As for beer on hand, that was another story. The inventory consisted of 2 unfamiliar Belgians, Delerium Tremens and Michelob Ultra, so off to Bubbles liquor store to get something to pair with the Manicotti. Bubbles is somewhat like your typical locally owned liquor store, only it's not because they have an incredible inventory of beer! I browsed the shelves thinking maybe I would get a Belgian Witbier, when I saw some of the Boulevard Smokestack Series in the cooler. (Has anyone seen these kept in a cooler at another liquor store?) The cooler windows at Bubbles could be replaced with stainless steel and it would not make a difference, because they are always covered by so much condensation it is impossible to see what is inside. As I opened the cooler I crossed my fingers and hoped for the Saison, which I had yet to try... SCORE!
As I stood in front of the cooler marveling at my good fortune, I saw a fellow on my left trying to peek through the condensation. He was a fairly large guy with tats on each forearm, completely dressed in black with a beard and longish black hair parted in the middle. He glanced at me and then kind of leaned over and attempted to look in the cooler window in front of me, then he straightened back up and with a sheepish, child-like look on his face, he turned to me and said, "Sometimes I like to get some exotic shit!" He appeared vaguely familiar to me, but I was certain I had never met him. Later, I realized the reason for my deja vu moment, he could have been the twin brother of HBO Deadwood's Dan Dority, played by W. Earl Brown. I really liked Dan Dority. Push come to shove I might have to say he was my favorite character on the show. That must explain what I did next, which was to ask, "Have you ever tried any of the Boulevard Smokestack Series?"
Dan said, "No" so I held up the bottle of Saison. He took the 750ml bottle from me, gazed at the label, then at the cork and said, "That's beer?" I gave him a brief explanation about the Smokestack Series and the Saison style. He handed the bottle back to me and said, "This isn't one of those wheat beers, is it?" At that moment, I knew exactly what to do because just before I began the conversation with Dan, when I was celebrating my good fortune as I reached for the bottle of Saison, I noticed they also had "Long Strange Tripel. As I explained to Dan that the Saison was not a wheat beer, I opened the cooler door pointed at the Tripel and said, "Here is what you should try. It's a Belgian style with a very high alcohol content." He took the bottle down from the shelf, looked at it and said, "9% alcohol? Cool. Thanks Man!" and headed straight for the register.
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