Very little prodding was required on the part of my editors this week. As soon as they said “American Craft Beer…” my suddenly-empty desk chair was rotating fast enough to start a car battery. A quick mental rundown of the haints I’ve haunted in this town soon revealed a gaping hole in the shape of The Terminal Brewhouse on the south-by-sketch-west end of Market Street. It’s been open a while, but, hey, I’m a busy guy what with my carousing and court appearances.
I was given to understand that The Term’ (as I may or may not decide to call it for the duration of this article) thrust itself onto the public stage reciting odes to a shared love object. According to the small press blitz afforded by the spate of alternative weeklies [guiltily raises hand] the good fellows who sanded and polished and hammered a condemned building into nouveau urban glory did so to erect a cathedral for the worship of the holy spirit – beer.
I was particularly intrigued when reading the articles that the proprietors went out of their way to say that, while they didn’t not care about food, the new clothes and first crack at the pot roast and eternal shotgun privileges were going to the fun older brother. In fact, the menu was only birthed to give the beer a little brother to push around; the offerings aren’t especially broad, but they’re well thought out and designed specifically to pair with certain brews. I couldn’t wait to go.
I waited to go. Again, not my fault. Your first time together should be magical, and I didn’t want to do it after staggering through the door drunk and doing a quick in-and-out that I wouldn’t remember the next day. Well, I was informed by the whipmasters in the content mine that it is “American Craft Beer Week”. And such an auspice is no longer an excuse, but a reason.
The Terminal is doing their part to celebrate this most nominal of festivals by offering a special each day pairing one of their original creations with a food meant to complement its subtleties. I came through the door on Tuesday – Cherry Poppin’ Stout and Shepherd’s Pie day – armed well. I have an extensive knowledge of beer. I also have an extensive knowledge of the history of beer. I also have an extensive history with beer, as the police blotter is sure to attest. For the sake of both my readers, I was prepared to taste heartily, judge mercilessly, and grill the bartender like he walked away from a bag at the airport.
It appears that I’m not necessary.
The menu gives a funny description for each of The Terminal’s offerings to invite you to taste it. But they also give the specs for the beer geeks who know how to convert SRM to EBC and build their own EPR spectrometers. There’s IBU’s, specific gravities...for God’s sake – for God’s sake – they put the recipe right on the menu. Malt, hop variety, everything. I…I…I’m in love. This time it’s real.
I’ve got one last sip of the celebratory brew, so let me get to reviewing before I kill it and move on to the next. By the way, I was going to show how smart I am and put my best estimation of the ASBC stats and ingredients; but the encyclopedic menu has rendered all of that redundant.
Sine this is running long, I'm going to encapsulate all of my reviews of the individual beers into the next article.
- About two years ago I came up with the idea of a two-stage flush toilet for your respective pees and poops. Apparently someone is already rich off my idea, because The Terminal has one. And a cool sink.
- Why is the Southside so sparsely populated? There are a lot of empty storefronts, sure, but there are also a lot of restaurants and a few boutique shops. Not to mention its inclusion of Main Street, which Bob Corker tells me I shouldn’t be afraid of anymore.
- The Terminal has some kind of outdoor Green Hippie Enviro Dining Plaza. I don’t care.
- Given how much business this place gets, the bar area should be a hell of a lot bigger. I couldn’t even sit at the bar when I came in. Well, I mean, technically I could, but I would have had to sit next to someone, which seems to be the universal signal for wanting to chat. Yerk.
- The bread here isn’t special, strictly speaking, but it’s kind of awesome. I think they honey it up as it bakes or something.
- A return trip to the bathroom revealed a waterless hippie urinal that had an amusing plaque with instructions. Between the signs and the menus and the website, this place tries a little too hard to be funny - but they succeed often enough for me not to complain.
- It’s a good thing that the waiter isn’t leaving the glasses to collect on my table or I’d look like a drunk.
- I still have one last beer to try for the article, but the waiters have started diverting around me. Apparently, I look like I’ve had enough. FOR SCIENCE!
- I can’t wait for William Shatner’s turn as the father in the Twitter-feed-turned-sitcom S*** My Dad Says. Not related to the topic? Get your own damned column.
The Terminal Brewhouse, No. 6 14th Street, Chattanooga TN 37408, (423) 752-8090.