I ended up in the Grantville area by mistake. I had to talk to a guy about a thing, and once that thing was over, I was thirsty. The specifics involving the thing do not concern you. What does concern you is that when I looked up from the thing, there was a brewery nearby, and of course I went to it, like a moth fly to an open flame.
BENCHMARK BREWING COMPANY (Benchmark) is where I ended up. I think I was here once before, but I am pretty sure that I was drugged and thrown from a moving van by some guys that were under the false impression that I owed them money, and I’m not clear on why. But this time, yes, I walked in on my own two feet, my choice.
There was a bearded bartender that gave me beer with very little argument. I was excited that they had a Wee Heavy, an Oatmeal Stout and a Belgian Dubbel (he pronounced it Doo-bell but I was too thirsty to call him an asshole). I vaguely remember telling the bearded bartender that I wouldn’t be sure if I liked the Wee Heavy until I drank 13 tasters of it…
Other than firing down a few of the Wee Heavys, which were pretty damn good, I had their blonde ale (on Nitro) which was surprisingly good, and the Dubbel. The Dubbel was more rosy in color than I am used to seeing. It had a real sweet taste that might turn people off, but not me, probably because I am part wolf.
Check out that presentation (see picture above). In addition to what I already discussed, there is a Brown Ale. Benchmark’s Brown Ale is the beer equivalent of a worn pair of leather boots. I do not mean to say that the beer tastes like leather or foot wear, but rather that the taste was comfortable and not appropriate for the snooty.
Benchmark also brews an Oatmeal Stout. Their stout had a thin mouth feel, but a nice roasty flavor. I thought that that whole point of brewing with oats was to have a beer with a thicker mouth feel? I did like this beer, but I would like it better if it was thicker. Yes, yes I know, thats what she said.
They had food too. I ate my tri-trip with the voracity and panic of a fledgling wolf pack member. Every single person in the joint was suspect. I would choke to death on a giant bite before I gave any of these strangers a clear shot at stealing a bite of my sandwich.
By far, the most noteworthy beer was the Wee Heavy. Benchmark get points for even having this wonderful Scottish treasure on tap. Most breweries in San Diego will take any opportunity to have another IPA on tap. This Wee Heavy has a great malty sweetness that easily hides the roughly 9 percent alcohol. Bravo Benchmark.
Like a classic A.D.D. kid, I could not sit here for long. I looked at the map. Apparently PRODIGY BREWING COMPANY (Prodigy) was within walking distance. So I paid my bill and set sail for there.
I ended up in an alley way. There was no sign that a brewery was nearby. In fact, I saw nothing at first but dust and shame and forgotten pieces of wood garbage. That didn’t last, however. I rounded a corner on slippery heel, and happened upon a middle-aged Mexican couple having sex. It seemed fairly consensual. He was doing most of the work, while she made most of the noise. They both managed to keep their jeans on, which was fascinating in its own right. A stray cat was watching them intently while shadow-boxing with milk white paws. The sheer physics of this sex act baffled me, by the way, even now as I reflect upon it. He was a good 5 inches shorter than she, and probably weighed 50 pounds less. I did not see their garbage, but I did see his face. The compulsion, the concentration. I think I make a similar face when my wife gives me a grocery list, but I’d rather be watching a football game. Needless to say, I spun back around on that same slippery heel, and took an alternate route to where I thought that Prodigy Brewing was located.
I did a big round-about the building, and saw a wooden door, larger than the others. A husky man in a black t-shirt was seated in a navy blue canvas camping chair. This mountain of a man was facing the wall, though, which seemed odd. He heard my hesitant footsteps approaching and slowly dragged himself from the chair. He extended a paw. I assumed that he wanted to see my ID. He shook his head. This aint no nancy bar, Susie, he said. I’m Miguel Edwards, he said, and no fool gets in here without serving me a punch that I will remember. Er else you can F off back to wherever.
I found this statement to be confusing. Are you not the bouncer, sir, I asked. No, I aint no bouncer, just a concerned citizen. At this point, I was pretty over the whole thing, the alley way baby-making and then this confusing asshole. Ok, well I would like to go inside there and have a beer then.
He slowly pointed to his chin and attached jawline. Gimme your best shot, he said in his gravely voice. I exhaled, and tried to process what the fuck he was asking me. You want me to punch you? I noticed his sweaty man-hooters being held back by a well worn metal-core t-shirt. This gave me some confidence in case I really did have to punch him in order to gain entrance.
Miguel, what the hell man, I am 34 years old. I cant be punching strangers, unless they hurt my dog or change the channel or something. Miguel seemed dead set on being punched by me. He even swung his cheek out like it was about to receive a grandma kiss. I found this somewhat insulting. I reached back for the heavens behind me and swung with everything I had. I believe that, with a grunt, a connected somewhere between the ear and the eyeball.
Miguel hit the ground, hard. I fell on top of him, screaming like a child waking from a nightmare. ALL I WANTED WAS A BEER!!! NONE OF THAT BULLSHIT IPA EITHER, THE LAST PLACE HAD WEE HEAVY YOU SON OF A BITCH!! I wrestled and shook him, trying to make sure that he understood my rage. I never did get that beer.
As it turns out, I was a good half block from Prodigy.
The details are still confusing to me. A transient named Lawrence later explained to me that I stumbled down the alley and became captivated by a rolled up mattress leaning against the building. According to Lawrence, I had taken particular offense to something and gave that mattress the beating of a lifetime. Prodigy is not even open yet.
Also I learned that Benchmark’s beers are as strong as they are delicious.
Next time I roll into Grantville, I am bringing backup.
There is no moral to this story. You see, sometimes a beer is just a beer.