By Steve Siciliano
I was sitting at the bar puffing on my pipe and rehydrating with a Tito’s and soda at La Ola, a touristy watering hole in the ultra-touristy Times Square section of Ft. Meyers Beach, when I noticed an impeccably dressed, white-haired gentleman sitting at an open-air table giving me the once over. Unlike the gentleman at the table, I was a disheveled mess. Barb and I had walked the three miles up Estero Boulevard, stopping midway for a quick drink and a potty break at the aptly named Liki Tiki, and my ragged blue T-shirt was drenched with sweat. I took off my worn leather baseball cap, admittedly not the best headwear for a long walk in 85-degree heat, grabbed some napkins, wiped my face and wondered why the gentleman was looking at me.
In spite of the hordes of tourists, the Square was one of our favorite spots on the Beach and La Ola was one of our favorite watering holes. We were usually able to snag a couple stools at the small bar and it was entertaining watching Danny, the overworked but friendly and incredibly efficient bartender, expertly whipping up endless rounds of colorful fufu drinks. The other live entertainment, a singer/guitarist from Iowa named Johnnie Walker, began at one o’clock and by one-thirty the place was usually hopping.
I sat at the bar sipping my drink and smoking my pipe and listening to the music. Every so often I glanced over at the white-haired gentleman. Apparently, he had lost interest in me because he had turned his attention to the attractive elderly woman, also impeccably dressed, sitting with him. When Johnnie Walker began playing a very passable rendition of a Creedence Clearwater Revival tune, he sprang up and grabbed the woman’s arm and they joined the throng of alcohol-fueled dancers. When the song ended, he made his way through the crowd, walked up to the bar and stood next to me.
“What’s up?” I asked him.
“Anyone ever tell you that you look like Ernest Hemingway?”
I told him no one had. No doubt it was my white beard and overall slovenly appearance, a look familiar to anyone who has seen photographs of Hemingway during his years in Key West, that prompted him to think that I bore a resemblance to the famous writer. But I’m quite sure the pipe was the kicker. For some reason folks tend to associate pipes with authors. To the best of my knowledge Hemingway didn’t smoke a pipe.
“It’s a compliment,” the man said, perhaps sensing my disagreement with his assessment of my appearance.
“I took it as a compliment,” I assured him. “Hemingway is one of my favorite authors.”
“Mine too,” he said. “What’s your favorite Hemingway work?”
“The Sun Also Rises,” I told him.
“Mine is The Grapes of Wrath.”
We talked for a few minutes more. He told me that he and his wife are from Chicago. I told him that my wife and I are from Michigan. We agreed that, in view of the nasty weather back home, we were very lucky to be in Florida. I decided there wasn’t a good reason to tell the nice gentleman that his favorite Hemingway novel was written by John Steinbeck.
New and Returning Beer
Big Lake BA Darkstar, $4.69/16oz (2 per) - "A whisky Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout brewed with coffee, cacao, and oats" (source).
Big Lake Lake Beer, $2.79/16oz - "A light, Crisp, refreshing beer to be enjoyed by the lake" (source).
Big Lake Pom Haze, $3.39/16oz - "A New England style IPA brewed with real pomegranate" (source).
Big Lake Seed Spitter, $2.79/ 16oz - "Watermelon Wheat" (source).
Boulevard BA Quad, $4.69/12oz - "Based loosely on the Smokestack Series’ The Sixth Glass, this abbey-style quadrupel is separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels where it ages for varying lengths of time, some for up to three years. Cherries are added to make up for the “angel's share” of beer lost during barrel aging. Selected barrels are then blended for optimum flavor. The resulting beer retains only very subtle cherry characteristics, with toffee and vanilla notes coming to the fore" (source).
Boulevard Whiskey BA Stout, $4.69/12oz - "Over-the-top but surprisingly approachable, this twist on the classic style starts with several types of malted barley, rye, oats and wheat. Robust flavors of vanilla, espresso, whiskey, chocolate and roasted grain are balanced by hints of date and plum, with just enough hops to round it all out. Roughly one-third of the final blend is freshly brewed beer; the rest is aged for up to a year (or more!) in both first and second use whiskey casks" (source).
Dark Horse Rain In Blood, $1.79/12oz - "Our tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman and the greatest band of all time, Slayer. This pale ale is brewed with fresh blood oranges and blood orange juice that is hand squeezed at the brewery. It should be enjoyed fresh and paired with delicious heavy metal" (source).
Deschutes Mirror Pond, $1.79/12oz - "A crisp, single-hop pale ale with floral and citrus notes from 100% Cascade hops and a smooth caramel malt character" (source).
Great Lakes Cloud Cutter, $1.99/12oz - "Bursts of juicy citrus zip across friendly, lightly filtered wheat skies in our high-flying tribute to the historic Cleveland Air Races" (source).
Great Lakes IPA, $1.99/12oz - "To celebrate our family of employee-owners, we crafted a lightly filtered, citrus-forward IPA that’s as bright and approachable as our crew. Hard work never tasted so good" (source).
Griffin Claw El Ligero, $2.39/16oz - "Mexican lager with fresh lime" (source).
Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher Water, $1.69/12oz - "Lagunitas Hop Water is a fresh take on an old tradition ... An IPA-inspired refreshment that's zero-alcohol, zero-carbohydrate, and zero-calorie, made using everything we know about hops. It's chock-full of Citra, Equinox, and Centennial hops, as well as some natural flavors and a pinch brewer's yeast to biotransform-ate the hops to just the right flavor" (source).
Mitten Brewing Peanuts and Cracker Jack, $2.89/12oz - "Robust porter made with real roasted peanuts and peanut butter from Germack Pistachio Company" (source).
North Peak Archangel, $1.89/12oz - "North Peak Archangel is an American wheat beer brewed with Michigan cherries. Subtly hopped with Perle and Vanguard hops, Archangel is refreshing, clean and crisp. Just what you need to bring in the Michigan summer weather" (source).
North Peak Diabolical, $1.89/12oz - "When creating Diabolical we made a devilishly hoppy IPA. With this beer we’ve taken it up a notch. That same great unfiltered IPA, just a little more fiendish… more malt, more hops, more alcohol, ergo the name Double Diabolical" (source).
North Peak Havoc, $1.89/12oz - "From the fresh coast state comes a west coast inspired IPA. Waves of hop aroma and flavor make this IPA one for hopheads and IPA purists alike. The unique profile of Chinook, Cascade, Falconers Flight, Summit and Mosaic hops create a tantalizing mix of citrus, tropical, and pine flavors. With a subtle malt profile and high hop character, this IPA is sure to wreak havoc on your palate" (source).
North Peak Siren, $1.99/12oz - "Siren amber ale isn’t your beginner’s amber, it’s much more complex. The hops selected for Siren balance and complement the malt character. It is smoother, well-balanced and has a rich amber hue" (source).
Odd Side Alpha Beta, $2.39/12oz - "A harmonious blend of hops give this beer a sweet and citrusy aroma, juicy flavor, and a bitter finish. This beer has everything you want in an IPA" (source).
Odd Side Falcon Punch, $2.39/12oz - "French Pale Malt and Falconer's Flight hops star in this SMASH IPA. Starts out sweet and finishes with a hoppy punch" (source).
Odd Side Shadynasty, $2.59/12oz - "An American IPA with a ton of juicy American hops that include Denali, Citra, and Mosaic. A mouthful of resiny goodness and light malt with a semi dry body that hosts a well rounded bitterness. Pours hazy golden with a lacing white head. Classy! Limited small batch production runs" (source).
Odd Side Shamone, $2.39/12oz - "A slightly tart, kettle sour NEIPA. Funky wild yeast meets smooth and juicy hop" (source).
Odd Side Strawberry Hop Milk, $2.99/12oz - "Strawberry India Pale Ale with lactose and vanilla added" (source).
Old Nation Brut, $4.09/16oz (2 per) - "Brut IPA uses the same recipe hops as M-43 combined with the Brut brewing technique...It is meant to be more clear, juicy and dry. Very dry" (source).
One Well Bad Adz, $3.59/16oz - "Northern England-style brown ale named after our wood design guru, Tim Overhuel, and his company, Bad Adz Custom Wood Design. Bad Adz is a smooth yet complex beer brewed with a malt bill that produces a slightly toasty and sweet, nutty flavor with hints of raisin and caramel. Tim provided a lot of the natural wood materials, design and labor that make our tap house unique, so we decided to name a beer after him" (source).
One Well BBA Sow It's Oats?, $4.89/8oz - "2018 BBA Maple cersion of Sow It’s Oats" (source).
One Well BBA Sweet Water Street, $4.89/8oz - "A high gravity, barrel aged version of Sweet Water Street, a porter brewed with Sweet Water’s Donut Mill donut holes and Water Street Coffee Roaster coffee. This beer has been aging in barrels provided by our friends over at Journeyman Distillery" (source).
One Well BBA Yessir, $4.89/8oz - "Smooth BBA barleywine" (source).
One Well Only Gose to Show, $3.19/16oz - "Tequila Barrel Aged Only Gose to Show Lime" (source).
One Well State of Bean. $3.19/16oz - "Butter pecan" (source).
One Well Sweet Water Street, $2.19/16oz - "Sweet Water donuts, blended with Water Street Coffee" (source).
One Well Whoppy, $3.19/16oz - "oppy Wheat Ale Whoppy is a hoppy wheat ale with a golden orange color and a mouthful of flavor. This light-bodied brew is crisp and delivers wonderful hints of passion fruit and grapefruit that come from the natural tropical flavors of the Citra hops used in brewing" (source).
One Well Xalapa, $3.19/16oz - "Xalapa is our first specialty beer that will be offered at the tap house. This delicious recipe combines the flavor of Opener - an American-style blonde ale - infused with fresh jalapeños. The nose and flavor of Xalapa let you know that you’re drinking a jalapeño beer, but the lack of intense spice makes this pepper beer unique and very sessionable" (source).
Rochester Mills Gypsy Goddess, $2.59/16oz - "Ale brewed with Raspberries and Lemons, this light-bodied American Shandy beer has bright citrus aromas and flavors of fresh lemon and berries with a sweet, yet subtly tart, finish" (source).
Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Pomegranate, $1.99/12oz - "A unique 50:50 blend of sparkling, unfiltered Schofferhofer Hefeweizen and real pomegranate juice. Delicious, exotic notes of pomegranate meet the crisp, smooth taste of a hefeweizen to deliver a uniquely refreshing beer" (source).
Southern Tier Mango Crush, $1.89/12oz - "The perfect choice for those who want flavor that reflects the fun of the summer season. Brewed with the perfect balance of mango puree and rich milk sugar, this gose style ale provides a refreshingly smooth drinking experience" (source).
Southern Tier Nu IPA, $1.89/12oz - "Sometimes evolution is observed in real time. Case in point: Nu Juice IPA. Over the course of more than a year of development, our R&D team uncovered the ultimate balance of hops and malts. This process involves adding Mosaic, Ekuanot, and Simcoe hops over a multi-day period, creating a refreshingly juicy and approachable IPA. As an added bonus, bitterness has been reduced to a low 30 for what could be the smoothest IPA ever brewed" (source).
Wyerbacher Quad, $3.59/12oz - "Big and delicious, QUAD is an elegant dark ale. Rich with complexity and flavor, try savoring it with a fine dinner. You also might enjoy it as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to a dessert, but QUAD stands alone quite well. We recommend enjoying QUAD in a brandy snifter or wine glass so you can drink in the aroma of this fine ale" (source).
Dark Horse | Rain in Blood
Available now at Siciliano's!