Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA and The Double Pour at Sam's
The beer selection over at Sam’s is only about eight bottles total. Nothing on draft.
But I had to take Fredo over there for a couple of Otter Creek Alpine Black IPAs.
A Black IPA — for the uninitiated — has some great qualities of a porter (i.e. rich malts with deeply satisfying notes of chocolate or coffee) with a thinner consistency found in an ale. Otter Creek, a Vermont-based brewery, has a smooth and lean take on this fairly new style of beer.
Rob Widmer told me a few months ago that Black IPA is like the shiny new toy of the craft beer industry. His Pitch Black IPA is pretty great. You can find a glass of that over at Jacob Wirth — where we had lunch with Widmer back in June.It’s significant to me that such an upscale place like Sam’s, which sports a 180-degree view of Boston Harbor, has that Black IPA on its menu.
It tells me that someone is paying attention. It suggests that the fans of craft beer are finally getting some respect in the Hub. That’s not true everywhere in town. But I digress.
What can I say about Sam’s?
Step into their second-floor walk up, and the chalk boards will guide you down a hall to the restaurant. They reach to the ceiling and stretch the length of the halls. The seating is a mix of chairs and furniture with the harbor framing nearly every window in the place. There’s a flat-screen TV that usually shows the Red Sox when they’re on, but the volume is kept at a reasonable level so that it doesn’t kill music or fine dining vibe.
On my second visit there, there was no room to sit at their steel-framed bar. Couples, girlfriends and dudes watching the Sox game had the place completely booked. So, we grabbed a couple of seats along a nearby counter. Three people working behind the bar. Anyone paying attention? Anyone?
This bespectacled dude named Daniel spotted us while he was dealing with some other order behind the counter. He came over, took our beer order, then did something very surprising.
He grabbed the bottom of a couple of Collins glasses with one hand and poured both beers at the same time with the other. He filled the two glasses with a small head of beer simultaneously and left the remainder in the bottle.
“Hey Fredo, did you just see that?” I asked.
This Daniel guy did the double pour not once, but twice, making it seem like it was as easy as using a bottle opener. Fredo and I eventually found some space at the bar and ordered a couple of burgers. Here’s the beauty of Sam’s: It has an understated class all its own. It’s secure enough to sustain both a fine dining atmosphere yet not turn its nose up at a couple of guys wanting some craft beer and burgers.
When I asked another bartender about Mr. Dual Pour, she told me, “That guy? He’s not a bartender.”
Maybe not. He definitely knows how to be one. The bartender I talked to said that she had no idea about young Daniel’s skills, but now it’s on record. Believe it.
The Beer Drinker is a writer and creator of the Beer Drinking Report. He likes fine dining, the Red Sox and long walks on the beach.