The Jeff Challenge (Boston)

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Winter is a time to hibernate in my urban lair. Sipping Pretty Things East India Porter with Frans Silanpää and Joe Venuti, simmering something meaty while building sushi out of LaQ pieces- good times.

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But every six months or so my suburban-living high school friend Jeff comes to town with a beer present (Duck Rabbit) and a challenge: show him a new great place to drink craft beer.

After 30 years we have completely different lives. He’s teaching his eldest to drive and watching golf in his spare time; I don’t ask what he’s reading and I don’t tell him about my pathetic LaQ habit, which only recently replaced my Pocket Frog habit after collecting glass chromas of every breed.

But we sure can eat and drink together.

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We scored the best end-of-bar seats at JM Curley’s– a rustic cave of a restaurant near the Common with an ideal view of the falling snow. They have six constantly rotating well chosen craft beers on tap and plenty of excellent bottles. My guy’s guy of a friend scrunched his nose at the Dark Horse blueberry stout, “I don’t like fruity beers.” The bartender insisted he try it. Thank goodness.

The first sniff is a Jordan Marsh muffin- and then all hint of blueberry is gone. What remains is a super rich, wonderfully complex and hearty beer that was perfect with the spicy popcorn frog legs, hot & sour snail soup, and foie gras french toast bites.

The breakfast bites were so delicious we were a little stunned- and giddy. Jeff asked for a to go bag for the wisp of sauce left on the plate.

Another successful challenge!

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