Rock & Brews, OKC…

Okay, went to “The City” (Oklahoma City) for one of my Kid’s events.  It was up on the North side of the city and near where some old friends live.  Of course we let them know were in town and after the event my buddy, son, & I went to Rock & Brews out on Memorial Rd.

Franchise Location…

In their own words:

“Bring your family. Bring your friends. Bring your dog. Really!

Rock & Brews is rockin’ Oklahoma City with its quality American comfort food, local favorites and one of the area’s best selections of international and craft beers. The family-friendly restaurant’s two-story, 7,700 sq. ft., rock-inspired environment is a celebration of everything rock and roll. Guests are immersed in an atmosphere that is reminiscent of being a VIP at a great music event with an elevated truss system with concert lighting and sound, multiple screens with videos of the best concerts in music history, iconic rock art and a Great Wall of Rock that pays tribute to classic rock icons.

Located in the Quail Springs retail corridor, Rock & Brews in Oklahoma City is owned and operated by multi-unit franchise partner Kirk Williams. The restaurant features four full service bars with more than 52 beers on tap, specialty cocktails and premium wines; and, the ability to section off space for private dining and events. Both indoor and al fresco dining are available. And, with something for everyone, Rock & Brews offers a lively play area for children and the patio area is dog-friendly. Ample free parking is available.”

To me the interior is Rock & Roll Hall of Fame kitsch meets TGIFriday’s atmosphere with a bunch of beer on the menu.  Lots of rock videos, playing on lots of TV’s, and sound just about too loud, but not.

Beers…

Laminated Menu
Full Beer menu
Current/Monthly Beer Menu Printed for Current List
Paper Beer Menu

They may have 52 beers on tap, or at least a facility to have that many on tap, but they didn’t have my first 3 picks off of their menus.  UGH!!!!  We sat down and first thing we did was review main full the beer menu.  First I picked the Tallgrass‘ Buffalo Sweat, did not have it.  Next I ordered Great Divide‘ Denver Pale Ale, also on the main beer menu… DID NOT HAVE.  Ugh!!!  Then we were assured that ordering from the paper monthly menu would be the way to go.  Those were printed for what they currently had on tap.  I looked it over and ordered Black Mesa‘s ESB.  It is served in a pint.  A very dark heavy beer served in a an 8 oz glass shows up.  It is Black Mesa’s Los Naranjos (click here for review).  I did call the waitress over to return it and let her know it was not the right beer.  I took a sip anyway and liked it a lot, as I figured I would, so at this point I was thirsty and just went with it.  Something was said about the ESB actually being out of stock and the Los Naranjos was put in its place on the order menu.  Hmmm… They were both listed on the paper menu.  You can draw your own conclusions about that statement.

Unfortunately I only got pictures of 2 of the 3 Beer menus at our table.  I do question some of the classifications of the beers.  On the third menu they had Rogue’s Dead Guy, a Miabock and a beer I have reviewed, listed as Malty & Dark.  I guess it could have been listed as that, but I wouldn’t have.

I did like that they had a range of local and regional craft beers on their menus.  That was probably the biggest plus to the beer menu that I saw.  If I was a regular I would probably like that they changed the menu often or maybe as often as they ran out of a pony kegs (joke) that they were ordering.  Even as a regular I still would not like that  the menu is not updated daily or at least more frequent than it seems.  We gave them a hard time about knowing what a printer was and how that a printer may be kept in an office.  They might even have one there.  It prints out words on paper and all…

Experience…

Overall the experience ended up being good.  Once we decided to just get enough tastes of beers they did have on-site so that we could make up our mind on the next beer to order.  Yes, tastes were delivered easily and willingly to our table so we could make up our minds on the next round.  Many tastes were given and that helped to lighten the mood a lot.  On the next round I went with a Coop DNR (click here for review) and my buddy had a flight.

Kalli the waitress took a lot of grief from us for the beer menu mix ups and we just fell into a routine of giving her a hard time.  All good natured and she took it like a trooper.  Yes, we even apologized to her about doing it all in good fun.  She said she liked it and was sorry about the mix up early.

Food:  My buddy had some chicken wings off of the app menu that he liked.  My son and I split an order of fish & chips.  The fish could have been cooked a little longer to give the ample breading more crunch, fries were good, overall it was fair.

Summary

If we are up in that area it is a nice place to stop in and get a couple of brews.  It is definitely not a dive bar atmosphere with good beers that I like most.

As always… Relax, Don’t Worry, and have ABigBeer.

Don’t Save it for the Future…

I saw a post on Facebook the other day about saving a bottle of single malt scotch whiskey for a special occasion.  Thank you Malt Activist for prompting me to write this post.  The post immediately made me think of a bottle of whiskey I gave my dad when I was 19. Before I go on, let me say now, drink it for any occasion!  Tuesday is a nice day.  Now to the story.

Saving Good Times
Saving for an Occasion

The Past Adventures…

I was working in Texas as a roustabout in the oilfield for the summer and the drinking age there was 19 at the time (sorry youngsters 21 now).  I hate to say it but it was probably one of my most formative drinking summers of my life.  I learned to like BEER and unsweetened iced tea.  I already knew I liked whiskey in mixed drinks.  Didn’t realize how much I would learn to love it neat.  So it was a really good summer.  We did a lot of stupid stuff, because at that age we were invulnerable and it was legal (well most of it was).  So I figured before I left the state back for Missouri-Rolla, back to two years of not being able to drink legally, I would pick up some booze.

I got my dad a bottle of Crown Royal for his birthday.  To me that was one of the best liquors around.  I knew he drank whiskey on occasion so it seemed natural to pick up for him.  It didn’t hurt that during the summer my fellow roustabout working buddy and I spent many nights drinking .50 cent Crown & Cokes at Grahams Central Station in College Station/Bryan ($5. cover).  I don’t even believe Grahams exists there anymore.  Back in 1983 Crown was one of the best available to us.  What would I know of quality liquor anyway.  I was 19 and had never explored the vast landscape of different whiskeys or even beer for that matter.  The choices were far fewer then also.  We would have never conceived on how small the world has gotten today during that summer of sun and sweat.

My dad was not much of a drinker.  He would have the occasional beer or have a drink of Jim Beam at a Shrine/Lodge event.  He drank at social events mostly and rarely.  I knew that but liquor was still really new to me and didn’t really think it that inappropriate to give to him.  He put is up in the cabinet above the refrigerator where all the liquor goes in the house.  There it sat waiting for a special occasion to be brought out and drank.

Fast forward too many years and there it is still sitting.  My parents even built a new house and moved the bottle with them.  My brothers had married, well one of them was already married and had a kid when I gave him the bottle.  So my other brother had married (twice) and 4 more grandchildren had been born. I had graduated 3 times from Missouri-Rolla and was recently married when my dad discovered he had cancer (around my first wedding anniversary) and within 6 months he was gone from us.  It was way too soon.

A couple of months later my mom gave me back the bottle.  I didn’t even think it still was around and figured he had already drank it or at least some of it. She told me he was waiting for the right occasion to have it with me.  When she gave it to me I couldn’t think of all the great things that had happened over the 15 years since I had given it to him.  Times when we should have cracked it open and had a toast.  I could only think of the fact that he and I would never share it.

The bottle came home and went into the cabinet above the fridge, where the liquor is stored in a fine Christian home.  I figured I would wait for a special occasion, when I felt like celebrating, to crack it open, toast his memory and make new ones with my friends and family.  Not that I really liked Crown much anymore, it is okay, but it was a sentimental bottle that had a deeper meaning to me so I would wait to cherish it.

Over the next year we adopted a son, named him after his grandfathers. The light of my life.  Started a new business that was/is a grand success.  Bought a new house and still the bottle moved with us to a new house and took up residence above the fridge. Other great things occurred over time and other tragic things.  Things that should have been celebrated in their accomplishment or in their overcoming.

The bottle sat. Why? It sat in the cabinet because it was a time of non-drinking in my household.  What does that mean?  I was a very social drinker when I traveled.  I traveled probably 25-45% of the time.  I developed my taste for finer whiskeys and craft beers during these years.  I grew to really enjoy the diversity of options available as I traveled around the country.  Yet when I was home, I didn’t drink.  I just didn’t care too and my wife was not much of a drinker either.  I even stopped homebrewing during this time, this I lament.  The liquor above the fridge was trapped behind the boxes of kid cereal.  Waiting to be freed for a special occasion of friends visiting and entertaining.  Those were infrequent due to my travel schedule.  So it sat.

The Current Reality…

My wife was diagnosed with cancer in the mid 2000’s. I don’t really want to get into the ups and downs of that but to say that many a trip and battle with insurance companies and treatments and surgeries and so on later she passed in 2010.  Yep a real low point in life.  I struggled to maintain who I was but have now went on to discover WHO I AM and get back to some of my individuality.  Still I am and always will be heavily influenced by her and our time together, but there were things that I missed and discovered again.  Not whiskey or beer  because I had drunk a fair amount of those during my travels.

After a while, and cleaning out the different pockets of life around the house that hadn’t been touched for years, I discovered the hidden cache above the fridge.  I took it out and placed it in a more accessible cabinet.  Still the bottle sat.  I would see it and think about drinking it.  It just did not feel right to drink without their being some sort of occasion.  What could be grand enough now to open this bottle that had been around since I was 19.  A returned gift and stored for so long.  It was then that I realized that everyday is an occasion.

The Results…

Two years ago I finally cracked the bottle open.  The bottle that had sat in a cabinet for 31 years. I had looked at it too long.  I realizing that with all the great things that had happened to me with my dad over the years, and the things that had happened to us after he was gone, and with my wife now being gone, that the bottle was a wish unfulfilled.  It would never be realized as long as I was wanting a “Special Enough” occasion.  So two years ago I attend a BBQ Grilling competition with some friends who were competing and took the bottle with me for the two-day event.  It was a celebration, socializing with friends that I had made in my new existence, enjoying the day, eating good food.  It was a great time to celebrate life and living with friends.  We didn’t do that great in the BBQ competition, but they are back again this weekend celebrating life and living.

Just so you know I did take a little time by myself to crack open the bottle.  Poured myself three shots to commemorate the occasion.  One to remember my dad, one for my wife, and one for my future.  I then took the bottle back to the BBQ gang and enjoyed the rest of the night (drinking my Balvenie Doublewood neat).

Don't Wait, Do it
Don’t wait for something better if you can do better today.

Call to Action…

There are highlights in your life that need celebrating in special ways.  Occasions that should be marked with a special treat.  Be ready to highlight those with what is special to you.  The Laphroig above is a fabulous choice.  Just don’t forget to enjoy the everyday.  The everyday is special and celebrate it for its success and its tribulations.  There are so many things in our lives to celebrate and you should do so.

Enjoy it when you can.  No telling when you will be able too, and saving something for a special “enough” occasion just may not come.  Every day you have on this planet is special.  Embrace your day.  Sit Back, Relax and have ABigBeer or fine Single Malt Scotch.


 

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