Walter Mencken 4 p.m., May 3
Spelunking Beer Beyond the Counter at Iowa Meat Farms
Like many an American, I find myself heeding the carnivorous call of mighty Miss Liberty, heading out to get some Grade A beef for not one, but numerous Fourth of July weekend barbecues. This year, I opted, as I have so many other holidays, to procure such goods from Iowa Meat Farms in Mission Valley, a butcher shop offering both variety and attentive service.
As is typical around food-focused holidays, there was a line at the meat counter. Rather than wait, I decided to do a bit of non-meat-related shopping and sidled past the line and behind the meat counter into their "beer cave."
A victim of a condition known as Reynaud's Syndrome, I can't endure extremely cold temperatures for very long, so it's rare for me to venture into such icy places, but even for me, it was worth it, for, beyond the beefy curtain lay hundreds of beers ranging from Belgians strong ales to session lagers and local brews of all tastes and ABVs, all perfectly chilled and waiting for thirsty partakers. Since first discovering it, I've found it makes for a superb opportunity to get both top notch meats and great beer to complement them all in one shot.
But if you've never been to Iowa Meat Farms (or even if you have...the beer cave is buried in the furthest corner of the store), you may be oblivious to the existence of this frigid suds vault. So, on this most American holidays, I decided to heed the famous words of JFK and ask not what my country could do for me, but what I could do for my country...or at least my county. I hope this tip can be of use to my fellow foodies and beerophiles and that you all have a most spectacular Independence Day.