We celebrated my father's 80th birthday at Victory on Sunday. We had reserved the corner table, under the brewkettle (which has a kind of 'Cone of Silence' effect, only it worked: we could hear each other pretty clearly, while most of the outside noise was blocked). Cathy and the kids and I got there a bit early, and I immediately ordered an Uncle Teddy's Bitter, which was nicely conditioned and fresh as an impertinent sophomore. Cathy got a Three Ring Ale, which I've been told is a Ballantine Ale homage. It was light and crisp, with some hoppy zip to it, but both of us preferred the Uncle Teddy's.
After everyone else arrived -- including my dad -- we ordered lunch and got more beers. My mother got a Wies'n, which was 'right on the edge' for her, she likes a maltier beer; my uncle Don got a Donnybrook that seemed to please him, and I got a Dark Lager, which was pouring nicely, a great dunkel. I went old school and got the smokehouse burger, which shaved off my appetite quite nicely.
I had another Uncle Teddy's to fill in the empty spaces, then got a cup of coffee to go with the cake. Victory's catering chef had promised me that her pastry chef could make anything we wanted, and we got a spice cake with caramel icing for my Pennsylvania Dutch dad. It was huge, and very nicely done, a delicious and authentic cake. My dad loved it.
It was a nice afternoon with the extended family, and the beer and food were perfect. Thanks to staying low on the alcohol level, I was in control of all my faculties and aimed the Passat eastward, but with a warm day and the big feed...it was a job staying awake on the way home. Now I'm 50 and my dad's 80; Cathy and I will mark our 20th anniversary in December, rounding out this year of family landmarks, all cause for joy and celebration. I wish you all a similarly happy year; the travails of the economy have brought us to cherish family, health, and friendship even more.