Sunday, 28 June 2015

The dark side

Life’s full of many things. Most brown, smelly and not what you’d want stuck to your shoes.

I’m not too bad with the jetlag thing. I can snap into new time zones with the same ease I can snap my ageing bones.

Yet something is very wrong. There’s a pub. I’ve money and time. And I’m wondering whether I can be arsed to go there.

This is scary. “Do I really want to go to a pub? Do I need to?”

Pull yourself together, chav. Of course you don’t need to go to a pub. You just fucking have to. Don’t betray generations of pissheads because you’re a bit knacked.

Dragging myself down the hill pub-wards, a familiar scent perfumes the air. Eau de I can’t be arsed to find a toilet. “Students welcome” a sign says on a rusty hotel, prefixed by a particularly pissed-perfumed pavement. Students of what I wonder. Urology?

I’ve not mentioned where I’m headed, have I? Let me mention my excuses. Time. Place. Manner. (That is the right order, isn’t it?) Don’t judge me. No don’t. Fuck off, will you? Fuck right off. I can drink where I want. Or, failing that, where I need to. (Time, place, manner: I’ve no time to drink anywhere else, it’s the only place close enough, quickly.)

My destination is Mikkeller Bar.

For such a scrotum-stretchingly hip operation, they’ve shacked up at a surprisingly scrotum-scratchingly skaggy spot. Is that a good or a bad thing? Or just a thing?

Good, bad, exciting, annoying, fun, work. They’re all just becoming things. Things I experience in those moments between eyelids up and eyelids down. And ultimately, between heartbeat on and heartbeat off.

Wait till you hit fifty. Mortality becomes less of an abstract noun. More of a stract one.

My belly and the bar embrace like the old friends they are. Beer menu? Yes, please.

Time to play hipster bingo. One point for every clean-shaven male, another for every female without a visible tattoo.

Looks like the score is one. If I include myself.

As hipster as you can get. Unless you can go less than zero.

Time for a beer.

Bridge Road Little Bling 3,5% Session IPA
My god. A session IPA that’s actually session strength! So why the hell is the serving 33cl? Quite dark but pretty clear. Hoppy and light. Not bad. Except for the price/serving size. $6 for 33 cl, while 50 cl of a 6.9% IPA costs $7. That’s just crazy.

I’m feeling pretty wrecked. I had no energy at all when I got up. Don’t feel much better now. And the walk back to my hotel is mostly uphill.

It’s the usual trendy interior – minimalist exposed brick, chrome taps and wooden-topped bar. Oh look – exposed ducting. Hasn’t that become old hat yet? I’ve always thought it looks crap.

I think I’m going to work my way up the IPA hill. A straight one next.

Tenderloin IPA 6.8% $7 (40 cl)
That’s surprising. An IPA with no trace of murk Smells like lemon washing up liquid. But in a good way. I think. Very citrusy, which I guess is to be expected. OK. I could probably knock back a couple of pints if necessary.

Hope I’ve livened up by this evening. Sorry, later in the afternoon. I’m giving an informal chat on the history of Mild. Luckily it’s a topic I can bang on about pretty easily.

The crowd here is about one third women. One or two blokes who look about my age, but most are under 40, a majority under 30. I feel like a Mass Observation scout noting down that sort of thing. Though I’ll not be jotting down everyone’s orders. That’s way too complicated. There’s a lot more on draught than Mild, Best Mild and Bitter.

Crux Half Hitch Mosaic Hopped Imperial IPA 9.5% $7 (25 cl)
Another clear one. I’m on a roll here. Oh, so that’s what Mosaic tastes like: disinfectant spiced with mint. Not sure I like it that much. But Mosaic hops are hard to get hold of, so they must be good. Mustn’t they?

A Swiss couple have just sat next to me. The woman asks the barkeep: “Which beers are on draught?” “All of them. This is the bottled list” he said, passing them another menu. Guess they aren’t used to that many draught beers back home.

Just noticed they serve some beers at 40º F, some at 45º F and others at 55º F. Shit. Just noticed they have two cask beers. Fuck. I’m off after this one. Though I’ve not seen anyone order one so god knows what condition it’s in.

I’m in luck. There’s a cab waiting almost outside the door. Soon I’m bouncing up the hill home.

Mikkeller Bar
34 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94102

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