Toe Tapping Tuesday

As part of our ongoing welcome back from friends, a buddy of ours texted late last week with an invitation to go to the Jim German bar in Waitsburg, about 20 minutes east of Walla Walla. I’ve written about the town in this blog before, for its quaint two-block downtown and its anti-abortion protesters, who seem to assemble at random on the main corner in town. It does have a few good eateries, like the Whoop ‘Em Up cafe (low country Southern cuisine) and the Whetstone Public House, which I like to call “classy pioneer.” The Jim German bar isn’t a German tavern at all, it’s a what-is-it-doing-so-far-from-the-city nightclub of clean lines and pretentiously prepared drinks that one should sip with pinkie extended, or at least with a semblance of attitude. And when wearing a lot of black.

Echoes of a more complex city aside, this is still a small town, and like most proprietors in a small town in the tourism off-season, which this is, they’ll think nothing of boarding up the shop for a few weeks to give themselves a staycation. So it was that when we walked up to the bar, well, the dream of genteel relaxation amongst tea candles died a quiet death. I suggested we go to Laht Neppur, the other place about which I’ve written in past posts.

This is most definitely a proletariat establishment. Hulled peanuts line the floor, a crunchy, scented carpet that works hard to absorb the pervasive beer flavor, and as already suggested, loses this battle on a regular basis. The brewmaster is sometimes on hand to talk about his beers, and the enormous stainless steel fermentation tanks are viewable from the patio furniture that comprises the service tables inside. It’s like being indoors and outside all at the same time.

Our waitress agreed to bring us a bowl of peanuts and in exchange for some green-tinted paper, a large pizza with half of Wisconsin’s cheese supply. I tried their new stout, the “Toe Tingler,” but most of the way through my pint, I forgot the name, calling it the Toe Tapper, which sounded just fine to my ear. We were thusly informed by another waitstaff member that patrons have been making up all sorts of names for the beer. I think they should create a contest like the National Zoo does to name all of the Chinese panda babies, but then again, nobody ever really wins those things.

This downshift from quiet luxury to loud yeastiness suited us just fine, and when the impromptu harmonica and fiddle playing broke out in the corner, I think my toes tingled. I mean, tapped.

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