Something that has been going round my head a lot of late is the question of whether or not I am a genuine beer geek, a term I have come to loathe, or am I in fact a pub snob? I am fairly sure that the two are opposite faces of the coin when it comes to the beery world, and perhaps this is heresy but I don't particularly enjoy drinking in the comfort of my own home, without mates to chat with (real, live mates that is, rather than my online buds - as great as they are), barmaids to flirt with and the general buzz and hubbub of a good pub.
Due to various, utterly boring and not worth repeating here, reasons, I have not really discovered much about pub life in Charlottesville, but whenever I come down to Columbia, there is one place that I simply must, absolutely have to, go to - Flying Saucer. I have waxed lyrical about Flying Saucer several times before, but last night it simply went up yet another notch in my estimation. Did they have new beers? Well yes in fact they did, they had my current favourite pale ale, Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Were the staff superb? Yes, our beer goddess last night, Caycee, was magnificent, when I eventually get my own pub, then staff like her are exactly what I would be looking for, her and the world's best barmaid as far as I am concerned, Klara from PK. Are these the things that heightened my appreciation for Flying Saucer? Not in the slightest.
When sitting in PK with Evan, he once told me that to really understand a beer you need to drink it least 4 times. Pubs are the same, you have to go several times to really judge whether this is a pub you would go to regularly. Simply put, the consistency of excellence I have experienced at Flying Saucer in Columbia makes it my favourite pub in the city, and makes me wish we had one in Charlottesville.
I don't know if the beer tastes better in the pub, I don't want to get into the whole draught vs bottle debate, but the beer is so much better when it is with good friends in a good environment. God help us if beer ever becomes an aspirational, niche product that you sit, sip and contemplate like some pretentious wine buff. With places like Flying Saucer in the world, that dark day is kept at bay.