Saturday, November 27, 2010

Music makes the beer taste better at the Jerseytown Tavern

If you look hard enough at the picture, you can see a church organist, 3 bluegrass musicians, a music teachers son and a 72 year old singer.  This group paired nicely with 16 Mile Golden Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

There isn't much going on in Jerseytown, Pennsylvania.  About 20 houses, a church, hardware store, community center and tavern.  The Jerseytown Tavern has gained a splendid reputation of having "pick-and-grin" bluegrass every Wednesday night.  This open mic night draws anywhere between 5 and 20 players a night, most of whom have not played with each other before.  These bluegrassers come to play, have a beer and listen to other pickers. (Usually a couple of guitars, a couple of banjos, a fiddle or two and a standing bass are up front.)  But on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Tavern went rock and roll, a little bluesy, and mixed in many classic love songs.

This group of musicians were thrown together.  Some of them have played with together before, but before songs, they had to tell each other what to play- and it was amazing how they pulled everything off like they rehearsed for years.  The kind of star of the night was 72 year old "Hollywood" George Bond.  This singer belted out lyrics, walked through the crowd singing to people and you could tell he was just having a great time.  (They started off with Georgia, in which George Bond sang in impersonating a few different musicians, including Louis Armstrong.)  The musicians behind him had their time as well.  Many solos allowed for them to strut their stuff, and show their versatility.  This makeshift band at the Tavern has been come to be known as the Jerseytown All-Star Review.  Around the holidays, when other well known musicians get into town, the special music nights pack the dining room, everybody eating then drinking while listening to the music.

Now to the beer review.  The Tavern is macro dominated, which is expected for a small place in the rural community.  The owner has added Sierra Nevada bottles, and 16 Mile-apparently the reps were there earlier in the day- has been on draft (they have 4 taps- Miller Lite, Bud Light-sometimes regular Bud, and Yuengling are the others).  The Sierra Nevada (when coming from a city) is a great value at $3 a bottle, the 16 Mile- $2.50 a draft.  The food is good.  They have a special board, which is worth it to check out.

But the highlight is the atmosphere.  The Tavern has family seating.  Your group of four will probably be sitting next to another group.  No one minds.  Most get along, some keep to themselves.  The waitstaff is friendly, the kitchen predictable.  What more can you ask for.  But if you want to come on a special music day or a Wednesday for the music, you better get there early.

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