March 13, 2009

Open Bar at the Booksmith

The Booksmith is a bookstore, not a bar. So it may have baffled some people who checked out SF-My Open Bar yesterday and saw a book signing event listed there. No wonder the place was packed. More on that in a sec.

During the time between when I finished writing Red, White, and Brew and the time it came out, I realized I'd have to overcome my debilitating fear of public speaking if I was going to carry out the national promo tour I'd put together. So I did two things: I attended a few Toastmasters events (not helpful, but I DID win a chocolate bar for an impromptu speech once), and I went on to find all the local author events just to see what they were like. That was my introduction to the creative, personable, indie bookseller on Haight St.

It really is a treat for me to hold book signings with my local bookstores. But I rarely do events AT the stores themselves. I tend to do them at beer bars and brewpubs. That's how the Magnolia Pub got involved. The proprietor and brewmaster, Dave McLean, generously offered up five growlers of beer. So Half Pint, our friend Jen, and I left the store at 7:15 p.m., made the short three-block walk down to Magnolia, picked up growlers of their Kalifornia Kolsch lager and Blue Bell Bitter ale (like my first batch of homebrewed ESB, but, uh, better), and returned at 7:32 to a packed house.

Though it was a thirsty crowd, everyone graciously stuck around for my presentation--the first time I ever employed a slide show--and had lots of great questions. It was a beer-worthy crowd full of knowledgeable enthusiasts and several homebrewers. Once I was finished, the rest of the beer disappeared.

As did I. After returning the lent growlers to Magnolia, we enjoyed a great meal. A new app on the menu is the buttermilk-fried spring onions. So much more than onion rings! I also took advantage of Thursday Fried Chicken night (until they run out). And since you can't dine there and not drink beer, I baffled my tastebuds with their bourbon-barrel aged gruit. What's a gruit? It's a traditional ale brewed with spices other than hops, since beer sans hops predates hopped beer by at least three millennia. This particular gruit, as Jen pointed out, is reminiscent of Pimm's No. 1 Cup.

The best part of doing a book event near my neighborhood then feasting at the brewpub down the block? Getting to walk home.


christin said...

Awesome Brian! People bought the book too -- very cool -- your powers of influence over the audience are now written in the history books :-)

troymccluresf said...

Fun times, and I was surprised at how much I liked Magnolia's Gruit, considering I'm a total hophead.

-Jeff, the Lucky 13 regular in the Pleepleus hoodie.