Changes at the Castle’s Kettle & Pub – What does it mean to the beer selection?

Changes at the Castle’s Kettle & Pub – What does it mean to the beer selection?

There are some changes going on at the Castle’ s Kettle & Pub.

Castle’s Kettle & Pub.

I’ll let them announce most of the changes, but would like to inform folks about what’s going on with the beer. They have gone from 24 taps to 12 – 11 when I was there the other night. This is temporary according to management. They are going to make the 12th tap a mug club tap selected by the members of the mug club. They also plan to have different taps for the various styles of beer such as hefeweizen, stout, IPA, pale ale and so forth, with 5 or 6 rotating brands for each tap. That would be nice so folks could have a little variety. Of course the Harp, Guinness and Smithwick’s will remain on both levels, but the namesake pub beer may be in for some changes.

Some people around town have suggested that they actually have mugs assigned to each member but I’m not sure if that’s the best way.

When I paid my tab guess what? I received an actual paper tab and just paid it. Not sure if the iPad system is gone or just being revamped. It seems like a good idea, but the actual execution was a bit off.

I’ll keep you posted about that’s going on. In the meantime…Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Is there beer at the Salem Red Sox? – Always has been, but now good beer!

Is there beer at the Salem Red Sox? – Always has been, but now good beer!

Mrs. Fin and I headed to Salem for the Red Sox game and found some good craft beer. Ok, they had good beer before, but not on draft. Just went to a game and saw some Devils Backbone and some River Company beer on draft there. It was Thirsty Thursday so I had some Keystone Light for a dollar. Reminded me of my college days at Radford University, except for the fact that you couldn’t get any beer from Colorado in Virginia back in 1975, and it was just a college back then.

Taps at Salem Red Sox concessions.

The Sox were whipping the Nationals’ a** so it was a good game. Ran into some friends and had two-for-one tickets from those fine folks at Next Three Days who we saw at Steppin’ Out.

Of course, one of the best parts of the game is Mugsy, and he didn’t disappoint us.

Looks like he really likes to…Laissez les bon temp rouler!


What the heck does “Laissaz les bon temps rouler!” mean, anyway?

What the heck does “Laissaz les bon temps rouler!” mean, anyway?

Many of you may have noticed that I end most posts with “Laissaz les bon temps rouler!” Many of you may have not…

It’s a Cajun French expression that translated literally as “Let the good times roll!” I first heard it in New Orleans, Louisiana during one of my trips there. Since Tuesday is “Fat Tuesday,” the traditional end of the festival season or Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent for many, I thought this might be a good time to talk about it.

There’s no question that Mardi Gras is a great huge party; it’s also expensive and difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with the particulars. There’s plenty of fun to be had in New Orleans the rest of the year with out the pressing crowds and jacked up prices. Bourbon Street is a must-see if you go, but be sure to check out some of the other  attractions in the city. The cemetery tours are very informational and can be combined with historical tours as well. Here’s a cemetery website with a detailed list of cemeteries.

St. Louis Cemetery Number 2 New Orleans.

One of the more interesting things about going there is that no matter what folks may think about your habits where you come from, no one has a drinking problem in the Big Easy. It’s a land of drive-thru hurricane shops and no open- container laws, at least in parts of the city. They have made a booming business out of being a “go to” location for a good time.

There’s a museum devoted to the floats that are built for the parades during the festival. It’s actually a storage facility and shop for building, re-building and repairing the floats. It’s also a must-see if you not there for the “live” activities.

Mardi Gras floats at Mardi Gras World

Strange things can happen there, too.  At one point we saw Batman get his car towed…

New Orlean’s tough on the Batman.

And of course New Orleans also has good beer. Abita’s brewery is just across Lake Pontchartrain from the city, and there are a couple of local brew pubs there as well. In an alcohol-soaked city you can be sure there are several multi-tap bars in all areas of the city. The trolleys are a good way to look for some of them. Like the tours, it will take you through some of the old neighborhoods. You  will have to provide your own snappy banter, depending on who is on the trolley with you.

Beautiful traditional New Orleans architecture.

My fascination with the culture of the people of New Orleans and the way they embrace the concept of letting the good times roll leads me to close my posts with that as a toast to their enjoyment of life and ability to withstand adversity in the process.

Laissaz les bon temps rouler!

Here are some more pictures from our trip last year.


Going to the Festy at Devil’s Backbone – Confidence is high there’s good beer there!

Going to the Festy at Devil’s Backbone – Confidence is high there’s good beer there!

What is a “Festy” you may ask…it’s a great outdoor music festival at the foot of Wintergreen Mountain. There’s going to be fine music curated by the Infamous Stringdusters, but it’s not just a Bluegrass festival, so check out the artists here! There’s going to be a couple of races, both running and bicycling. How about camping, do you like that? It’s there too! Ok the big question…craft beer? Hell yeah! First-rate craft beer in one of the prettiest places in Virginia brought to you by the Devil’s Backbone and Starr Hill.


Devil's Backbone Brewpub!

Another focus of the Festy is sustainable local food. I hope I’ll have enough room in my stomach to try all the possibilities. Got to leave room for delicious beer as well.

Huck tries a taster at Devil's Backbone!

The festival runs Friday through Sunday with plenty of activities to keep everyone happy. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a few miles away just past Wintergreen Resort, not that you would want to leave…

We will be interviewing some of the artists and many of the celebrants while we are there. We plan to camp onsite so we can get the whole experience.

I lived near the location for several years back in the ’70s and ’80s and worked as a ski patroller for five years at Wintergreen and am looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones! I hope to see you there – it’s going to be a great time!


Lassaz les bon temps roulez!

Huck got Lucky at Lucky Restaurant on Kirk Ave. in Roanoke!

Huck got Lucky at Lucky Restaurant on Kirk Ave. in Roanoke!

Had a meeting in Roanoke Monday and made my second attempt to visit Lucky Restauant on Kirk Ave. in Roanoke. We were successful this time and scored some great beer!The selection is pretty amazing – or ridiculous per their Facebook page.

Looks to me like Kirk Avenue has the potential to be Roanoke’s “cool” place. I hope that the people and officials will support this type of addition to the Roanoke scene.

Lucky Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia.

They had several offerings of Bell’s Brewery, one of my favorites, and some interesting, if not particularly great, bottles and cans. One of the beers was Butternuts Pork Slam. Their web site is more annoying than their beer, but I mention them because the name is as good as the beer is bad. They apparently sell a lot of it at Lucky, but I expect it’s mostly new customers. It’s not the restaurant’s fault it’s bad, and I would still serve it just for the name. In fairness we tried the Butternuts Hefe and it sucked too!

On the bright side the Bell’s was cold, came in a cold glass with a smile, and cleanly washed the taste of the Pork Slam out of my mouth! Nice… they also had a cool bathroom. One of these days I’m going to do a post of all the bathroom pictures I have.

Lucky Restaurant Bathroom.

It’s on a quiet street right off the market area.

Kirk Avenue Street View.

Mrs. Fin showed some interest in the Steel Erection, folks – what’s she trying to say?

Didn't know you could buy one...

The kitchen was closed but the menu looks good. We are going have to head back to eat soon and you all should too!

Lassaz les bon temps roulez!


New Belgium Beer coming to Virginia – You can get some at the Wine Gourmet’s new location!

New Belgium Beer coming to Virginia – You can get some at the Wine Gourmet’s new location!

I accompanied the kind folks from the Wine Gourmet to the New Belgium Brewing announcement of the expansion of their market to Virginia. The Wine gourmet will have the beer at their new location at 3524 Electric Road in Roanoke. The event was held at the Taubman Museum in Roanoke. It was sponsored by Blue Ridge Beverage of Salem, the local Miller distributor.

The Wine Gourmet "Party" at the New Belgium roll out!

One of the people above misbehaved; fortunately, I caught it on film!

They put on a pretty good spread…

Lots of yummy food!

They provided some beverages…

Lots of yummy beer!

Somehow I missed the actual announcement, but I was able to chat with Neil Reeves, the head beer bringer for New Belgium in Virginia.  You can see it on my YouTube channel here. The gist of it is that you will see these around soon…

Fat Tire beer trucks!

I think we can all look forward to some good beer coming to our area in about two weeks.

Lassaz les bon temps roulez!