“How much is there?”
“A mountain of it, maybe 50, 60 cases.”
Many, many years ago I did the Renaissance Faire. We say we did the faire, not went to the faire, or worked at the faire. No, we DID the faire. We packed our cars for camping, put on crazy, sometimes super expensive costumes, and went dancing around in a forest. Think of it as your parent’s Burning Man, but just on weekends. The days were full of really bad English accents and the nighttime replete with communal showers, clouds of whatever-we-were-smoking and beer. Lots and lots of beer.
It was at this time that I drew unto myself the fastest of friends. These Faire friendships have not only survived time but distance as well. To run across Faire folk, in the world, is to meet a kindred spirit. A friend that you know you have but have only just met. It’s cool. Of the many dear people whom I met while doing the faire, one man stands out as a seminal influence in my life: D.V.Hill. Now DV is not a large man by any means, save when I saw him last he did sport a rather rolly-polly stature. But for the most of his life a lean, short fellow of fascinating disposition. He possesses a pleasant face, easy manner, an encyclopedic knowledge, of well, almost everything, including food and beer. It was at this latter junction of interests that we became fast friends.
I must credit my mother for being my first influence in the kitchen. While I love and admire her for the woman she was, and am thankful to have been fed tuna casserole growing up, her skills in the kitchen were full of love, less of skill. DV on the other hand owned a really sharp knife. It was made of carbon steel which means that it will take a very sharp edge but can stain the color of your food if not super clean while using it. In any event, I first learned how to chop from DV. He was the first to show me Julia Child’s method for roasting chicken. I remember most of all his rice pilaf with peanuts. I am embarrassed to admit that, at the time, I thought the rice would be better without the peanuts. His face was the definition of crestfallen. As the breadth of my culinary knowledge matured I have come to realize just how good that simple dish is. DV, if you are reading this, my belated apologies. (An aside: DV Hill is also credited for his creation of Butter Loaf, a dish well outside of its time. What is Butter Loaf you ask? The recipe goes as follows: 1. Take a stick of European butter, soften to room temperature. 2. Cover with Hollandaise sauce. 3. Eat with a fork.)
Another thing DV shared with me was his love of beer. It was said that a can of beer for breakfast, on a Sunday morning at the faire, was as steak and eggs.
“What did you have for breakfast?”
“Steak and eggs.”
“Was it still cold?”
“Eh, good though.”
DV and I, after meeting at his home in the Rockridge, would pop down to Markethall to buy some fish and veggies. DV had a thing for the fish boy. We would then stroll over to White Horse Liquor for a 6 pack of beer, before heading back to prepare our feast. In the kitchen we would discuss Faire politics, our latest crushes, how Julia would prepare the dish and oftentimes cry silly laughter telling fart jokes. (I did not intend to lower the level of conversation in this piece but so is the way with young men drinking beer. RE: Falstaff.) One particular evening, when DV and I had a chicken in to roast, he reached into his refrigerator and pulled out a pair of Pabst Blue Ribbon beers. But these were not the regular PBR one finds in many newer taprooms. No my friends, what this was, was my very first old school craft beer. It was a PBR Bock. A Bock beer is a strong, dark beer that is generally brewed in the fall and consumed in the spring. It was spring, and these were DV’s last two cans. He had been saving them to share with me, good friend.
“Let’s run down and get some more.”
“They’re all out. It only comes in once a year.”
“Damn” and so my first craft beer experience ended almost as quickly as it arrived.
A few days later I happened in to a liquor store in my hometown, a place not known to be crafty, when what did I spy but a full stack of PBR Bock. I immediately went home and called DV.
“How much is there?”
“A mountain of it, maybe 50, 60 cases.”
Two days later we ventured in to find the pile barely disturbed. 2 cases please, we asked. Unfortunately, due to our combination of desire and ability, the two cases lasted barely longer than the first two cans we shared. Oh well, I could never really enjoy a Budweiser after that.
Here in V-Town we are super fortunate to have craft beers all our own. I refer to our local hang, the Mare Island Brewing Co. located at the Ferry Building on Mare Island Way. In the years that have passed, my taste in beer has lightened tremendously. My current favorite of theirs is a pull of the Saginaw Golden Ale, although I have been known to down a Hydraulic Sandwich IPA or two. In addition to their fine selection of quite lovely, craft beers they boast a new food menu that is delicious. The chef, Scotti, has dug deep and is turning out some very tasty pub grub. I have had the Waygu burger, mac and cheese, Falafel wrap and the poutine. Poutine, for those of you not in-the-know, is a plate of French fries covered with cheese and gravy. Yum! This menu is creative and fun. Job well done Scotti. For those of you who have not yet been to the Ferry Building for a beer, shame on you. For the rest of you, I think that you know what I mean.
To my friend DV, though you are thousands of miles away, I would gladly sit with you again, drink beer, eat chicken, cry silly laughter and fart as old men do.
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Until next time,
Eat Well and Smile Often
6 Replies to “A COLD ONE”
Well remembered, Old Son, and nice site!
Glad you liked it Hill. Hope you are still tipping them back regularly.
I read these posts to my husband over breakfast. We enjoy your style Mr Judt.
Jen , that is very kind of you to say. I am very glad to hear that you enjoy them as you do. My best to you and your husband.
Getting to know you through these posts and it is wonderful. Adding the Ferry building to my list.
Michelle, I am considering starting a bicycle powered bar carriage business here in V-Town. We can use your list as our stopping spots.