THE SESSION #113— BEER BLOGGING FRIDAY
The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry.
The beer theme for July 2016 was Mass Observation: The Pub and The People, hosted by Boak and Bailey's Beer Blog. They write under the names Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey from Cornwall in the UK. They've been blogging about beer since 2007.
The writing challenge goes like this, "What we want people to do for The Session is to recreate this exercise in 2016: take a notebook to a pub or bar — any one you fancy — and write a note of what you observe."
On June 8, 2016, I ventured into one of my favorite local pubs for a couple of pints, a quick bite of food, and to observe the local quaffers. Lures Bar & Grille is located in Crownsville, MD just outside the state's capital of Annapolis. Lures is of special interest to me because of the eclectic beer selections that rotate on a regular basis. They have a beer club that for just $30 a year, you get a free beer and $20 off a meal, plus a nice t-shirt or hat. So, needless to say, I'm a semi-regular patron.
So, on that fine June afternoon, here are notes on my pub observations.
- How many people are drinking? 13 more or less, some would come and some go. It was early in the evening, before the main dinner crowd would begin to populate the place. The not-so-interesting thing you would need to know about Lures is the parking issue. And it is an issue. You may get a table but you may not be able to park as the parking is very limited. I planned to meet my wife there for dinner one evening and while I was able to park, she arrived about 30 minutes later and was not. So after I finished my pint, we went off to dinner elsewhere. When I arrived this day, there were no parking issues. By the time I left on that June day, there was a line of 5-7 cars waiting to get parking.
- Which beers are on tap, and which are people actually drinking? You can fine a beer for most tastes on tap, fine local craft beers or a great imported Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel or Belgian triple. Mostly pints of draft beer were sitting in front of patrons that day. One person had a paddle, flight or sampling (whatever it may be called where you are). For me, I had both.
- What are they eating? I was on the pub side (they also have an indoor dining area and an outdoor beer garden) so not a lot of food. Fried mushrooms, seared tuna, fried mozzarella and otherwise good pub food.
- How are they passing the time? As you might expect in this day and age, many of those sitting alone were on their phones. There were some couple talking and laughing. It didn't seem any were intentionally watching the TVs.
- What are the topics of conversation? I struck up a conversation with the guy next to me about what he was drinking (he had a paddle). The talk moved to good local bottle shops and some specials they were offering.
- How is the pub decorated? Lures has minimal decore on the walls—there are some fish-themed carvings on the wall. There are loads of beer signs in the bathrooms, however. The bar is an interesting array of painted concrete and patterns. Certainly not your typical dark oak English bar and is particularly well lighted.
- How many TVs are there and what are they showing? Two, sports were on but without the sound turned up, thankfully. I've read some recent interviews where there is a backlash against bars with multiple TVs blasting in the background, that that cacophony of noise is distracting good conversation among patrons. I certainly agree.
- Are there pot plants, parrots, spittoons? None of these. I know they do grow hops in the beer garden.
- How many smokers are there? And vapers? None, smoking in bars is not allowed by State law. Maryland banned smoking in all indoor work places in 1995. The only exception to this was bars and restaurants. However, in February 2008, the law went into effect that extended this smoking ban to those venues as well.
- Is there a dartboard, pool table or quiz machine, and are they in use? None
- Founders Brewing from Grand Rapids, Michigan has finally come to our state of Maryland. Well, to some of the state. Not where I live but to where I often drink beer. I guess that works out okay — temporarily. I've discovered these beers during my travels to the mid-west and even some neighboring states. And Lures has had some on draft, so I asked the barkeeper if customers have been excited about the Founders' beer. Has it been a learning process or if they knew the beers? He said without hesitation, that people knew the beers, were waiting for them and have been enjoying them.
- The average age was about 40 that day, with some over and some younger. Patrons were equally mixed between men and women.
- Lures use to be known (not that I noticed) for its overtly buxom waitresses but in recent months they seem to have moved away from the Hooter's business model. You can draw your own conclusions as to whether that is good or bad.