The other night, a buddy and I fired up the roadster and headed up the road to Carlisle. It is a blessing that a good deal of Pa. microbreweries are within an hour or two drive of the house. It makes for more sensible evenings.
40/40…brought to you by the Pa. Turnpike, a Japanese automaker, Arabian oil, and yours truly.
The Market Cross Pub was literally brewing, and in more than one way, beer-wise and conversationally, on the eve we darkened her door. It is named and styled Brit-like. I have never been to England, but from what I understand, the English pub tradition of having a pint and jawing with the boys is as Britain as going to Wimbledon and eating strawberries and cream.This night in Carlisle turned out to be much the same, except we had big old steaks rather than fish and chips to accompany our drafts. Steak special for 9 bucks on Tuesdays! With a tater.
The English verbal wit is sharpened in the conversation over ones favorite ale. Last fall, my wife and I were in East Glacier, Montana, and came across a traveling band of English gents on a worldwide motorcycle trek. Though we were far from London, you can take the bloke out of London, but not the London out of bloke. I could hardly keep up conversationally with the back-and-forth jibes and jokes (like watching a tennis match at high-speed). So, I picked my spots but generally kept the trap shut. Part of it was that they all knew each other, and I was not inclined to throw myself in the middle of the scrum as the lone American…I was wondering if they might still be smarting over the Revolutionary War skirmish despite our recent cooperation. I could neither keep up drinking-wise, nor would I want to. By the end of the evening, I think the Brits had sucked dry all of the beer and wine within one square mile of the motel.
But, enough about English guys in Montana. This night in Carlisle, we encountered an attorney by trade, who was greatly surprised that we could be evangelicals and sucking our own pints down. Not even sure how we got on the topic. A lapsed Catholic, he kidded, cajoled, commented, and questioned us into the night about matters of the faith, kind of a time to openly question the catechism he had ingested as a youth. Me, as a former Catholic, but now more of the Reformed strain of the faith, I had both an understanding of his questions but also a more Protestant take on things. All in all, it was a fun and spirited conversation. It could have gotten ugly perhaps but being civil and kind to one another is part of my creed. It doesn’t mean that I don’t take religious and existential questions seriously, I do. I just try to keep the tongue and temper in check as it does little good to be hot and bothered. Here is the kicker of it all, a true YouTube moment if there ever was one: The bartendress started preaching the Gospel to him. Boy, that was an unexpected turn and one none of us saw coming, especially ye olde Esquire himself.
Talking about being hot and bothered (at least hot), besides the chatting with the fellows at the bar (there were several others listening in), the boys out back who worked at the Market Place Pub were also brewing. When I shared with the bartendress about the 40/40 she escorted us back through the establishment to a back building where the brewing action was happening. Here is a pic:
Here the Head Brewer Kevin and his trusty sidekick “Scrub Boy” were sweating, stirring, and stacking away, for our drinking pleasure. Scrub Boy did tell me his name but I told him since he first revealed himself as Scrub Boy, that is how he would be known when I did my blog post. He seemed fine with it, quite jovial in fact. We had a great conversation with the guys about brewing and they were really excited to hear about 40/40. I am doing this trek for all men…men who would do it if they could, but where life has not yet extended the circumstances making it possible. After hanging out back for a while, we trotted back up to our bar stools to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
I was sorely vexed to hear that they only had one Market Cross Pub microbrew on tap. Yet, I got over it quick once I sipped the brew that they did have…a wonderful lager that said, “Forget about the others, I am enough.” And it was. As we teared into our steaks, both grilled and theological meat, we continued to enjoy this fine beer and company. Later in the evening we had a desert…a Mai Bock just rolled up from the back. Nice!
All in all a great night. Who needs to go to England for a pub experience when it is right here in Central Pa.? Nice going Market Cross Pub, I am spreading the news about your brews. I was a jolly night. On the ride home, once again the Beatles “1” blasting, we basked in the glow of a night well spent.
Oh yeah, “Scrub Boy’s” name? Joel.