Many years ago, when I saw the cast of Friends hanging out all night in some coffee shop, I thought, wow, here’s a fad that won’t last. I meant to say: Friends—an awful show—I knew coffee shops had a place in my future, in the same way that Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox probably did not. I only came to appreciate coffee, and those gathering niches that serve it, after I actually owned the laptop myself. Besides, what did we do in coffee shops before laptops? Knit?
Back in the day, the only time I entered a coffee shop was nursing a hangover. So, of course, my younger days of the barista were rather skewed, as I was typically nauseas, delirious, and often asked to leave. Not too dissimilarly to the experience when frequenting bars the night before. Heck, back then that was the usual routine to the Discord gang, when saddling up to any given establishment. I only started getting into coffee and java joints later in life. This transformation happened when my doctor said my liver was larger than some Greek Islands and that I might want to consider my own zip code for it.
On a business trip the other day, I drove about as far south as one can drive and still be in the U.S. and I ended up in a town called Bisbee—a little burg where Groom Lake (William Shatner, 2000) was filmed and the miserable flick was thankfully buried in a nearby mine shaft. There are seven bars worth entering in Bisbee. I know, because I went into all of em’. But they were mostly empty, aside from one where William Shatner was bullying tourists into booking with Price Line. I even sent Winslow an email from the Copper Queen Hotel, where I sat outside sipping a 90 Shilling IPA. I was writing that really awful faux article about the Polish plane crash. If Dante’s version of the afterlife is correct, then that politically incorrect yuck-yuck should drop me down a level or two.
My first thought upon rolling into town was, “Who the hell put Jerome, Arizona here?”
So, after my solo bar tour, I decided on a coffee crawl. You see, as you get older, the headaches and hangovers don’t wait until the next morning.
The Bisbee Coffee Company did not disappoint. A great Americano! I don’t know if it’s Seattle’s influence or what, but the coffee out west beats the shit out of the east coast equivalent. It’s strange, because in my NY family someone went to get the best bread, some else was sent to the best butcher, and someone else was sent to the best bakery…but then we drank watered down Maxwell House. Why is good coffee so hard to come by in the, otherwise, land of plenty? En route to the Bisbee Coffee Co., I was nearly run over by a biker gang. While I hit the can, the bikers beat me to the counter, where I had to watch these leathery clad gents order a round of mocha latte crappachinos. Real men drink espresso.
The barista asked, “leave room for cream?” and I immediately countered with “Whip cream is for burly biker types”
I got a rare laugh while I snuck a peak over my shoulder to make sure the bikers didn’t hear me. After all, I will die for a good joke. I think there are few things people who know me would agree upon, that’s probably one of them. Today, most people don’t get my humor. OK, never mind, it’s always been like that.
Speaking of which, I bought a nice cigar in Prescott last week. I always say last week. It was probably in the seventies. I watched the young lady behind the humidor masterfully clip off the end of my Ashton Churchill and then somehow slid that bitch right back into the thin plastic sleeve that it came in.
I said “Damn, I’ve never been able to master that maneuver.”
She called security.
Now back in the day, Drew Carey had a show…forget the name of it. Anyway, his beverage of choice was always some beer and java combo. His motto was why not mix your favorite two things, or some such. I tried that once—cost me two relationships. The mixture of coffee and stout beer is actually growing in popularity and, at the time, I thought Drew Carey was mad. Whatever happened to that guy anyway? Wasn’t he kicked off a Southwest flight recently? Anyway, about four years ago, (AKA the seventies) Otto’s Brewery in State College, PA started brewing a Sumatra stout. Certain batches were amazing—one of the best beers I’ve ever had! My wife is not much of a beer drinker. She prefers to hang out with whip cream toting Harley types. But, boy, she could suck down those coffee stouts. She could pound those puppies like Dick Cheney. Dick doesn’t like beer much either, but he loves to pound puppies.
As I sat in that Bisbee coffee shop, I wondered what would happen if you just mixed a stout with a coffee? I really do think this way. My neurologist says it’s due to head trauma and pot use, but that’s another story—a tale that ended with some chick breaking a skull bong over my head (which might explain a couple of things). I figured the best place to put this deductive gem into effect was in Prescott, as Flagstaff has a great coffee shop and a great brewery right across the street from each other. But my experiment wouldn’t work there unless I wanted to practice my alchemy while avoiding oncoming traffic. In Prescott there’s The Raven, which always has wonderful beer on tap and a great Sumatra coffee brewing (free refills). So, in that same establishment, I would discover the true art of mixing a great stout with a superb cup of joe. Fuck the brewing process. It’s overrated anyway. So, I will return to this article this Saturday at The Raven with a brew and a bold steamy cup in front of me. See you at The Raven. Never more…
Well, here I am atop one of the greatest drinking establishments this side of the Rio Grande. They recently opened up a roof top bar. Arggg! They don’t have any stouts on nitrous. Last time I was here, Max had more stouts on tap. Stupid spring. So I tried it with an imperial stout from Sierra Nevada and the Raven’s espresso. I mixed a small sample of the concoction as not to wreck the whole drink and….here we go.
Er, I think I will try this again someday when they get the Left Hand Milk Stout back—an imperial stout just won’t cut it. I need nitrous (who doesn’t, right?). All right, that was not horribly inspiring…like most of my work. Now what should I do? I think I will mix flirting with alcohol. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Probably a better mix anyhow…