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Barfly: A Good Night at Good Karma

In Culture

Good Karma‘s patio is a metal and wood barricade that juts out into the First Street sidewalk. It’s shaped not unlike a bar, tall enough to rest your elbows on comfortably while standing up. There is an actual bar inside. It only fits four bar stools, which is curious for a place that serves beer.

In all fairness, Good Karma is a vegan cafe, and most of the interior is dedicated to the mastication of various meatless dishes. However, this small eatery has also earned the reputation for stocking a great variety of quality beers. The food is quite excellent, but I’ve observed more meat eaters enjoying liquid bread than dedicated herbivores. The barley literati flock to Good Karma.

I found a vacant spot at the small, intimate bar, and while contemplating my options, I overheard the purveyor of the place, a gentleman named Ryan, educating a customer about a curious varietal he had in stock. Something happened to the Bruery’s Autumn Maple. It had gone sour and was now being poured as Autumn Maple Sour. They could have been a bit more inventive with the name, but I suppose nature had been imaginative enough with the flavor.

I asked Ryan about the beer. He simply answered, “Beer, sometimes, goes pleasantly sour.”

Usually I wouldn’t dare tread near something described as “lacto infected,” but I trust Ryan, so with my curiosity piqued, I decided to order a glass.

As soon as I was handed the brew, I gave it a taste. It was a powerful sour. I’ve met lemons that would be in a lot of trouble if they ran into Autumn Maple Sour in a dark alley. I’m not saying it’s not pleasant—it’s extremely pleasant—but be prepared to be introduced to something you’ve probably never tasted before.

Outside, on the patio, my friend and (sometimes) drinking companion Mr. Harada was enjoying a double India Pale Ale. We had actually scheduled this meeting to plot a new project. Artisan beer and planning go extremely well together, although the plans usually need revisiting during a more sober moment.

Sometimes the right mix of atmosphere and alcohol can precipitate enlightening moments, which you will remember (mostly) for the rest of your temporal existence. So, while I enjoyed a long list of sours, and Mr. Harada sipped various IPAs, we talked a little about our project, but it was really more of an excuse for good company, a night of listening to music, storytelling and people watching, for which the patio at Good Karma is the perfect place. The crowd on South First Street is as colorful as Good Karma’s cold case.

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