My uncle Tom gave me this years ago and as with everything so far on this blog. There is a bit of a story with it.
Before I graduated from Truman College in the Spring of 1996, I came up with a grand idea to head off to Culinary school after graduation. I planned a trip to NYC to look at the culinary schools and my Uncle Tom was able to meet me up there. My Uncle John (who absolutely loves eminem) lived in Long Island at the time. So we stayed with my Uncle John and were able to take a train in to hang out in the city.
We ended up on the upper East side that night and met up with my Uncle Tom’s friend who was at one point head security for Henry Kissinger. My Uncle Tom has been a beer truck driver in Detroit City for as long as I can remember. Anyone on his route is glad as they can be to have him as a driver. He’s conscientious, quick with a hello and as seems to be a characteristic in my family he’s a hard worker. My Uncle Tom can ease into a conversation with anyone and whether you have known him your whole life or just a few minutes, he talks in a way that makes you believe you are old friends. I grew up looking up to my Uncle not just because he was taller and always craved his attention. When he was around, there always seemed to be a party going. It’s still like that today. My Uncle has been down twice already to check on the Brewery and I look forward to serving him a pint across the bar.
So back to NY, My Uncle Tom and I that night met up with his friends (and the guy that took this picture) on the upper East Side and found ourselves drinking at a bar with 100 beers on tap. This was 1996 and 100 beers on tap was a rarity at the time. I was new to the beer scene and having grown up with AB my palate was limited to say the least. Natural Light was in my budget and that’s what I drank. Sometimes I drank a lot but I never really drank for the enjoyment of tasting as I do now. But I was in NY and when I ordered from the beer list the word Guinness came out. I don’t know how it happened. Guinness was all around and everyone drinking it was someone I wanted to talk to. So I began to drink it and heard the lore of drinking in Ireland at the traditional Irish pubs. The chaps at this place were all Irish lads working in the States for a bit.
How many drinks should it take to get to the bottom of a Guinness? Truth is the fewer the better. You should be able to see your mouth imprint in the head of a well poured pint of Guinness.
When should you order your second Guinness? When you are halfway done with your first.
When should you order your third Guinness? Order as you feel the need.
There were bar rules and they had been passed on through generations and now they were being passed to me. I obliged and that first night, over the course of the evening. I downed so many dark beers that I never looked back.
It changed me forever.
I later moved to NYC. Got an apartment on the Upper West Side. By apartment I mean a large shoebox 8 ft by 12 ft. I would escape my luxurious home to a nearby Irish pub and wander through the streets at night. It was the time of my life. Searching for pubs to grab a chair at and making friends along the way.
Now because this isn’t supposed to be a book, I will skip ahead to when I landed a job. Employment affords one the opportunity to continue drinking in pubs.
I later landed a job at the World Trade center in Tower 1. I worked for Andrea Immer-Robinson who now is one of the most recognizable Master Sommeliers in the United States. I worked at the trade center from April 1997 to June 1998. Sometimes full time sometimes part-time.
I used to get to work around 8 in the morning. I knew the stairs in the Trade center like I knew the stairs in my parents house. We had a cellar on the 106th the floor and the restaurant was on the 107th floor. Throughout the night as we were manning the cellar we would take the back stairs down a flight and avoid the elevator to restock the wines.
On Sept. 11, Tower 1 was the first tower that was hit. There were three people that worked in my department that died that day and two of them had the same title I did when I worked there. Cellarmaster. My friends that worked there at the time I did, had all left but I did know a few guys that passed away and would have recognized many more.
Carlos passed away that day he was the king of the shipping and receiving area. He didn’t like everyone but he liked me. I respected him tremendously because he ran a tight ship and after I earned his respect I was able to go in and get a real honest hello out of him.
Jupiter passed away that day as well. He was an immensely kind restaurant manager and I was lucky enough to sit by him twice during two of Kevin Zraly’s wine classes. I was just a young shy kid at times trying to make my way into the wine world and Jupiter was this superbly nice chap that treated me as if I had made my way into the wine world.
So this picture hangs on the second floor deck area overlooking the brewery. It’s taken from under the Brooklyn Bridge and shows both of the Trade Center Towers but every time I look at it I see so much more.
Hello earthlings. I have been sent here to open a brewery. I hope you have time over the next year to check in from time to time and see our progress (or lack there of at times).
Morning beer delivery at Tynan’s Bridge House Bar in Kilkenny, Ireland.