Sunday, March 04, 2007

I'm an Ernie's Kid

So we came back today from Columbia, kinda like Clark and Lewis (there is a great Far Side with Clark's mother nagging him about how Lewis will always be first). We started our day on recommendation of the Red Roof Inn desk attendant at Ernie's Cafe and Steakhouse. They were great. Apparently, all of downtown Columbia (pop. 140,000ish) has wireless Internet. The food was better than Waffle House, and the atmosphere was great. A particularly nice touch was a Black transvestite as a server. The two tells for me were the man hands and the fact that she was done up in makeup at 10 on a Sunday morning.

We made fine time on the Interstate with nothing of note occurring, thankfully. One thing that has bothered me since first driving with Wendy in Missouri four years ago for a Central States camp meeting is Missouri's road naming system. They have plenty of state highways that use numbers, but then there is also a naming system that uses single letters and double letters. Where my issue arises is with the seeming disorder of the lettering process. I see exits off the Interstate that have both H and Z as options, or E and U (Wendy was a trusty surveillance co-pilot and took pictures of a bunch of these for me) which is farther apart than U and I alphabet-wise (also Wendy's joke).

The third phase of our day was dinner at Upstream Brewing Company in Omaha. I had a really good hamburger made of choice ground chuck and samples of six of their beers (seven if you include Wendy's). I first asked for the Sampler before I found out it was eleven four ounce samples. 44 oz. daunted me, so I cut back. I had the O! Gold Light, Gold Coast Blonde, American Wheat, Capitol Premium Pale Ale, Dundee 90 Shilling Scotch Ale, and the Blackstone Stout. I also quaffed some of Wendy's Honey Raspberry Ale. I had their Caramel Bread Pudding for dessert, not as good as my bread pudding (or Famous Dave's)--plus I got an edge piece with a tough sticky outer part, no good.

The Light was fine; the Blonde solid; Wheat wasn't as good as others I've had; Pale Ale could make me a believer in hops (maybe even instill hop in me). I was pleasantly surprised by the existence of such a complex brew as the Dundee at a local brewery like this. It wasn't McEwan's, but they don't have anything to be ashamed of--easily in my top two from Upstream. Their stout wasn't as good as either of Flat Branch's but was a strong representative of its variety nonetheless. I've had the Honey Raspberry before at the tasting fests, and it was even better at the source. So it is my queen to King Dundee. Upstream's seasonal beer was a Red Wheat Ale made with red wheat and spiced with some cardamom, but unfortunately for my cardamom leanings, they were out of it.

The Brown Ale I had at Flat Branch was lacking in lots of areas for me. It had a poor aftertaste, unexceptional mouthfeel--not smooth like a stout or Scotch ale, and there is always this talk of a nut brown color, so that puts the expectation of a nutty flavor in my head. I've always liked Sam Adams' Brown Ale. Now when you talk about black ales New Belgium's 1554 is super duper.

As for the amount of beer actually consumed in the previous pictures, today's tasting was four oz. glasses, so comparatively I'd say there was about five to six oz. in each glass [Editor's Note: further investigation on Flat Branch's site advertises a 5 oz. sampler; I'm guessing this is what I got.] , and I maybe had only two oz. of the green chili beer, plus I shared to educate Wendy, so I probably had about 26 oz., just over the 20 oz. a full imperial pint would give you. Plus I had a bunch of bread and pizza and a homemade ginger ale, so I helped distribute the burden on my liver a bit.

That's all folks.

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