Last night's Beer Senate at Hailey's Harp and Pub was not my first.
And it damn sure won't be my last, because these events are just plain fun.
With their Beer Senates, Chris Flynn and Moishe Atzbi have struck upon a formula that packs the back shuffleboard room with thirty-five "Senators" every month (except in the summer when, like Congress, the Senators take a recess).
The behavior of the Senators varies between raucous and rowdy, especially during the voting of best beer of the night, where their behavior mimics that of our wig-wearing English brethren in Parliament.
And why not? Most of them usually come into the session either bearing a pint or having consumed one, and that's before the four beers of the main event have even been poured. Those four beers, accompanied by some outstanding food, are not little tasting glasses, but full pints as well. But the Senators
are nothing if not dedicated to good beer, good food and good cheer.
There were four beers on the agenda last night: Oskar Blues Pinner, Blue Moon White IPA, Duclaw Celtic Fury and Magic Hat Stealin' Time.
|The Honorable Senators, Angela and John|
Moishe works his magic in the kitchen as well as behind the bar, and the food always includes a wing dish. Last night's wings were "sweet-heat," initially sweet to the palate with a nice little jolt of fire from the peppers. They disappeared as quickly as they appeared on front of the finger-lickin' Senators.
But for The PubScout's money, the best dish, as well as the best pairing, was the first--Pinner with a crazy good lentil soup, hidden cavatelli and unhidden sorpressata. It was so good, I told Moishe that if the Senate took an early recess, I'd consider the night already a success.
I also suggested he put that exact combo on the regular menu, for that's essentially what the Senate does--it selects a beer to be put on tap and offers menu suggestions which Chris and Moishe heed. And the fact that they listen to their Senators may be one reason why they have one of the 10 best Irish pubs in the state, according to NJ.com.
Pinner (the winner) will be the next beer on tap, and the next Senate theme set for the second Tuesday in May will be Cinco de Mayo. Moishe will put his thinking cap on to come up with beers and food that follow the theme, and as of today, he'll be getting in the right frame of mind to do so, headed as he is for Cinco de Mayo land to see if he can get the "Most Interesting Man in the World" to make a guest appearance.
But no worries. When the next Senate convenes, I am sure it will be celebrated with full vigor--if not aplomb. If you're a lover of good beer, good food and good cheer, become a Senator.
If our government Senate approached its business the way the Beer Senate does, it might actually get more done.
Stay thirsty, my friends.