one day all Trappiste ales are $4.00 off. That's makes some of the
finest beers in the world almost as inexpensive as the Budweiser they sell. With Chimay, Orval,
Rochefort and Westmalle to choose from you can't go wrong.
Like most bars, the Tap room also has a regular happy hour Mon-Fri at 5 pm with discounted
tap beers and good free food to boot. Complimentary food is getting a bit harder to find nowadays.
Most places will have discounted food items during happy hour but if you search you'll still find
places like the Tap Room. If you're really lucky you might even find some bars that follow the old
traditons as Gina mentioned.
So remember, to save some dough and not have to suffer drinking swill, head to Happy Hour before
even that tradtion bites the dust.
Oh Gina, if you're ever at The Tap Room on Trappiste Tuesday say hello, I'm the guy smiling
because I just saved $4 on every beer that night!