Last night our local brewery, Triangle Brewing Co., tapped a cask of their rauch beer at Tyler’s, our local multi-tap bar. A few of the local beer glitterati were there, but mostly it was just a couple All About Beer Magazine staff people and Andy from Triangle.  In other words, a great conversation opportunity.

Despite my messing with everyone, there actually weren’t any celery flavors in the beer, although it became an intriguing idea. Triangle’s rauch on cask is a very soft beer, with hints of smoke that slowly emerge with each sip. No, smack-you-in-the-face with German sausage flavor. I was alone in sensing a slight bubblegum, minty finish. It’s hard to tease out the cask effects, but I can imagine under pressure it will have a sharper feel and finish from the carbonation than the cask poured. I had no problem hanging out enjoying a few pints, except for the seemingly obligatory argument about health care reform.

I left Tylers and swung by another local watering hole, The Federal, looking for a couple of friends. The Fed has a certain quality covered in a favorite book of mine, Tender Bar, a must-read for any who love bar communities.  Of course, one of my friends was there and two others showed up in a matter of minutes. The bar side of the Fed was dominated by this group each of whom may be there four out of five nights. After about an hour, I’d gotten caught up on a few love-life changes, learned a thing or two about what I needed to do with my vegetable garden, sorted out a staff problem at the office, picked up a great tip on a music CD to buy, a concert to avoid, and had a lovely conversation about Brittany vs. Paris (places not people!).

Oh, and two Bell’s Two Hearteds.

As for my blog, I realized recently I’m facing an issue with this thing. I went to see Julie and Julia and watched a well-executed, but very painful portrait of a narcissistic blogger. The same day I received a comic strip about blogging which included the sorts of things that I’ve said in “my blog.” Also I discover a new beer blogger almost every day, including one who was quitting because he didn’t like beer having become his life. Some of my buttons are getting pushed. Add to that my daughter’s prophetic observation on learning I had both a Facebook page and a blog site: “But Da-a-a-d, you don’t know how to chat!” and you can see the challenge.

Recently I found myself sitting in front of the piano, for the millionth time, trying to figure out how to go about learning to play the damn thing. I can practice scales, triads, even read and memorize songs, but I can’t seem to get into the swing of learning and playing. Yes, I’ve tried lessons. The last teacher ended up smacking the back of my head trying to teach me back beat.

The analogy with learning beer is there. I drink it. I love it. I haven’t learned how to “do” it. Frankly, I don’t know what I’m getting at.  After six or eight months of business overload, perhaps I can get back to learning to “do” beer.