Breakfast Meets Beer

The tail end of winter is the perfect time to indulge in a splendid taboo. A beer. On a weekday. Before noon. Here’s where to make it happen and what to eat with it.

By John Garland, The Heavy Table


You reluctantly wake up and fumble for your alarm clock. There’s a thick layer of frost covering your windows. You cringe at the thought of removing any of the three blankets from atop your body. You grab your phone, practice your scratchy-throat-and-clogged-sinuses voice, and dial up the boss.

“I think I’ve caught that bug that’s been going around,” you say, apologizing and mixing in a few coughs for good effect.

All right, then. That’s been taken care of. Now it’s time for a beer. Just think of all that Paid-Time-Off you’ve accumulated. You’ve earned this. Take a cue from Parks and Recreation’s Tom Haverford and “treat yo’ self.”

A weekday breakfast beer is a glorious thing, especially on a cold day. There’s a measure of freedom to be exacted with a pint aside your pancakes. You can walk back home, basking in the winter sun hanging just above the horizon, and your step will have a confident spring. You’ll feel independent, fortified, and satisfied.

It wasn’t but a hundred years ago that Americans routinely washed breakfast down with a beer or hard cider. Of course, that was also a time that we were giving beer to children and people were still getting polio. We’ve come a long way, and the breakfast beer has gone the way of the three-martini lunch.

The perpetual deference we give to our careers has relegated acceptable morning drinking into a scant two-day window-—the weekend brunch. Don’t get me wrong, brunch is a wonderful meal. It’s so resplendent and life-affirming that it’s nearly proof positive of a loving, benevolent God. Nothing but glowing praise should go to a meal that combines the finest parts of breakfast, lunch, and dessert and makes imbibing almost mandatory.

But when was the last time you had a beer at brunch that wasn’t the Grain Belt back for your Bloody Mary? It hardly even crosses your mind, right? You’re so conditioned to get a beer with your hamburgers and chicken wings that it just seems wrong with eggs and waffles. But you might find that a Steel Toe Size 7 is a perfect complement to the spicy chorizo hash at Muddy Waters and begin to rethink brunch altogether.

In my research for this article, I found that a weekday morning beer is truly a guilty pleasure. Not a guilty pleasure like dark chocolate truffles or Carly Rae Jepsen, but a legitimately thrilling break from acceptable social practice. I’d look at the clock, take good note that it’s 9:00am, clutch my glass, and feel like when I was young and my uncle brought illegal fireworks back from Wisconsin.

Even with the added confidence of “I’m doing this for journalism,” it wasn’t easy. I still felt awkward ordering a beer so early in the day. I’d assuage my orders with a phrase like, “Well, since I have the day off…” particularly when I was dining solo, just to make sure the servers understood I’m not a raging alcoholic.

Related Post: Food Meets Beer at The Sample Room

But it turns out that the added caution was hardly ever necessary. My orders were almost always greeted enthusiastically, as if the bartender or server wished they could be doing the same. As well, my morning brews seemed to initiate me into a secret club. I’d look around the restaurant and exchange coy smiles with the other morning drinkers. Just think about all those suckers at work right now, we’d telepathize to each other. Cheers to us.

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About John Garland

John Garland is the Deputy Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in every coffee shop on West 7th Street.

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