Well, you asked for it…
If you’ve come here in search of what Three Penny Taproom might be serving this week or soon and all you want to know is what we’re going to be serving this week or soon you might want to (you probably should and I never like to “should” on people) scroll to the bottom to where it says, “FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SCROLLED DOWN TO THE BOTTOM TO READ ABOUT JUST THE BEERS WE’RE GOING TO HAVE ON TAP SOON START READING HERE:” because this is about to get long and may be like an inside joke to most people who don’t read these things on a regular basis. But, please feel inclined to join us.
FOR ALL OTHERS – AWAY WE GO:
Many of you have asked (and if you haven’t asked then, well, you’re getting this anyway – it’s like that moment where you’re thinking about something completely random and a friend comes up and hands that exact random nugget to you – I’m that friend right now) about the whole “Flyers” thing and the “Rick Rolling” (of which I profoundly announce that I mistakenly invented many a moon ago) links that I’ve been putting in these emails and our blog (I put this on our blog too – so if you ever get lonely and want to, know you, read all of these, they’re well documented on our website) regarding going to a hockey game in Montreal a couple of weeks ago. Well, since we had the Peche Mortel event and the Cider Week event I haven’t really been able to answer your call about what that was all about that I alluded too for WAY too long of a time but you have to give me credit for being excited about and wanting to share.
Well, you asked for it…
So I went to Montreal, Quebec, Canada to watch the Philadelphia Flyers play the Canadians of Hockey Club of Montreal. I’m not going to give you a play-by-play of my entire trip, only the part that actually relates to maybe something you’d want to know. The night (ok, truth be told, I was there at 9 in the morning and was told that no one can get into the stadium until 6 at night (18:00). Not even to watch morning skate at 10 in the morning. Not even if you ask really nice and translate English into French in your phone with as many pleasantries that you’re expanded vocabulary can think of and not even after you told the nice man that he has handsome eyes.) of the game I arrived at the Bell Centre (that’s how it’s spelled! It’s much different up there) at 4:30 (16:30) and stood right in front of the door that I assumed would open for me to be able to go watch my Flyers. After about thirty minutes I realized that they were not, in fact, going to open the doors early for me (at least I tried) I decided that I had time to go to a local bar that I’ve heard about and have a beer while I wait. I had decided that I wasn’t going to imbibe a lot before the game so that after I could meander around the city and try out some newer places that I had yet to be inside of until that point. But, I also had a plan in action.
You see; I’m a Flyers fan. I’m from the area of the United States (I’m a citizen with BOTH a passport and an enhanced Identification Card) where sports (especially hockey as hockey fans have tendencies to be a little bit more “Fan”atic than other sportsens) are more than just beating-chest-gladiator-screaming-for-the-red-knight-at-the-Medieval-Times-kind-of-fans. Hockey’s kind of intense. Fights are known to break out on the ice and in the stands. When I was a child my father or uncles or Nan would kind of try to shield me from them happening but I watched them nonetheless and I’ve personally been to about (give or take) several hundred games at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. People get angry with one another and they’re (in their brain) fighting for their colors (colours in the Canada) or their team. Well, I love the Flyers, but I’ve moved on to another part of my life where I’m not all that interested in fighting someone because of it.
But, I wanted to root for my team.
Like, hard; I wanted to be able to yell for my team as loud as I wanted to or were able to until my voice filled the stadium, until the Captain looked up in the stands and thought, “Cool, Kerner’s here. I’m going to play EXTRA hard now.”
So here’s the plan (it’s nothing new – I’d seen in done at the Spectrum a dozen times when someone new comes into the section you sit in with an opposing team’s jersey on – but not the Penguins – you can’t do that): I was going to purchase as many beers as were legally available at the stadium and, after the anthems were sung (I simply love the Canadian National Anthem – I love our National Anthem too – but, I really need to learn theirs by heart, I felt like an idiot not knowing it by heart) I had planned on handing most of the beers purchased out to the people around me, assuming that they were going to be rooting for the Canadians.
So I asked the man behind the concession stand how many I could purchase since, in the States, they usually limit you to two or three at a time. He said, “as many as you have the money for.”
I bought eight.
One hundred and forty dollars later (I think I’m the only one who’s ever tipped that man) I was on my way to my seat. This being my first live Flyers game in almost 15 years I did not skimp on where I was to sit. I had my favorite chair; third level, first row, center ice. I put the two compostable and made of recycled cardboard beer carriers (I got tall boy cans of Molson Canadian (fitting) if you wanted to know and you should know since it’s important later – the Alcohol By Volume of this beer is about 5 percent) under my seat and waited.
The anthems came.
I felt dumb for only knowing the words to one of them.
Everyone sat down.
I reached under my chair and pulled seven of the eight already opened beers out and looked around for people in Canadians jerseys to hand these beers out to, starting with behind me. Well, behind me was a girl’s hockey team from upstate New York where the median age was about fourteen. No, I didn’t not hand them beer.
I handed the seven beers out to the people in my row and they were all initially puzzled but soon accepted my offerings with a whole lot of “merci” and a little bit of shock. They probably weren’t talking about me in French but they were sure gesturing in a way to make me think that they were saying, “silly American trying to buy our love away from our beloved team.” I wasn’t trying to do that. I then explained that I am a Flyers fan (I didn’t wear any paraphernalia because I didn’t want to wear it after the game about town (especially if we won)) and that all I wanted to do was to watch hockey and cheer for my team.
Good plan in action, eh?
I had kept one of these beers for myself as my “game beer” to be drunk in thirds for each of the periods of play.
The first period came and went. The Flyers were playing well.
At first intermission I and my new friends all got up to use the rest rooms and/or eat four hot dogs (I’ll let you know I did a little of both – ok, yes, I ate four hot dogs – I needed some sort of base in my stomach because I had forgotten to eat dinner in my excitement and I had planned on having beer after the game and beer on an empty stomach is a rookie mistake and I’m not Shane Gostisbehere (Ghost Bear to you) or else I’d be a way better skater) and returned to our chairs for the second period to begin.
That’s where my plan backfired.
Well, you can’t call it “backfired” because that would imply that something bad happened. Nothing bad happened. I was just a victim of my own generosity.
Each of the seven people that I handed a beer to before the game came back to our section and handed me a beer in return; every single one of them. That is to say, I bought eight beers with the intention of handing out seven and keeping one for myself and now, at the start of the second period, I had eight beers under my chair, all opened and all but one of them were Molson Export (7 percent Alcohol By Volume).
I did what anyone would do.
I tried my hardest to be gracious to my new friends and finish their gifts. It’s how I was raised. You finish what’s handed to you.
In all, I had three total. But, for those that know me, three seven percent ABV beers (in pint sized format) on top of the beer I had before the game and the other beer that was going warm that was 5 percent ABV, will know that this is a good deal out of my “norm.” I love beer. I’m not a lightweight. But I usually like to stick in the 5 percent range so that I can have more of them. Because; I love beer. And, usually I’m not drinking that amount in an hour.
I can’t say I was drunk. But, I can say that I usually don’t like hugging but I got a LOT of hugs that night from my new friends. By the end of the game (the Flyers lost in a shootout which meant that I got to see overtime 3-on-3 live – which, was awesome regardless of the outcome) we were all just straight up hockey fans. And, it was more about the fact that we “bonded” over being able to share something with another person. It was more than just about beer and imbibing and hockey. It was the fact that there was about fifteen of us in that row and by the end of the game, regardless for who we were rooting for; we were embracing like hundred yearlong friends who’re out for a night on the town.
After the game we waddled out of the stadium and one of my new friends invited me to go to a bar with him and his lady. I had to decline. I wandered the streets and took in the culture and signage of this newish to me city, ultimately stopping about two hours later into an Irish Pub where I knew I could get a cream ale on tap. Having that pint I realized that I was still in a foreign country and my uncomfortablilty in public stretches beyond the borders. So, I returned to my hotel room and played mandolin (I’m teaching myself mandolin) and watched the game that I was just at on television in its entirety in a language that I can’t speak fluently.
Maybe this is self-serving to write this out for you but maybe this answers the questions that I’ve heard recently about my incessant mentioning about the hockey game that I was going to in past memos to you. And, maybe I didn’t have much to tell you this week so it gave me a perfect opportunity to be able to answer those questions. Either way, that’s the answer.
I had a great time, thanks for asking.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SCROLLED DOWN TO THE BOTTOM TO READ ABOUT JUST THE BEERS WE’RE GOING TO HAVE ON TAP SOON START READING HERE:
Here they are!
- Idletyme Weizen: this beer sells really really well because it’s really really good and very much so true to form. A VERY (I’m low on adjectives today, apparently) amazing and awesome and cool and neato Hefeweizen with all of it’s slightly spicy and bready awesomeness.
- Zero Gravity Mr. Black: you may not know what a Schwarzbier is when you see it on the board but that’s going to change because you’ll have this little nugget of information in your head when you actually do read it: it’s a black lager, which is a little toasty and roasty but not really over the top but it retains the crispness from the lager fermentation.
- Schilling Modernism: speaking of dark things, this is another type of dark lager but more in the Czech style than the German style that Mr. Black falls under. Also known as a “TMave.” I personally distinguish this dark lager as being less roasty and toasty than a Schwarzbier, therefore requiring it’s own style in the times when styles need to be defined.
- Les Trois Mousquetaires: more than just a really fun word to type this is their Doppelbock, just in time for the Spring that is springing upon us today. I hope you’re feeling it too. So, think big and malty and brown in color (or colour as this is from Quebec) with a good amount of warming alcohol.
That should wet your spring-whistle, which is a word that I just made up and can now be plagerized (notice I spelled plagiarized wrong? That’s so you can steal it and not have it be correct).
My Best To You All,