Bottle Shop

At long last.  Something great has happened up near Seaboard, just off of Peace Street.  I’m not talking about the opening of the new AIA building, although that’s pretty cool, too.  One of the (few) benefits of being an Intern Starchitect is that I got to go to the opening reception, look architectural, talk about architectural things, and take a rainy picture of Raleigh from the top floor. It’s a great spot, all angled roof and floor-to-ceiling windows.

That was a good time.  But the best part of the evening was going to the new bottle shop next to Tyler’s Taproom at Seaboard, which just opened this week.  It’s been a long time coming.

I may have mentioned that I’m a beer girl, most of the time.  Sure, I’ll drink prosecco all summer long, and create a cocktail now and then.  Otherwise, wine doesn’t do much for me, and liquor hits me like a ton of bricks.  Beer, however, is a great middle ground.  It has the added benefit of appalling my mother, Scarlett O’Hara, who would prefer that I drink something more ladylike and refined.  But where would be the fun in that? “Ladylike” and “refined” are not attributes which interest me at this point, anyway.

I know how long this particular bottle shop has been in the works, because Dear Friend Jason, who is married to Dear Friend and Coworker Veronica, is manager there.  It’s been a slow process, this bottle shop.  But it’s finally here. And it’s going to be a great asset to the neighborhood.

Jason knows more about beer than anyone I have ever met.  He can tell you about the science, or the brewery, or the right glass to use, or what beer goes best with absolutely any dish you can name.  One time, Jason and Veronica crafted a creme brulee recipe and brought it to my house for a dinner party.  I had local beer in it, and it was hands-down the winning dish of the evening.  And not just because Veronica brought the most intimidating blowtorch I have ever seen to caramelize the sugar on top.  Girl can wield a blowtorch.  Anyway.  Jason knows beer.  And he’s happy to help you with yours.

Tonight they were pouring Ta Henket samples.  Beer flavored with Za’atar. It was almost buttery; savory and spicy and exotic.  It tasted vaguely like some fabulous dish you’d get from a street vendor in Istanbul.  (I was going to say Cairo, based on the label and the “Walk Like an Egyptian” pose, but there was very little in Cairo I’d be willing to eat from a street vendor. This was way better.)  When I walked in, my favorite beer was front and center:

Maybe it’s the classic blue bottle, or maybe it’s that my sister and I sampled an impressive amount of beer when I visited her in Belgium and this one was at the top of the list.  We tried Westmalle, and Duvel, and Delirium Tremens, and all the other Chimays, but I declared Chimay Bleu to be the finest Belgian beer.  And Belgium has some of the best beer anywhere, so is it possible that Chimay Bleu is the finest beer in the world?  Jason would disagree; he likes Westmalle better.  But that’s what’s fun about a bottle shop.  Conversation, and stories about beer.

I came home with this bottle, because it suits my mood this week, and because instead of talking about architecture at the AIA reception, I was talking about riding camels.  Like you do.

I can’t wait to try this one.  In the meantime, y’all go visit the bottle shop.  It’s next to Tyler’s at Seaboard; drive around to the back side, where there’s lots of parking.  I’ll bet you’ll find something you like.

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