Washington, D.C. — Nothing like a euphemism in a soothing voice on voicemail to re-open the barely healing wounds of unexpectedly losing the dog that my wife and I adopted while we were still dating over 13 years ago.
“Your dog Logan’s cremains are ready to be picked up,” said the voice from the phone.
Does man’s best friend really have nothing to do with the world of beer? I’m not so sure.
And if Bob Barker could talk about a cause that had nothing to do with the programming content that he was creating, then I can get away with talking about my oldest dog’s passing here in this column, right?
Regardless, it seemed like the best way to chip away at some of the writing funk that I’ve been mired in since our loss over a week ago was to share a bit about this man’s, and woman’s best friend.
Her name is Logan.
First, a little background is in order. We adopted our Logan — a Shepherd-Ridgeback mixed breed, roughly speaking — from the Morris Animal Refuge when we lived in downtown Philadelphia nearly fourteen years ago.
As a result, she quickly became an urban puppy skilled at walking the busy streets, socializing in community dog parks (where we also made numerous friends of the human type), and joining us at outdoor cafes.
She ran the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s seventy-two “Rocky Steps” countless times with me. She picnicked with us, sat in our city-facing bay windows to watch fireworks, and even rode in taxi cabs when we walked a bit too far from our home.
Logan traveled well with us for trips we took around the region before it became fashionable or good business sense for hotels to cater amenities and services to traveling canine partners.
Boats on the Chesapeake and mountain houses in the Poconos. Four-star hotels in New York City and Washington, D.C. and cheap motels in rural America. Waterfront property in Newport, R.I. and bed and breakfasts in Cape May, NJ. She could dress up and behave or put on sweats and lounge with the best of them.
She crossed the border into Canada and visited Niagara Falls and Toronto. Boston for St. Patrick’s Day brought out the Irish in her.
And Logan was no stranger to the beer scene around Philadelphia. Though she frequented many outdoor cafes with us, in hindsight there was likely no place she would lay by our table more than at the former Tavern on Green two blocks from our home.
It’s now The Belgian Cafe and she has been there as well.
The most special dinner she likely ever attended with us in Philly was the annual Bastille Day celebration dinner that was hosted by the long-ago shuttered Cuvee Notredame.
Owner Michel Notredame would invite guests to bring their dogs during the course of the night and serve up a fine feast of meat, potatoes, and carrots for the dogs while plating fine food for the humans and sabering bottles of champagne.
But perhaps no where did she gather more street cred in the beer world than her time spent at Stoudt’s Brewery and Restaurant in Adamstown, Pa.
We spent a night at the Black Forest Inn — where dogs could stay as well — across the parking lot from the brewery/restaurant. Before the decadent farewell dinner for friends that were moving out-of-state, we sat with the dogs and indulged in cheese and a handful of Stoudt’s beers.
After the dinner, as the restaurant began to close up for the night, owner Carol Stoudt insisted that we get our dogs from the motel and that her husband Ed goes home and gets theirs. For the next couple of hours, we drank great beer and told stories around the bar as the three dogs had free roam of the bar area.
In recent years, after moving to the City’s western suburbs, Logan’s trips in to Philly with us were less numerous. When she tagged along, though, she certainly made the most of her visits to the best of the Philly beer scene. At Kite and Key during Philly Beer Week ‘09, she helped promote Yards Brewing Company by wearing its logo.
Her last beer event appearance was at The Beer Yard in Wayne, Pa. You may recall my writing of it in September 2010.
She and her best buddy Tigger came with us to help support The Beer Yard and Tröegs Brewing Company as they raised funds for the Delaware County SPCA.
This type of event is not rare in the beer industry. Marketers are keen to two consumer soft spots: beer and dogs. The industry sees fundraisers of all stripes each year, like ‘Pittie Parties’ that raise money for pit bull rescues, and are practically guaranteed to bring out crowds ready to drink their part in the name of supporting man’s best friend.
One of the most prominent such events occurs in the Pacific Northwest. At one of the country’s best known brewery’s for the past twenty years, Rogue head brewer John Maier’s dog — appropriately named ‘Brewer’ — was a fixture around the Oregon brewery until his death in 2006.
Next month, the 5th Annual Brewer’s Memorial Fest will celebrate the life of Brewer with a dog-friendly festival that serves as a fundraiser for Central Coast Humane Society and Oregon Coast Therapy Animals.
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale. Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper. Laughing Dog Alpha Dog Imperial IPA. Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale. Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws Barleywine. Stoudt’s Fat Dog Stout. These are just a handful of beers with dog-inspired names.
Like a good beer, particularly the rare ones, the memory of our dogs can live on long after they’re gone.
–Read more of Bryan’s work at After Hours in the Communities at the Washington Times.
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