Stanley Steemer+Marty's Beer Musings
by Marty Nopper, Tastemaker in Residence
Seeing your children grow up is really a remarkable thing. Not that it doesn’t happen naturally, but there are a lot of years spent watching them develop into Minnie Me’s. The whole birthing thing notwithstanding, changing diapers filled with things you know they didn’t eat, 3 am feedings and stubbing that pinky toe on the bed frame trying to do 5 things at once are all part of our fondest memories. Then, we get to do the homework I could never figure out (Dad, how do I do a quadratic equation?), be a chauffeur for the Friday Night Pizza Party and spend all day Saturday at the soccer field where my daughters cared more about the halftime snack and whether they could find a 4 leafed clover instead of scoring the Old Man a goal (can you just kick the ball once, Honey?). Then we graduate to more hostile environments of make-up, wearing the latest $100 jeans and, yes, dating. Ahh yesss…good times.
We are all blessed with things in our lives that we take for granted every day. Family is certainly on that list. Many of us have significant others, including parents, spouses, children, nieces and nephews and we tend to get a little too comfortable at times and forget to really appreciate what is important all around us. Recently, both of you know that my beautiful wife and I became Gigi and Papa for the first time! Man, what a kick in the satchel but it’s about time, Jess! My daughter and her husband Robby (with a y) gave birth to an extremely handsome baby boy, Everett James, on June 11, and he is perfect! Seriously perfect. I know everyone claims that their child or grandkid could substitute as the next Gerber baby stand-in but this is no joke. Check out his mugshot. Penney’s has already called. We couldn’t be happier and more excited to spend half of our retirement on this kid (Jennifer started while in utero)! We look forward to bringing him along to ventures like sports arenas, music events and breweries! We are truly blessed!
Soaring through the clouds on a return trip to the Bluff City recently, I started to plan my evening. I travel for my job and I enjoy the ability to seek out local establishments as I make my way across the country to form working relationships with new business. Popping into Meddlesome Brewing, a very micro in Cordova, a Memphis suburb, was tonight’s destination. Not expecting much, I was surprised by the crowd on a Wednesday night (50 peeps?) so I felt a little more at ease that the jig juice may actually be palatable. My Lyft ride over here almost made me want to turn around, though. Not sure what it is about Lyft drivers but, somehow, I always seem to get the Chatty Cathy’s EVERYTIME I call. Not sure why... Morgan? I’m sure she has an opinion. Anyway, Meddlesome’s menu of Malts is unfortunately limited to 8 offerings of Oasis fluid, including a Cream Ale and a Cider (now we’re down to 6). I know, I’m picky. You write the article.
Remembering that I picked this brewery as it was closest to my hotel (most breweries in MEM are in Midtown, 25-40 minutes away), I had to make do. First out of the gate was the 201 Hoplar, their version of a Westie IPA, made the cut because they use buzzwords (ha) that I zone in on, like Columbus Hops (residence of THE Ohio State football team), pineapple, grapefruit and pine. Claiming this “is everything Memphis is! Strong, Flavorful and an unforgettable experience. Chocked full of chinook and Columbus hops this beer is oozing with resin, pine, grapefruit and ripe pineapple”. I have to say, it’s pretty tasty (the first one always is) but had to wait a little while for it (No, I was not wearing a bare midriff…). Definitely a westie and the description serve’s it justice. At 6.8% ABV, it’s got a little poke and definitely has the back of the mouth Munich hop influence for a malty finish.
But you can’t stop there! One is for quitters! The next barley bomb was selected for the moniker. Steamy Mugger Fugger. For real. That’s the name. Most patrons came up and ordered with the best, clearest English I have ever heard and I snickered every time so I decided to try it. My English is decent and it was still early. A California Common, it was described to me as a ‘light malt pale ale’. Nice creamy head, dark gold coloring and a respectable 6.5% although according to Untapped, it’s a 5.5% (I usually do 75% of my research while drinking, so…). A lobe left cross. Sporting a low IBU, this ale is a tad malty but is very drinkable, reminding me of a Vienna Lager. Of course, I’ve had a few so it could be a Heineken for all I know. Because this blog is a couple of months out, Meddlesome no longer makes this cowboy coke so just take my word for it.
Finally, I get to my last beer. Jennifer says I can only have 3 (and my editor has mentioned that my blogs seem to get a little nonsensical past that point), so I select a Jerry “The King” Lager, a 6% Pale gut warmer. When first poured, I swear it was a citrus beverage so I had to ask the tender if that was true. After spending some time with the very large man in security, I was able to talk my way out of an early exit and finish my libation. It’s clean, possesses a light foamy head, offers an intense tropical fruit aroma and at only 6%, is a really nice change from the two sac smashers I enjoyed earlier. At only 35 IBUs, it was the best neck oil of the night. Sidebar 1: Wiki Wiki Wiki says, ‘Jerry O'Neil Lawler (born November 29, 1949), better known as Jerry "The King" Lawler, is an American professional wrestler and color commentator signed to WWE as a commentator for Monday Night Raw. Prior to joining WWE in 1992 (then known as the World Wrestling Federation), he wrestled in numerous territories, winning numerous championships, including many world championships, throughout his career. Lawler is a one-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion and a three-time WCWA World Heavyweight Champion. Lawler has held more recognized championships than any professional wrestler in history, though he has never won any championships in WWE having wrestled sporadically whilst primarily providing color commentary, since joining the company. In 2007, Lawler was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He does not drink.
Ok…now for the fun part. Several of you realize that when I travel, there is always some excitement. Not sure why, but there is. On my travel home, I was having some issues with my connecting flight. Well, we landed late in CLT and didn’t catch my connector to ORF (even though I got there at 5 minutes before take-off and the jerk ‘flight attendant’ saw 6 of us there and a somewhat empty plane due to weather issues on most of east coast). After spending 60 minutes in the USAir Customer Service line (this is Friday night, folks), I found out I wouldn’t be arriving home til tomorrow. Coincidentally, full circle, this was the first night Gigi and I were to watch my new grandbaby…anyway, I decided to get a bite to eat and find a hotel close by. Well, I’m sitting at the First Flight Sushi Bar in the main terminal talking to some people about my dilemma, and the bar tender overhears us and says that they have a hotel on site, 50 feet away! What? Am I that lit? I’ve never seen anything like that in an airport nor seen it right there! It’s called Minute Suites. Why have I not heard of this? Situated in various large metro airports like ATL (2), BWI, CLT (2), DFW (2) and PHI, this chain, known as ‘The Travelers Retreat’, is really compatible for the weary airport traveler wanting to escape the noise and commotion of an airport and has a need for a several hour shutdown. In my case, I couldn’t get in until 10pm and had a flight out at 9am the next morning. I was offered a 8 hour stay (around $200) and a 1 hour ‘credit’. Measuring approximately 50 square feet, the room was sparse but very clean, with a day bed, fridge (mini bar (no alcohol) with water, fruit drinks, Monster Energy and snacks), and tv. Although I had to go down a hall to use the facilities, it was pretty secluded at that hour. This particular ‘hotel’ had 6 rooms with locally influenced names like, “First Flight’, “Panther”, ‘Uptown’, ‘Carolina’, ‘Speedway’, ‘Queen City’ and the facilities named ‘The Four Knights”.
Ok, so, I’m just about tucked in and it’s probably 11:30pm. I had a couple of pints waiting for the room to be ready and finish my Spicy Octopus Roll and had to prepare for the evenings rest. I had noticed during my earlier travel through Terminal C that there must have been a Boy Scout convention as they littered the airport. No worries, I thought, as they are probably convening to see how to make the organization more politically correct as more young ladies elect to join that fraternity instead of the female empowered Girl Scouts. Anyway, time to hit the hay. I grab my toothpaste and toothbrush and headed to The Four Knights. Finding the door locked, I asked my concierge if it was occupied and she said there was a young man in there and he should be out soon. “No worries”, I said, and waited my turn. A young Weeblo soon exited and even held the door for me. ‘What a nice young man and a good prospect for our future‘, I thought. Until I entered the room. Holy crap! I didn’t know you could be 14 and work for Stanley Steemer! After my mouth unwittingly took in pieces of his small intestine and I made an appointment to have my eyes lasered, I finally recovered enough to brush my teeth and find the courage to make it back to my closet. Should be Lost Knights as I woke up and found myself on the floor from my last visit to Weeblo World.
I’m sure this place won’t be for everybody but there are some things you really have to consider. Rough security again…done. Don’t have the UBER app to get to hotel tonight and rise at 0600 to catch a 9am flight? Forget it! Set your alarm so you don’t oversleep, ding ding…I think you get the point. Worth it alone for the convenience. Just like a 7-11. Speaking of, they sell beer, right? One more of these would be superb…