Beer Is Not the Only Craft at the Civil Life …
In this plastic world, your traditional friends at the Civil Life like to celebrate wood. From the beginning, customers have reacted very positively to our cozy wooden respite from the trials and tribulations of the modern world. From our beautiful ash bar and back shelving to the old school wainscoting and hand-made wood tables and snugs, the warmth of wood makes every pub-goer feel instantly at home.
Some time ago, one of our regulars surprised us with a gift. Steve Reynolds has been working with wood for decades: “while I was a computer professional I have been making sawdust for 40 years.” He can’t help turning a humble block of wood into an object of beauty … and utility. The first tap handle Steve made for us was turned from a piece of beautiful cocobolo, a Central American hardwood.
That first tap handle sits on the faucet dispensing the Angel and the Sword, Steve’s favorite beer at the Civil Life. As time permitted, Steve fashioned more tap handles from a variety of woods he had around the shop. “Naturally if the woods were different I also used a variety of shapes and dyes,” Steve explains. There was never any official agreement that Steve would make all of our tap handles, but as time permitted, he would work on a couple of new handles and drop them off.
We were all excited as the set grew toward completion, with a quirky variety of shapes and finishes. They have become a real conversation starter. Once, a set of twelve uniform plastic handles peeked above the traditional ash coffin box (very much like the ones you see in Irish pubs) where we dispense twelve delicious Civil Brews. Now we have twelve unique handles, all a testament to the skill and vision of Steve Reynolds.
About seven years ago, Steve “got into woodturning in a big way.” Curmudgeon Woodwerks is the name of his shop. He grew up seeing his father working on projects around the house, so woodworking never seemed like some mystical practice, but a real craft. He eventually took to making furniture and other objects, knowing he wouldn’t get exactly what he wanted if he didn’t. That’s very much the philosophy of the Civil Life itself. Well-crafted, flavorful, traditional session beers were hard to come by, so the founders of the Civil Life decided to make these beers themselves.
Next time you stop in for a beer, check out our unique tap handles (pub only, our market tap handles are crafted by another St. Louis woodworker ~ Marvin at Burkarts.) While you enjoy your pint, you’ll probably have a conversation with one of our many regulars who, like Steve, enjoys doing things the right way instead of the easy way. That, friends, is the Civil Life.
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.