When Old Guys Go on Golf Trips
By Timothy Long
“Tonight, we’re going to party like it’s almost our bedtime.”
I do enjoy writing destination pieces. I love experiencing someone else’s culture and exploring the different beers that they enjoy. The destination does not have to be exotic. Trust me, this one isn’t. And it doesn’t have to be outside of the country either. This place may sometimes feel like it is, but it isn’t. The world of craft beer can be explored without traveling very far. So where am I writing about? Wild, wonderful West Virginia.
I received an email a couple of months ago. A gathering of a bunch of 1980s relics, such as myself, who graduated from West Virginia University was being planned. My Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers were having an alumni golf outing in Morgantown, WV, the home of WVU. A handful of guys from my era had been hosting this event for 40 years, rotating it to different locations around the country. I started playing golf, or at least started trying to play golf, about nine years ago. And this was the first time my schedule allowed me to attend. Plus, it was going to be in the town of our college shenanigans. We have a lot of history there.
I got there on Friday around 2 pm. My buddy Dave had texted me that he was already there. We met at the hotel and headed to a nearby local sports bar called Keglers. The nostalgia of being back at WVU was upon us. A sort of college fever if you will. We sit at the upstairs bar and are greeted by Lindsey, a very sweet bartender.
Dave orders a Guinness. I look at him.
“What?” He says.
“Nothing” I reply.
“I like Guinness.” He retorts.
“So do I.” I state. Dave then says that he feels like I am judging him.
I laugh. “That’s only because I am”.
“So, what are you getting, Mr. Fancy Beer Writer?” The smack talking has already started. And we don’t even tee off until the next morning. It would last throughout the weekend and is all part of being old friends.
“I’m going to find out what local beers they have.” I asked Lindsey. She tells me that she likes the Halleck Pale Ale. I ordered it.
It’s an American Pale Ale brewed in Morgantown by Chestnut Brew Works. It’s smooth with hints of citrus, typical of American Pale Ales. You get a nutty maltiness and a delightful hit of hops that’s not overly bitter. It’s a very good beer.
After a couple of beers, I figured it was time for a bourbon. I perused their selection and spotted Woodford Reserve. I ordered it on the rocks. Lindsey informs me that it is now happy hour. I ask if Woodford is on happy hour.
“It is.” She replied. “It’s $4.00.”
“$4.00?” I am in shock. “It’s only $4.00?”
“Yep.” She says with a smile.
I handed it back to her and asked her to make it a double. I then texted my wife to inform her that we are moving here. She texted back to inform me that we are not. She doesn’t care how cheap the good whiskey is.
Dave and I headed back to the hotel lobby bar for happy hour. A few of the guys are already there. The greeting is huge. Some of us had not seen each other in decades. I saw another craft beer on tap at the lobby bar, Hoos Your Daddy. This beer is brewed by Screech Owl Brewing in Bruceton Mills, WV. It’s an American Indian Pale Ale. It’s hazy in color and fruity on the nose with a bit of a lemon aroma. The first taste is a blast of hoppy lemony flavor. But it’s a good blast. The hops are present, but not overpowering. It is malty as well. It’s a well-balanced beer. Something not always found in an American IPA.
That evening we headed back to Keglers for the first official gathering of the weekend. Another huge greeting. It turns into a great night. The joy of seeing each other is palpable. A bunch of guys in their 60s acting like they’re in their 20s. It was like we were back in college again.
The next morning, we headed out to the country club. Our group is set to tee off third, which means that most of the other groups will be there to heckle us when we do. It’s like we are all back in the fraternity house again. The harassing is endless and ruthless. I decided to not let it bother me. I walk up to the tee while these men, who are supposedly my good friends, cheer and jeer. I pick a target. Line up my shot. And send the ball flying at a 90 degrees right angle and into the parking lot. It just misses Dave’s car. I turn around and bow to thunderous applause. The only way to get through the day is to own any terrible shots.
That evening, we gathered at a sports bar known as Mountain Mama’s. A few of the guys came up and asked me what I’m getting. Word has spread that I write this column. I ordered another American IPA, Bewildered Hippie from Stumpton Ales Micro Brewery in Davis, WV. I got pineapple from this one, with citrus. It’s smooth and a little piney as well. It’s delightful.
I realized that I hadn’t seen any craft lagers on tap at either bar. I asked the bartender if they had one. She says they do not and hands me the beer list. I immediately smiled. Sitting right in the middle of their craft beer list, 16 Shots In Munich, a German Pilsner. A pilsner is a lager. I decided not to broach the subject and just ordered the beer. It’s made by Weathered Ground Brewery in Cool Ridge, WV. It’s a true pilsner with a clean taste and that lightly spiced crisp bite of hops at the end. I enjoyed every drop.
One thing you realize as you get older is that the greatest measure of a friendship is time apart. If you don’t see someone for years, or even decades, and you immediately pick up right where you left off, that is true friendship. This is what all of us experienced. The golf was fun. The beer was fun. The whiskey at an amazing price was fun. But the rekindling of old friendships was the greatest experience. It was like we had all seen each other last week. When that happens, you know that you are truly amongst brothers.
About the Author: Timothy Long is an educator, writer, consultant, and experienced restaurant operator. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Instagram and Twitter: @wvutimmy. Blog: What is that fly doing in my soup? http://whatflyinmysoup.com
Tim’s Whiskey and Cigar Recommendation
Woodford Reserve Bourbon
Later Saturday evening, many of us gather in the hotel lobby bar. My buddy Jeff had brought a 1.5-liter bottle of Woodford Reserve and placed it on a table in the lounge area. I’m amazed at how many of the guys run to the bar to get glasses. It seems that Woodford has become the fraternity drink. I, of course, join them. I don’t even want to think about the rot gut alcohol that would have been on that table in our college days.
One of my favorites, Woodford Reserve is comprised of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malt and matures for six years. The nose is creamy with notes of honey and spice. It’s thick and full on the palate with notes of espresso beans and vanilla. The finish brings cereal to mind. A prefect whiskey to end a perfect weekend.
Per Domo Reserve Champagne 10th Anniversary
A great summer cigar. I like a light to medium cigar. This one is extremely light. You can hardly smell it when you first light it. This cigar starts off with a light nut flavor, Brazil nut I believe. As you get into it, it develops a light black pepper taste with hints of cinnamon and a creamy mouthfeel. White chocolate and butter are also present. A great smoke for golfing on a hot summer day.
This cigar, and many other fine cigars, are available at John Crouch Tobacconist at 215 King St. in Old Town Alexandria. Mention this article and get 10% off the purchase of this month’s recommended cigar.