Sometimes, not often admittedly, I am overcome by a deep and troublesome dread. Such existential angst comes not from wondering what God would be like, should he exist; it comes not from the thought of the next President of the USA being someone of the ilk of Sarah Palin (though it comes close); it comes not from being convinced that humanity's arrogance and stupidity could overcome our survival instinct and blast us into the ether. No, the cold sweat of dread that afflicts me is this, that the pub could one day die out, replaced by the spotty beer geek existing purely to write waffly reviews on BeerAdvocate or Ratebeer.
I am sure that the majority of my readers agree with me, but if you are a beer lover, then you also love going to the pub, the pub of course being the natural place to enjoy beer in its proper realm, as in with friends. Pubs then are very important institutions in the lives of the beer lover, indeed in my experience there are few more important places to find than a good pub. Of course there are the meta-questions as to what makes a good pub, you know the usual suspects, well kept beer (cask if possible), comfortable surroundings, knowledgeable staff and not being home to parents are their screaming offspring.
I have said it many times before, and I will say many times again, the staff are the key to a good pub. Having a barman, (or barmaid, yes thanks Reg) who knows his beers and understands his customers is priceless. Of the various pubs I go to on a semi-regular basis, the Flying Saucer in Columbia, SC really stands out for the consistent quality of service, and yes I am aware that I have made these statements previously on here. This weekend Mrs Velkyal and I went to South Carolina to introduce my parents, who leave in a few hours, the delights of Charleston and Columbia. Also the fact that Mrs Velkyal and my mother were going to a party for a friend of ours who is getting married the weekend after next. While the ladies were away swigging wine by Lake Murray, I headed off to the Flying Saucer with my dad and father-in-law.
I love going to the Flying Saucer in Columbia, everything about it is simply perfect and if we lived in Columbia it would be my new PK, and not just because they have Budvar on tap. Without fail the staff there have been superb in my experience, and not in that grovelling, only here for the tip way that infuriates me at times - they genuinely seem to care about their work and understand their beer. While we were there we had a little snack, a bratwurst in a bun with chips, nothing spectacular there at all you would think, but look at the menu and you'll see that it comes with various odds and sods chucked on it. Having spent a great deal of time living in Germany, all my dad wanted was the bratwurst, the bun and a side of chips (sorry guys I can't get my head round "fries"), and that is exactly what he got, and it was a damned good bratwurst, a proper bratwurst, like those from Thuringia, and if that means nothing to you, then you need to find out!
The upshot of all this waffling is that I would like to declare today the first Fuggled Barstaff Appreciation Day, a biannual day to celebrate those people who make going to the pub such a pleasure. So Shana from the Flying Saucer in Columbia, this day is for you! To the gents and ladies reading this, which of your barstaff deserve a shout out in the comment section today? Do tell!!