Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bikes, Butts and Beer

Surfing the Net after picking up my new bike, I did a search for a combination of three of my favorite things: motorcycles, cigars and beer, not necessarily in that order. And I came upon this cool site run by one Aaron Morris:

Check it out, if you're a mind to...

Cheers till next time!
The PubScout

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Big Sam’s and The Perfect Storm

By Kurt Epps, The PubScout

I had sold my last motorcycle some years ago, having no time to ride it. Now I do, and I had the itch to get a new one. I found one on eBay that was used, but it only had 1990 miles on it, and it was in mint—I mean MINT-- condition. The fellow I was dealing with was in Virginia Beach, so I'd have to go get it. His name was Oscar Barber and he ran, among other things, a self storage facility there.

I drove down to the commonwealth to seal the deal, and, besides arranging for the U-haul trailer that would carry my prize back to the Tax State, Oscar was nice enough to arrange for me to have an oceanfront room right on Virginia Beach—for just $49 for the night. The proprietor told me that my room would fetch $249 per night a month from now when The Season kicked in.

I got settled and Oscar, his son, Ricky and I went out to dinner to conclude the process. I know as many bars in Virginia Beach as Oscar knows in Perth Amboy so I let him pick the place. My only caveat was that it had to have decent beer. Oscar eschewed all the fancy places on the strip that charge July prices in April, and he pulled up in front of a ramshackle looking place called Big Sam's. I don't know how big Sam actually is, but if he was on the premises, from the outside, the place looked as if it could hold the three of us and maybe Olive Oyl.

Stepping into the place did nothing to dispel my original assessment. Four foot flames licked out from a galley on the right as two cooks dodged the fiery tongues and did their best to manage the meals. A quick look about as the waitress led us to our corner table revealed that Big Sam's was anything but. Still, it sat right on the water of the marina and the menu looked about as down home as you could get. The more I looked about, the more I felt a baseball-hatted George Clooney and his fishing crew from the ill-fated Andrea Gale might be having some beers at the next table.

It wasn't the fanciest of places, for sure. The best places rarely are fancy. But there was a definite charm about it that made it feel like a haven from life's storms. In fact, it was, because no sooner did we sit, than a monster thunderboomer broke over the whole area, with lightning flashes bathing the marina and its tenants in an eerie light. The rain was torrential, and the thunder terrific, but we sat safe and warm in the hands of a friendly waitress who made us feel like we were her relatives.

The beer list had a few good choices on it. I ordered a Sierra Nevada, and as it turned out, that classic matched perfectly with Big Sam's Hatteras Clam Chowder, quite possibly the best chowder of any variety I have ever had anywhere. Clear broth, chock full of delectable, tender clams and peppery to the palate, it might be worth a six-hour return trip just for that combo.

My Fried Shrimp were huge, succulent and perfectly done, so it was clear the "flame dodgers" out front knew their business. And whatever was in the batter also went perfectly with the beer from Chico, CA. The portions were massive—there must have been eight large shrimp on my plate.

We waited out the storm, although mostly oblivious to it, as we chatted and got to know each other beyond the basics of the business transaction, and before we knew it, the meal was over and it was time to leave the shelter of Big Sam's and head back to my room to prep for the next day's journey.

"Nice fellas, good men," I thought to myself, as I leaned back on my balcony chair, enjoying a cigar and watching the remnants of The Perfect Storm head out to sea. "And a neat place," I mused. Big Sam's was a perfect place to ride out that storm, too. I'd go back there in a minute, fair weather or foul.

I savored the moment. My only regret was that I didn't have another Sierra Nevada to increase the enjoyment of it.

Check photos out here.

©Kurt E. Epps 2010 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Would you want to be Gray Powell today?

Maybe. Especially if the German beer was as good as he says.

According to Gizmodo, Apple software engineer Gray Powell took a prototype of the phone out to a birthday party at a Redwood City beer garden on March 18.

"I underestimated how good German beer is," Powell reportedly typed into the next-generation iPhone he was testing in the field, which was cleverly disguised as an iPhone 3GS. It was his last Facebook update from the secret iPhone, reports Gizmodo, and the last time he saw the iPhone before leaving it on a bar stool and stumbling home. - Apple Gets Back Its No-Longer-a-Secret Secret iPhone

Relax! Have a Homebrew...or two

Check the link below if you are a Middlesex or Mercer County homebrewer. Should be a fun time for all on June 5 at Hailey's Harp and Pub in Metuchen. BTW, any homebrewer worth his malt should know what and who the first four words in the title refer to...


Friday, April 16, 2010

Running for a Good Cause

  1. Second Annual Family Fun Run/Walk to Benefit Metuchen Families in Need

Metuchen, NJ – February 15, 2010 – After a successful inaugural event, the date for the Second Annual Fuce 5K Family Fun Run/Walk has been set for June 19, 2010. The Fuce 5K is a non-for-profit organization striving to raise money for resident families in need, support an active lifestyle for local youth and enhance families through shared experiences.

"Last year's event exceeded our expectations. We welcomed over 500 participants and raised over $27,000. Members of the community expressed their gratitude and enjoyment in participating as a family in the event. With such positive feedback and results, we were encouraged to continue the success," stated Scott Brooks, race director. "Plus, when Nancy Fuccile crossed the finish line, she said we needed to do it again next year!"

The race will continue to be dedicated to the memory of Michael Fuccile. Mike, 36, was murdered on his way to work on September 4, 2008 in Jersey City. He left behind his wife of ten years, Nancy, and three children, Michael, 8, Jack, 6 and Brooke, 4. Mike played an active role in his community and, most especially, his children's lives. To learn more about Mike, visit the website

The race, the Fuce 5K Metuchen Family Fun Run/Walk, will be held Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. The course will begin and end at the Pearl Street parking lot in downtown Metuchen and will wind families through the community.

Racers can register in advance either online at or by filling out the registration forms found at local Metuchen merchants such as Runner's High and mailing it to Fuccile Foundation, PO Box 453, Metuchen, NJ 08840. Families can also register race day from 7-8 a.m. Early registrants will receive a complimentary race t-shirt.

For more information regarding the race, sponsorship opportunities or volunteering, please contact the committee at The race committee members are Sally Ayotte, Michael Bradley, Scott Brooks, Stacey Derector, Jay Galeota, Justin Manley and Nancy Fuccile.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Alcohol Wars Escalate

Brew Dog brewing in Scotland has just ratcheted up the ABV wars. Sam Adams Utopias, at 27% alcohol, was pretty avant-garde. But a 32% alcohol brew? That's what this article says. And not everybody is happy about it. They're probably even less happy about the 41% monster the company makes called "Sink The Bismarck."

Brew Dog makes Bashah (in collaboration with Stone Brewing) and it is excellent. Strong, but excellent. If The Penguin can pass the taste test, there may be a big, strong new kid on the block.

Super-High Alcohol Beer Heads to the U.S. - Yahoo! News

Drowning more than his sorrows...

This strange story from Canada reminds me of the joke about Mrs. O'Halloran. She was informed by a brewery exec that her husband Seamus' died by falling in a vat of stout at the Guinness Brewery.

"Did my Seamus suffer at all?" she queried.

"I don't think so," replied the exec. "He got out three times to pee."


CBC News - Manitoba - Escape artist's beer plunge successful

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Beer Lovers!

The PubScout has been dragged kicking and screaming into the modern communication age. I now have established a presence on FaceBook. Once on my site, go to my Pages. That's where you can sign up to "Become a Fan" of The PubScout. See pictures of yourself and your friends at various dinners and events. No pictures that show you in compromising positions are included. But I have them. So be nice.

Hope to see you there!

Cheers till next time!
The Pubscout

Friday, April 2, 2010

Quaffing with Hailey's Head Honchos

Have a beer as we chat with the owner and head chef of Hailey's Harp and Pub, Chris Flynn and Johnny LaBarbera. These guys are two reasons the Main Street, Metuchen pub is packed almost every night.

Cheers till next time!
The PubScout