• Brian Rooney

The Quest For The Beer That Never Was

This is the tale of three men who had never met before. When these three men met, they tasted a beer that sparked their journey. This is that journey.

It all began a little over two years ago, in the winter of 2014. These three men started a new adventure at a new company and had to go to the arctic known as Minnesota. If it wasn’t obvious, I am one of these three men. To protect the other two, let’s change their names. Let’s call them Jose and Lee (Good luck breaking that code).


The three of us embarked on this adventure together, and thanks to this, the three of us are friends to this day.


We started as most men will want to do, all you can fucking eat. We ate like kings and drank giant glasses of beer. Normal beers, nothing crazy. While sitting there we realized Lee’s talent. His only talent by the way, finding great places to eat.


On the next day, Lee told Jose and myself we were going to dinner at a place called “The Strip Club. No naked ladies at this strip club just meat and a MAGICAL beer. This may be a good time to mention something of humor with this restaurant. Our company is a great company, and when we travel for them, they pay for our meals. I had the wonderful pleasure of making an expense report for this meal. This expense had a nice caption with it so when my boss would go to approve it he got to read “I promise the Strip Club is a steak house, like strip steak not like naked ladies stripping… or guys stripping” Too this day I wonder if our boss believed me on this.


We had to wait for our table so we took a seat at the bar. The bartender asked what we would like, and like most people we started to panic just a little. We had no idea what we wanted. Jose took over. In an exaggerated New York accent he told the bartender we are not from here what can we get that’s different. The bartender tells us he’s got it and then goes over to the tap and pours us three beers. He hands us a dark, thick looking beer. The three of us take a sip and the creamy goodness take us to heaven. We are in our glory with this beer. We looked at the tap it came from and it was labeled “612”. 612 is an area code in Minnesota so we thought the bar tender has done it, he gave us what we couldn’t have anywhere else, a great local beer.

The next morning came and we were still thinking of that beer. We then decided we were going to ask for it at every dinner and not stop until we find it. The next few nights played out similar. Disappointment and bad beer, well mediocre beer. No, good beer but not THE beer. We would look over every beer list and never see the infamous 612. We would ask about it and most time the servers would think we made it up.


The trip took a dramatic turn over the weekend. It was Valentine’s day, which is an irrelevant detail but I wanted to share. Jose, Lee, and two guys from the office, let’s call them Sonic and Mario (if you know who these people are you know who is who)…..(If you don’t use your imagination) went to a hockey game together. Following the game we went to a bar with hopes of finding some 612.


Jose reached his breaking point. He asked for a glass of 612 and the server said we don’t have 612. In the rage of a New Yorker, Jose spoke in a tone that to anyone not from New York would be considered yelling but to us it was close to a whisper. He asked “what do you mean you don’t have it?!” This response prompted the server to ask him where he had it which he immediately yelled, and again read this in the most exaggerated New York way that you can, “I had it HERE!”. After Jose screamed that he had the magical beer in an establishment that none of us have been to Lee and I had to jump in and explain that “here” just means Minnesota. This outburst of New York attitude lead to us having some shitty service and I guess well deserved. Thanks Jose.


It took us a whole week to get smart. We finally thought, oh shit we are stupid, let’s just google this shit. We go on their site and find out that this is some exclusive shit. 612 was only in a handful of places, but we said we are getting this magical drink again before we go home.


We went out that night to one of the places that claim to carry 612. The server comes up to us and ask us what we want. Here it is, the moment we were waiting for. “Yes, we would like three 612’s please” then to our surprise the server said, “ok anything else”. I was too shocked to speak, they have it! Lee then swooped in and saved the awkwardness by telling the server that’s it for now.


The anticipation was elevating by the second waiting for the beers. We have been dreaming of the dark creamy goodness of a beer all week. We see the server coming to us, but there was a problem. She put three beers in front of us and said “ok three 612’s”. Silence came over us as we looked at these beers that can be best described as piss color. We were assured that it was 612 and not piss however. We drank it, first sip this time was not magical. In fact, it was quite painful. This was just your typical IPA, an acquired taste that’s not acquired by this guy.


We finished our piss and decided we are going back to the Strip Club, still the steakhouse, not a real strip club. We needed that beer. I had dreams that night of that beer. I woke up from my dream and knew in just a short number of hours my dream will become a reality.

Work that day seemed to drag on. I felt like a child in school struggling to get through the day to go home and play with a new toy. Work is over, bring on the beer! We got over to the restaurant and rushed to the bar and ordered three 612’s. The shock had to be written all over my face, because the bartender came back with three glasses of what can only be described as PISS!


What happened?!?! Literally a week ago, this mysterious 612 beer was a dark rich and creamy stout and now a typical IPA. The bartender than later explained to us that they had a mix up with the taps labeled and this is 612. We found out the beer that we drank was surprisingly a beer that I have had before. It was a Nitro Left Hand Milk Stout. I liked this beer the first time I tried it way before I thought it was magic. However now we knew! We can continue the hunt.


At dinner, the next day, we went somewhere and they had it! So naturally, the three of us ordered it. I took a sip expecting to relive the magic but there were no sparks, no magic. It seemed there was a hint of magic in this beer but it was diluted by my broken dreams.

We were chasing the unknown and once the unknown was figured out the magic went away. Do you have any experiences like this? If you do we want to hear about them on twitter, @Big_Broons or @TheSpinchoon


#CraftBeer #Beer #Travel #Journey #Minnesota

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