"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?" Stephen Wright
Screw the airlines with their lousy food, knee crushing seat spaces and incomprehensible fare structures and take a "flight" at Uno Chicago Grill (the old name was Pizzeria Uno and that is still what I always call it) on Route 1 instead. For those new to the craft beer scene, a "flight" is a beer sampler, one of those great innovations that make a trip to the brewpub just that much better. A "flight" is usually 5 or 6, 3-ounce glasses all filled with different beers in a neat little wooden holder. There is also usually a card that describes each beer. The beers are typically arranged from light to dark. A "flight" is a great way to sample a bunch of different beers and to compare one to another. Sitting at the bar sampling a "flight" is one of those great beer pleasures and not likely to require a strip search, or taking off your shoes, or arriving 2 hours early and then being delayed.
The other day I was fortunate to meet a colleague at Uno Chicago Grill for a "working" beer "meeting" and decided on a "flight." There are over 150 Pizzera Uno restaurants around the country, but only the one on Route 1 South in Metuchen is a brewpub and brews their own beer! Usually they have 5 all year beers on tap and a rotating seasonal. Their beers get good reviews from Rate Beer and most of the beers I tasted were good. They were all fresh and each style was different. I think their IPA is actually quite good; not Dogfish 60 Minute, or Bear Republic Racer 5, or Lagunitas IPA, but a beer that I could (and have) easily go back for seconds. The seasonal was a strong (8.8%) Scotch Ale that had great color, but wasn't my favorite. I thought it was a bit too sweet. As with many high alcohol beers served at brewpubs, it is served in a snifter because of the high alcohol content.
One thing that is great about brewpubs are the bartenders. They are usually very knowledgeable about their beers and more than willing to discuss them. Our bartender at Pizzeria Uno was no exception. Alina took plenty of time to tell us about each beer and to try and convince my colleague, who prefers Bud, to try their lighter beers. She even brought him two small sampler glasses to try and told him about each one. He thought they were good, but will still probably order a Bud the next time he visits the bar. To each his own....drink beer, be happy.
Another great thing about a visit to a brewpub is that you can also taste the beers simply by asking the bartender for a sample. They are always more than happy to put a small amount in a glass so you can taste it before committing to an entire beer. On many occasions I have tried a beer I thought might be interesting and was so happy I did, because after a little taste, there was no way I would want to drink an entire glass. Don't be shy about asking for a sample taste, its all part of the brewpub experience.
So, forget the Passport (unless you are heading to Brewpub Itzmo in Panama City, Panama—the only brewpub in the entire country and a story I'll leave for another time) and don't worry what you look like in one of those full body scanners. Head over to Chicago Uno Grill or any other local brewpub and the only thing you will need to have in a 2-ounce TSA approved clear vessel is a "flight" of tasty beer.