We will not be open this coming Sunday. It’s typically the day with which we lend our staff the ability to share the day with their friends and family so it is suggested that you do the same. You don’t have to, it’s just a suggestion, but it would be nice if you did.
For starters, you may need a last minute gift idea and we have a couple for you: we have new glassware with our logo emblazoned on it and they’re really nice. For this week (leading up to the day we’re closed) you can get one for $7 or TWO for $12! Also, if you want a T-Shirt to accompany that fantastic glass you can get a T-Shirt AND a glass for $25. Both of these things save you $2 each. Also, we have gift cards, lots of them.
The following really doesn’t have much to do with giving or receiving or anything that this time of the year brings about but it was what was going on with me at the time and I felt the need to share. It’s like when Neil Young sits down at the piano at that BBC concert and makes a joke about their cups (the song is at around the twenty minute mark but the joke about the cups is in there somewhere) but it’s unlike that scenario because it’s way less depressing.
I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!
I bought myself a record player the other day.
[Beer and music, that’s where I’m going with this…]
It’s been probably ten years since I’ve owned/possessed a record player let alone any records to play on it. In my past life (I believe lives start and end with either a decade or an event, whichever comes first) I had a vast collection of records to play ranging from Patsy Cline to the very first Incubus album and everything in between, with the lion’s share of the collection consisting of seventies jazz fusion, which was kind of my modus operandi during my later teenage years when I was learning guitar. I wanted to be the guy in this band. I’m still not that guy but I’m a lot closer now than I was when I wanted to be that guy.
So the other day I ended my shift at the Taproom (I still bartend two days a week so that all of you can still see me – stop by! I’m there Tuesdays and Wednesdays and I’m the one who works with Bart but I’m not Bart) and made my way home. Usually, I’ll hop on the computer and watch Youtube videos (example 1) until I can’t keep eyes open anymore. This specific evening I knew that I had two cans of Almanac Pilsner left in the reefer to finish off my evening and after I walked through the door, settled in, made sure I made the bed in the morning (nope) and kissed the lintel between the kitchen and the room that one would assume to be a dining room, I put one of those cans on top of the upside down lobster crate that I use as a coffee table and sat on the couch.
My computer sat there with the screen closed.
Before I opened the flappy of the CPU I paused.
I now have a record player.
When I purchased the turntable (from Buch Spieler in Montpeiler! Greatest record store on Earth!), I figured it would be pretty stupid not to also purchase a couple of records as well.
This is where another story has to be told because it’s awesome.
It involves a pick em up truck.
But it makes sense with the other story as well.
My grandfather had a 1994 Chevy S10 that he had modified to basically resemble an 18 wheeler, complete with running outside lights and toggle switches on the dashboard that controlled them all. I really can not tell you why. I was told as a younger version of the man I am today that he, at some point, was a trucker, which would explain the need for him to install running outside lights on a relatively smallish pick up. The entire time I knew him he worked for some sort of plastics company in Trenton that, unfortunately, did not make the same kind of plastic that hockey boards are made of, which would have been very convenient to my excitement level towards hockey and not to plastic at that time in my life. The lights ran along the entire outside of the cap that covered the bed of the truck. They’re these kinds of lights.
Well, my grandfather used to drive around with the radio off. As in, it was never on. Music was an extremely important facet of who I was as a person all growing up (not because my parents were overly musical or that I grew up in a “musical” family, I just gravitated towards it, personally) and I couldn’t comprehend how he could do that. Seriously, there was not one time that he would even put the radio on, let alone something musical.
So, for some sort of holiday one year I decided it would be a nice gesture to purchase some cassette tapes (they were ALL the rage back in that day) for him to actually have in his truck to listen to because that must have been the reason why he never listened to music, he didn’t HAVE any. I went to my local Hess Gas station during the time when you could buy those collectable trucks, which leads me to believe that this was around Christmas time, and got him a four pack of tapes (variety!) to crush the silence that was his commuting time (spoiler alert: turns out my grandfather just likes to listen to the traffic around him because him gave him a sense of where he was in relationship to the other cars on the road and music and/or the radio got in the way of his concentration). In the four pack were the greatest hits collections of: Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton.
The time came and went that I gifted them to him and I assumed that he put them in his truck.
One day, he was giving me a ride to a sporting event of some sort (I was always coming and/or going to a sporting event and sometimes my grandfather was the driver when my brother also had a sporting event or if the timing seemed correctly necessary for him to do so) and I noticed them in the bottom part of the door; the junk collector that is basically a plastic pocket at the bottom of the door used to store things unspecifically but also make it so that a vacuum will never be able to make it one hundred percent clean.
I opened the package that was holding them all together and undid the wrapping around the first one that I decided should be opened. It was the Patsy Cline one.
Without asking him, I put it into the tape player and pushed the cassette into the hole.
Patsy Cline filled the cabin like his cigarette smoke. The sound was awesome. Turns out, that truck had great speakers. Well, I figured, they better since this was the very first time that they’ve ever been used.
About two or three years later I ended up purchasing the truck from him so that he can buy a exact newer version of the same exact truck and put outside running lights on it.
The very first thing that I did, without even having driven the truck, is make four anchors out of wood and then put a piece of plywood over the top of these anchors, essentially creating a second layer to the truck bed under the cap. I would use this area for the next four years as my bedroom as I travelled around the eastern seaboard, climbing up hills and mountains.
But the first time that I got behind the wheel of the truck and put it in drive I reached down to turn on the radio. A tape started playing. It was Patsy Cline.
Here I was, driving around the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, with the windows rolled down, blasting Ms. Cline as if the speakers in the cabin had never been used and I was seasoning them for future enjoyment.
Apparently, after I had left the truck the day that my grandfather and I were in it listening to Patsy for the first time, he immediately turned it off after I had exited the vehicle and it hadn’t been turned on since.
I recently also purchased a pick up truck. It has the ability to play cassette tapes. I went over to Buch Spieler in Montpelier and looked for some tapes to put in the truck to keep me company. You’ll never guess what I found.
You just did. You just guessed that I found a copy of Patsy Cline’s greatest hits on cassette that I immediately purchased and put in the truck, driving around Montpelier, Vermont, blasting Ms. Cline through the streets and smiling.
Let’s get back to the record player.
With the player under my arm I went about using my fingers like little legs running on top of thin rocks, pushing these imaginary rocks out of the way in search for other titles behind the ones in front of them. I landed on the very first album I was given as a teenager by the clerk at the Princeton Record Exchange, with him saying that I should buy it and listen to it carefully, having, at that time, just acquired my first record player.
It was John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.
It seemed only fitting that I, now seated on the floor in the room of my apartment that could be considered another bedroom but just so happens to not have a closet, would play that album as the first one on my brand new record player.
There’s something so finitely perfect about listening to records. You are given a set time to be able to sit and listen. You are told when the album starts and when it finishes, it’s dictated for you in the form of sides. And nothing is more pensive and reflective than just simply stopping your day, sitting on the floor and just listening.
As my grandfather liked to listen to the traffic around him, giving him a sense of place amongst the cars, I like to listen to the people around me, giving me a sense as cat whiskers do, a feel for where I can fit through and what my surroundings entail. At the end of the day, it’s nice to put a pause to that noise with the start of a needle being pressed against wax.
I listen to music like I drink beer.
There are times when I’m just putting the beer on in the background, letting the sheer fact of noise happen. Other times, I’m engaging myself within it, sitting on the floor and staring into the depths of a window pane while the world goes on around me and I, there in silence, studying.
So, if you made it this far, here’s what you can possibly expect on our taplist in the next few days:
- Scaldis Noel: we laid this one down in the good old days of two thousand and ten and allowed it to resurface so that we may have it to celebrate with you. It’s a wicked big Belgian Strong Ale from the family owned brewery of Brasserie Dubisson. Basically we’re talking about fruitcake in a glass with alcohol. That’s the worst generalization you can possible make about this beer because fruitcake has a bad rap. However, all of those raisin/plum/spice characters are there and the 12% ABV will warm you right up. The age on the beer should subdue a little bit of the heat associated with the higher alcohol and make for a mellow, yet potent ale.
- Hill Farmstead Harlan: if I’m not mistaken, this is an IPA that has a boatload of Columbus hops (earthy yet a little citrusy when really fresh) and a great malt profile to balance it out. The part that I may be mistaken on is the aspect of exactly how much Columbus is in the recipe and how much of other hops play a part. Either way, I’m going to stay, right here, with you.
- Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break: I was going to make a joke about butter but I stopped myself because I should. Someone out there will get that reference and they’ll find it amusing. Anyway, this is a big old Imperial Stout that we’ve aged for two years to maximize the flavor and minus the heat. Enjoy this for the sake of being a beer and allow it to soothe you.
- Citizen Cider Citizen Sour: I always feel redundant when I say something twice. It’s like being from the Department of the Office of Redundancy Department. Anyway, the way in which folks are making “kettle sours” these days in regards to beer (souring in the kettle, as opposed to the lengthy process of aging for months or years) is the same way that the folks at Citizen approach this cider. Expect it to be sour.
And, stay tuned for next week, we’re doing a fire sale on our bottles so WATCH OUT!
Happy Holidays folks! Thanks for coming.