THE BEER BEAT: Thanks to Mesa (A Collaborative Kitchen) for a great inaugural beer night.

Photo credit: Jonathan Morones.

Already there was a palpable nervousness (in me, not the paying customers) — and then Jeff Gillenwater showed up.

THE BEER BEAT: Read about my “Beer Night” at Mesa next Wednesday (August 23) with Chef Ruben Freibert’s appetizers.

I was a tad rusty, and a few synapses failed to fire, but overall last evening’s gingerly dipped toe of a first-time-in-two-years beer sampling went fairly well. Thanks to everyone who turned out; to Chef Ruben Freibert for his nibbles (and our borrowed server Brett); and to the whole crew at Mesa.

We briefly surveyed the basics of the brewing process, local brewing history and the meaning of beer styles. There were great questions, and most importantly, it seemed that the attending samplers had a good time.

As I’ve written previously, lately I’m choosing to emulate the timeless wisdom of the hedgehog as I inch down the comeback trail, confining myself to one big idea rather than an array of smaller ones.

This big idea goes something like this: “In terms of better beer, there still is a market for what I know how to do – and correspondingly, what I know how to do is undervalued in today’s beer marketplace.”

This pertains to the future pub project in development, and also to my talk last night. What I know how to do is educate and entertain in comfortable confines, and what I’ve learned not to do is try conquering the world. I’m hoping that accumulated insights will help me avoid previous missteps. Wednesday evening was important to me as an opening experiment to test the hypothesis, which goes something like this:

What we were doing at the Public House 25 years ago was a process of deep acclimatization borne of incessant education – and such efforts seem to have gone completely by the wayside. Hardly anyone has the patience for it these days, and our collective shrinkage of attention spans has led to marketing by electronic flash card. Everyone knows a little bit, but their knowledge is a mile wide and a hop pellet deep. 

I think many beer drinkers would still appreciate the facts, and this is something I can do. We’re way past the point of being able to know all of the beers. Better, perhaps, to have a more intimate and rewarding relationship with just a few of them — at a time.

I’ll probably be doing another tasting at Mesa in October, and someone from World Class Beverage will be there in September. Mesa’s a comfy spot for a beer tasting, so I’ll try to keep readers posted.

Finally, Jeff and I stopped at Match (147 E. Main) for a beer afterward. Be advised that Match is keeping the excellent Founders Porter on tap, among others. It really hit the spot on a comfortable, old-fashioned August night.