The big meltdown finally started yesterday, and I mean that in a good way. After weeks of (not so patiently) waiting, the deep freeze came to an end. I was so anxious for daylight savings time, I actually set all the clocks ahead an hour Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday morning. Fortunately, I don’t waste the time resetting the clock on the bike. That may or may not make sense, for those who park between October and March (insurance?), that’s pretty much a non-issue, for me I do it to remind myself of what time I’d rather it be. Without a long rant about switching the clocks back in forth, I’m in favor of switching to Daylight Savings Time and leaving it there. At any rate, since I was waiting for the mud hole that is my driveway to dry, riding had to wait, therefore I stopped by one of my local favorites for lunch, The Hairless Hare Brewery.
Hairless Hare Brewery is a new microbrewery in Vandalia that opened in 2013. Microbreweries are popping up all over town, which is fine with me; while I don’t condone drinking and riding (nor driving for that matter), I’m still a big fan of beer, especially craft brew. Hairless Hare is a pretty quaint store in the back of small shopping center (conveniently located next door to an American Legion); unfortunately, you could probably zip right past it if you don’t know where you’re going. Fortunately, I’m well on my way to becoming a regular.
Once inside you’ll find a lengthy bar, about ten taps, eight or so tables scattered about, and several board games sitting on the piano; I’ll also mention they have the biggest set of Jenga I’ve ever seen (figures I forgot to shoot a photo). The service is excellent, and it’s very common to see the owners and brew master behind the bar. True to their website, they typically have about eight beers on tap, ranging from light ales, to hoppy IPAs, or dark chocolate stouts. I like beer that looks like 10W-40 after about 6,000 miles, so my personal favorite is the Rabbit Hole Chocolate Stout. Their Chocolate stout is a great blend between coffee and chocolate. The second runner up would probably be the Breakfast Brown; which also has a chocolate taste, but with more oatmeal flavor with hints of honey and a smokey finish. The American Ale is a solid choice for any Budweiser drinkers you might bring along with you that aren’t into craft beers. I will also recommend that light beer drinkers try their Kolsch; which is unfortunately sold out at the moment. If you’re a craft beer person it’s a good plan to get a flight, four (roughly) four-ounce pours for $5.50, which is a great deal for what you’re getting. If you’re not riding, and going to stay a while, you could feasibly get two flights and try everything they have on draft at any given time. Today both of my favorites were sold out unfortunately, so I had the T-Dawgs Amber Ale which was also fantastic. I’m a big fan of Sam Adams, I would equate the Amber Ale to a “smoother” Sam Adams Lager. While I frown on bottled beer, apparently there are projects in the works to have some beers bottled. Hairless Hare also has some small distribution locally that you can try, The King’s Table, Fricker’s, and Chappy’s Tap Room to name a few.
Tuesday through Sunday the pizza kitchen is open, which for me, rivals the draw of the beer. I consider myself somewhat a pizza connoisseur with only one rule: I love all pizza, as long as there isn’t fish on it. After The Hairless Hare’s Smoked Salmon Pizza, I was forced to rescind that rule; delicious. Locally I would almost go as far as to compare their pizza to Dewey’s Pizza downtown. I fully recognize that several folks in the audience just scoffed at my claim, so I’ll suggest that Pies & Pints is also similar to Dewey’s (and better), and you should stop into Hairless Hare an try it. The hot dogs are also good, you can’t go wrong with Pita Chips and Humus, and the pretzels are also killer. I haven’t had the soup or cheese tray yet, but based on the pizza, I’m pretty hopeful.
All in all, Hairless Hare is rapidly becoming my favorite stop in town, if only it wasn’t so far from the house. If you’re up north, I highly recommend dropping in just for the pizza, get it to go if you don’t have time to stay. If you’re headed out, don’t forget you can also get a growler of your favorite craft brew.
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