Lucy & Taryn’s Beer Club: Seedy and Classy Can Coexist

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Mike Jones ’14, anchor tattoo and all, pictured with a sampling of beers at Liquor Lyle’s. Photo courtesy of Lucy and Taryn

We do not like cheap beer, but we do like cheap places. As a result, we are constantly searching for the absolute best happy hour prices. And we may have found them, only one week into our beer adventure, at Liquor Lyle’s, “a classy seedy dive bar that everyone loves” (thanks, ThriftyHipster.com). Seedy and classy? Liquor Lyle’s went to the top of our list.

The next task was to find a special guest. Since the bar was seedy and classy, the guest also had to fit this bill. And there was only one man on campus who did: Mike Jones. Mike Jones, the man with an anchor tattoo on his left bicep. Mike Jones, the gentleman who, after a raucous time at Liquor Lyle’s, is now committed to planning Taryn’s bachelorette party. Yup, that Mike Jones.

After a perfectly harrowing experience finding Mr. Jones in the warren that is the music building (sorry, underclasspeople we terrorized), we took off in Baby Blue, Lucy’s valiant 1996 Honda Accord. We sped west on 94 to the intersection of Hennepin and Colfax. Liquor Lyle’s shined at us, a beacon in the darkness—once we found a place to park. We were immediately asked for IDs and informed that the happy hour special was two-for-one.

We slid into a sparkly red booth, surrounded by high school wrestling on large screen televisions. We’re still not sure who Lyle is, but his name was everywhere. It was.

So, beer. Lucy immediately decided on the Bitter Woman India Pale Ale (IPA). Something about the name spoke to her soul. Mike settled on the Epic Brainless IPA, and Taryn, after classic consternation, picked the Rogue Dead Guy Ale. We felt brave enough for cheese curds (in violation of rule number seven: limit dairy) and fries with pink sauce, even though Lucy thought pink sauce wasn’t real.

The Bitter Woman IPA was the beer that tasted the most like beer, while the Epic Brainless IPA was much sweeter than expected and seriously lacking in hops. It was unusually lager-colored (read: dull yellow). We learned that cheap beers like Bud and Miller are always lagers. Thanks, Mike Jones. The Rogue Dead Guy Ale tasted a lot like honey and was a pleasing golden brown with great head.

Mike’s story of beer growth taught us a lot about him, his best friend Tim, and beer. He started drinking when he was 12 or 13 but didn’t like beer immediately, and he certainly didn’t like his mainstay IPAs. Normally, according to Mike Jones, “IPAs say ‘rawwwrrr’ in your mouth, and then you say ‘I don’t like this,’ until you acquire the taste.” Educational, even though Mike asserts that he is seriously under-qualified to talk about beer. Mike acquired the IPA taste by the time he was a high school junior, mostly with the help of his cool friend Tim and Tim’s cousin. They bought him Newcastle Brown Ale and Sam Adams, and he was sold. Since then he’s had a new favorite beer every few months, but when you ask Mike what beer he is, he is the Magic Hat Howl, a schwarzbier labeled as a winter lager (proof that lagers can be both dark and delicious). Too bad they haven’t made it for four years.

Mike Jones ’14, anchor tattoo and all, pictured with a sampling of beers at Liquor Lyle’s.  Photo courtesy of Lucy and Taryn
Mike Jones ’14, anchor tattoo and all, pictured with a sampling of beers at Liquor Lyle’s. Photo courtesy of Lucy and Taryn

After this illustrious journey through Mike’s beer history, we ordered a second round. Lucy abstained as the designated driver—we’re responsible, kids. Taryn sampled the Brooklyn Fire and Ice, hated the burnt campfire taste, and went with the Brooklyn East India IPA instead. It was mediocre—not bubblegummy, but also a little too simple to have real umph. Mike had the Dark Horse Crooked IPA, which proved to be a real IPA, more amber with some hop flavor. Lucy asked if Mike ordered this beer in honor of Katy Perry, which somehow led to a profane conversation about how much Mike hates Tom Petty. Mike Jones is a man of many surprises.

All in all, Liquor Lyle’s is great. The women’s toilet is a little close to the ground, and the men’s toilet is a trough (or so Mike tells us). But the range of music, from remixed Gaga to Love Train and back again, set our souls on fire. We would like to go back to play pool, but this time around, we will obey the prominent sign telling us to “Beware the Attack Waitress.” Liquor Lyle’s, on our LTBC rating scale of 1 to 72, gets a solid 58.