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Shameless O’Leery’s Ninkasi Toga Party

 What I love about Irish pubs is that they are all, comfortingly, a little bit the same. No matter where you go in the world, when you find your local O’Somebody’s, you can count on good music (U2 sprinkled with Flogging Molly, anyone?), a lively crowd, and plenty of good beer. Plus, it you’re off traipsing about the Czech Republic or Bulgaria or somewhere, its usually a good place to find an English speaking bartender-albeit with a bit of brogue. 

 So, in a way, you’ve already been to Shameless O’ Leery’s. If you haven’t, you need to go because it’s got all the classic elements, plus a bunch of its own twists. You see, as consistent as they are, each Irish pub is unique. At Shameless there’s a wall of Jameson Casks, with the smooth stuff on tap as well. There’s cute waitresses in plaid skirts and a mural of aggressive, cartoonish bagpipers. In the back, there’s shuffleboard and pool tables.

 

  When we arrived at the pub, the place was bustling, with music at just the right volume to hear banter from every corner of the eclectically decorated house. Ninkasi branding was sprinkled in amongst the endless signs touting the best properties of the world’s favorite Stout. As the goddess of fermentation, Ninkasi necessarily works slowly, subtly. Her influence on this party was the same, with the brewery’s wares on tap and tasting notes on every table, but none of it pushed gratuitously in our faces.

pourin

 The toga game was significantly less subtle. Here, the plaid skirts were gone and replaced with every interpretation of the long white garment. We saw the ‘lazy toga’, a swimsuit cover-up artfully tied over spandex. Stretchy, long tank tops also passed for the costume. There were a plethora of standard, waist length togas provided by Master Shameless – sometimes by force. It was a Toga Party, after all, and one must be properly attired! If you’re an O’Leery, the toga is a great piece of ‘clothing’, its natural gaps provide ample glimpses of undergarments, tattoos, tan skin and muscles.  I wore my best long Roman Senate robe, accompanied by my wife in a more stylish white ruffled version. While I high-fived every toga brother and sister, she chanted, “Toga! Toga!” at passersby.

beer (2)

 

 

 

Ninkasi’s final product is also not subtle, and not to be missed. With my head in a fog from the previous night’s Beach Party I opted for a pint of the Lux Lager. This is an immensely satisfying pale yellow brew that starts bright and just a touch sweet, then finishes crisp and clean. Later, our toga clad bartender offered me a taste of the other two, Total Domination IPA and Dawn of the Red IRA (a fitting title in this venue). The Dom is an aggressive, hazy golden Pacific Northwest IPA with Pine in the nose. It’s a blast of citrus hops that dominates the senses but doesn’t coat the tongue, leaving you thirsty for more. Dawn of the Red amps up the hops even more. It’s a ruby tinged liquid that starts sweet, with fruit overtones, and then chomps down on your brain with its intense bitter finish.

The togas were thinning out when we left, but luckily, a party of five more tag-teamed us as we headed for the car. It looked like Shameless was about to leer at round two, and that the party would continue long in to the night, under the approving gaze of Ninkasi herself.

Signage

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