Another food truck, although this might qualify as a food bus. St. Clair Pizza offers wood fired pizzas on four wheels. I took my accountant to see if this was all on the level.
You can find him: Watching basketball, sampling local beer, auditing you.
When you spend a lot of time around artists, someone with a real job starts to seem like a narwhal. I mean, you’ve heard they’re out there, but when you actually see one it’s like, why did a dolphin screw a unicorn?
Meet said narwhal (the unicorn part is from his mother’s side). Jason’s an accountant, formerly with the IRS. You might not pick up on that, though. The only giveaway is the haircut, a nice safe Mad Men look that distracts from the tattoos, warped sense of humor, and encyclopedic knowledge of beer that makes the man a kick at parties.
Jason hadn’t been to Courtyard Brewery yet, and as it seems to be slotting in as a regular hang for me, I suggested we get together to discuss my financial situation over beer and whatever food happened to be on the premises. The food for this afternoon came courtesy of the St. Clair Pizza truck, a modified 50’s Chevrolet bus with a 1965 nose that now houses a wood fire pizza oven, and two guys named Frankie and Aaron who know how to use it. Good thing, too. The fire department actually had to give these guys approval for the oven before they were able to start serving on the street.
I learned that Frankie comes from Toronto and graduated from Tony Gemignani’s International School of Pizza in San Francisco (I swear this is a real thing). Aaron is a North Carolinian and, like any true North Carolinian, is so deranged when it comes to the subject of basketball that he designed a pizza called “Duke Sucks” back in March, and offered a two dollar discount to anyone who said those exact words at the window.
I went with the St. Pear pizza, which featured sliced pear, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, honey and basil, which Jason assured me I can write off as a medical expense. I paired it (see what I did there?) with a beer suggested by Scott, owner of Courtyard Brewery. The beer is called Kentucky Breakfast Stout and comes from Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and RateBeer called it on of the 100 best beers in the world.
The beer has to be good if it’s going with this pizza.
But because it’s so damn good (and also rare, and also potent at 11.2% alcohol), the bartender poured me half a glass. Under most circumstances, this is cause for me to throw blunt instruments at the bartender. After all, Scott and the bartenders had given me a pretty hard sell on this beer. So when I get 8 ounces of beer in front of me like it’s a goddamned prize I’m reasonably upset.
“Are you kidding me?” I said.
“Just try it,” said Scott.
I took a sip and put it down.
“All right,” I said. “You win.”
Apparently, this beer is aged in bourbon barrels inside of caves for a year. Yes, bourbon barrels in caves. Aside from the vampire party/fallout survivor aspects of this process, the beer is excellent. Like a cup of coffee and maple syrup without too much sweetness and without giving you the shakes. And even though I’ll admit to it being one of the better beers I’ve ever tasted, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to someone pouring me a half a glass of beer and smiling. It’s like when you order top shelf liquor for a mixed drink so you can feel like Jay-Z for a second. It’s fine, you enjoy the moment, but if you do it too often you realize you are not Jay-Z because, unlike him, you are broke as hell.
And you do not want to go broke drinking with your accountant.
It should also be mentioned that this is the Courtyard Brewery’s jukebox. You grab a 45 off the wall, put the needle on the record, and you’re all set. I don’t know of another place in town that has this.