Monday, October 3, 2011


We had managed to tour and sample beer in two breweries within two hours...two breweries that were an hour away from each other. We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves for this feat when it became evident that we needed to get something to eat. So it was off to the Coddington Brew Pub which was only about 5 minutes north on the same road as Coastal Extreme Brewing. We found it easily. The exterior and the interior made me think that someone had bought a defunct Bennigan's and turned it into a brew pub. The internal lay-out was different, but add some kitsch hanging on the walls, pin some flair on the wait staff and you'd get the same effect. We were seated at a high table in the bar area, per our request, and each ordered a sample flight and some nachos. With all the beer in our bellies we weren't all that hungry, but knew we'd better eat. 

The waitress came back with the samplers and we noticed that there were spaces on the placemats for each beer she put down in front of us. The placemat saved the waitress the trouble of telling us what each one was, but she did anyway. We originally thought this to be ingenious but it turned out that once the beers were set you could not move the placemat as the condensation from the beer glued it to the table. Oh well.

They had a blueberry ale into which they dropped a few fresh blueberries. This turned the head blue. There was a watermelon blonde that came with a microslice of watermelon on the lip of the glass. The rest of the beers ranged upwards in body and color from there, all the way to a stout. The stout was my favorite, no surprise there, but I enjoyed all of the beers and bought a growler of the watermelon blonde to bring home to The Geisha since none of the beers she had instructed me to get were in season.

One thing that Coddington Brewpub does very well is service. Yes, the beer is good and the nachos were really good, but the level of service was above board. Anything we asked for was met with "of course" and appeared at our table in no time. The waitresses were pleasant and personable and served everyone with a smile. The whole atmosphere was friendly and you could tell that this place was a staple for the locals to have family get-togethers. Despite the lack of a true "New England atmosphere" that was promised on their website, I found that I liked this place, but it was time to move on and head into Newport.

How the "other half" drinks
One hint about Newport: just pay to park and be done with it. Finding one of the free parking spots is impossible. So after driving around for a while we parked in a pay lot and urgently found a place to pee. A lot of beer equals a lot of peeing. Sorry, but it must be said. Unlike John's, we had no inclination to hang out at this new watering hole (water out, not in) and went in search of a place that The Control remembered from years before when he had last been in Newport. It took some time but we found Christie's. He had remembered it as being an eclectic mix of rich folk, locals, middle class tourists, college kids and normal dudes. Things had changed and everyone was dining on linen and drinking concoctions made from the tears of a 1,000 Taiwanese sweat shop children. Well, maybe not, but it looked as if they would have all ordered that drink if it were offered on the menu. Bastards!

So we went to our go-to strategy. We approached one of the waitstaff and asked her where she goes after this place closes. Not fully understanding she started to point us to another tourist trap bar, so I clarified. "Where do YOU go after you're done dealing with all THESE people?" The light when on and we knew she now understood as she directed us to a place called Pour Judgment, informing us that they had "like, thirty taps." Bingo! I could have kissed her, but if I had I wouldn't have been able to report that in the blog. The wife proofreads for me.

After a few wrong turns and directions from a tattoo artist, we came across Pour Judgment. We entered and hovered around the bar until a seat or two opened up. Perusing the taps I immediately saw a Nebraska Brewing Company beer. I have been dying to try their stuff so that was the first thing I ordered. Other beers there were from Heavy Seas, Newport Storm (of course), Stone, Peak Organic, Dogfish Head, Rogue, Harpoon and others. The crowd was a mix of hipsters, foodies (like the Helter Skelter crazy blonde food critic we sat next to), college kids and people getting off of work. There were a few other beer tourists there, but no other out-of-towners. Kudos to the waitress at Christie's for sending us to what might be the best beer bar in Newport.

But there was one more pleasant surprise to be had. After all the walking to get there I was feeling hungry again and asked for a menu and lo and behold! There were "stuffies" on the menu! I had looked for them at Coddington and had resigned myself to the fact that this particular goal would go unfulfilled, but no! Victory was to be snatched out of those metaphoric jaws of defeat. So I placed an order and I have to tell you, everything that was disappointing about clam bellies was more than made up for with the revelation that are stuffed quahogs. If you've never had one it's a quahog (a large clam) emptied from its shell, chopped up, mixed up with linguica or chorizo sausage with some breadcrumbs, peppers, onions and spices added. The mixture is placed onto one half of the shell and put in the oven to bake. This being my first example of one, I can't say how it rates in the stuffy hierarchy, but I really enjoyed the hell out of it. All the trip's goals were now surprisingly accomplished!

On top of that, I had 18 different beers in one day! I wasn't exactly trying to see how many I could do on that trip; it just turned out that way. That bar is now set and I'll have to see if I can find a way to top that in one day, just not any time soon.

We're not too sure how we crammed all of this into one day, but we did. We've had moments like this before but never a whole day worth of satisfaction, revelation and success. Usually, our failures hold sway and are more spectacular and memorable. Having this day in the success column might be small comfort against that other, nastier column, but that worked for us, even if for just one day.

NEXT TIME: Mohawk House

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