by REGINA HEFFINGTON
As I walked down the sidewalk toward this new establishment, I noticed a couple of musical performers in the Balis Park gazebo, entertaining a small group of people. Later, I saw those talented individuals I refer to as “Pyrogyra” – performers specializing in fire. Very entertaining to watch!
Entering Grape & Grain Exchange, there was a healthy crowd enjoying what the wine, liquor & beer establishment has to offer. Near the back of the room was the cooler section filled with beer, so I headed there directly, but slowly, as I was so full from my Maple Street Biscuit Company dinner.
As we stood next to a great selection of craft beer at very reasonable prices, manager Ford came up to us, introduced himself and explained that we could select anything from the cooler, and they would provide a glass for you from which to drink. Of course, you can take your selections home without opening them, too. There is no extra fee for opening your beer selections and accepting a glass. There is a corkage/bottling fee assessed for the wine and liquor, however. While there, some friends arrived and we shared and enjoyed: Birra Kuasapa – $3.50
Kuasapa is an Italian beer, inspired by the American Pale Ale, where American hops meet European ones, creating a very intriguing aroma. Strong and decisive, the Kuasapa lends itself to combinations
with extremes like blue cheese or raw fish.
Great Divide Brewing Company Claymore Sc otch Ale – $2.09
Named for a medieval Scottish sword, Claymore Scotch Ale is a tribute to the legendary “Wee Heavy” beers of Scotland. This malty, deep-ruby beauty features lots of caramel sweetness, a reserved
hop profile, and a subtle warming character. Unlike its namesake, this beer only requires one hand, but it’ll still make you feel like nobility. – Note: 7.7% ABV
Pair it with pot roast and roasted vegetables, seared lamb shank with white beans or bread pudding.
Parting the crowd like Moses does water, my friends Maria and Heidi made their appearance at the Grape & Grain Exchange. Maria had been wanting me to try the place, and she was so right about how unique and interesting it is. She introduced me to two of the owners, Bob Smith and Jackson Somphonphakdy (the third owner, Anthony Norton, was not there that evening).
Mike was kind enough to show me the portion of Grape & Grain Exchange which will be referred to as “The Speakeasy.” This snazzy lounge will be open to the public, and memberships will be available
providing preferred seating and discounts in both “The Speakeasy” and in the store/bar up front.
Other friends arrived and they decided to share:
Meantime Brewing Company Old Smoked Bock – $ 11.35
Made for the Michael Jackson Rare Beer Club with Munich and smoked malts and with Perle and Spalter hops. The color is a deep, clear amber with a medium high carbonation. Note: 6.5% ABV
Stone Brewing Company Smoked Porter – $4
So you think you don’t like dark beer? Prepare to believe. This is no ordinary porter. And if you are already among the enlightened who appreciate a fine, ebony-hued ale, we think you will find Stone Smoked Porter to be a poignant addition to your repertoire. This beer pours a gorgeous, deep mahogany crowned by a creamy head. Dark, smooth and complex, with rich chocolate and coffee flavors balanced by a subtle smokiness, this brew is equally delicious with meats or fine chocolates. Note: 5.9% ABV & 53 IBUs
I took a small sample of each – the Meantime Old Smoked Bock was excellent, and being able to get a bomber of the delicious Stone Smoked Porter for $4? Outstanding! (Did I mention I was still full from the Maple Street Biscuit Company?)
My thanks to Bob, Jackson and Ford for being such gracious
hosts and for establishing a fun and exciting new venue within the historic San Marco community. The Grape & Grain Exchange is located
at 2000 San Marco Boulevard. Call them at 396-4455 or go to www.grapeandgrainexchange.com.
For more information of the tasty brews we sampled:
Great Divide Brewing Company www.facebook.com/greatdividebrew
Meantime Brewing Company www.meantimebrewing.com
Stone Brewing Company www.stonebrew.com
sunday bloody sundays
GGX recently boasted on Facebook “You’ve asked and we’ve
listened. GGX will now be open on Sundays from 10am-8pm.
Stop by for a little hair of the dog like a mimosa or bloody
Grape & Grain Exchange
by REGINA HEFFINGTON