Pass The Crown For The Coldest Beer In Town
By Maylon T. Rice
The King of the Coldest Beer in Fayetteville has been dethroned and the new champion for the coldest, domestic longnecks in the city has been crowned. Hail the Queen of Beer – Maxine’s Tap Room, which has been named the Free Weekly’s 2008 champion of summer in the annual search for the coldest beer in town.
Andrea Foren, the owner and manager of Maxine’s Tap Room and the niece of the bar’s namesake, the late Maxine Miller, was ecstatic about the news.
“That’s wonderful. No, it’s really more than that, it is awesome news,” Foren said. “We do have the coldest beer and have had for 58 years.”
Maxine’s has always been in the running for the title of coldest beer during these unscientific surveys. In fact in 2006 and 2007 when Maxine’s was closed due to a fire in the bar that happened just weeks after the death of the beloved and crusty Ms. Miller, this writer could not leave Maxine’s off the list. Now, back on its footprint in downtown Fayetteville, the Block Street landmark is not only back and busy, but has now been crowned.
Maxine’s Tap Room, for the unofficial record, served up a 34 degree longneck, rife with icy goodness.
The perennial two-time past champion, The Beer Keg on Township, clocked into a three way tie with Art’s Place and George’s Majestic Lounge at 36 degrees.
Max Leichner and the every day crowd at The Beer Keg won’t let this little setback deter them, though. Hog football and all the excitement of the upcoming season may have warmed the temperature a degree of two this season.
The cool temps inside Art’s has always been a favorite and this year the coolness of the domestic serving was well into a tie for second place.
And as always, George’s Majestic Lounge, in the middle of its 81st year of business, is a cool, oasis. On a humid summer afternoon it was a delight.
Here’s how we tested. The criteria and judging is nonscientific. On a random basis, we visit the well-known watering holes and even some of the places that serve food. All that is needed is a long thermometer and a quick eye for the recoded temp once the bottle has been opened and set in front of the tester.
Although this summer has brought less than usual heat and humidity, the places sampled were filled with college students, regulars, construction workers (yes, even in this depressed recession) and folks getting off work a little early from their 9 to 5 existence to slip into a booth or mount a barstool to cool off.
The talk inside the bars for the most part was focused on one topic: Razorback football.
One fellow tried to bring up the upcoming local elections and was told by several within earshot to “lay off that crap and give it a rest will ya?”
The offending fellow quickly guzzled down his import and made haste for the doorway to see what those outside in the garden thought of the political climate, I suppose.
While the talk seemed to be only about football, the crowds and conversation seems to ebb and flow, as always, according to the time of day.
The crowd at Maxine’s was a little thin, when the survey was done, but the bar attendant was attentive, cheerful and helpful. Other places have lots of flickering television screen mounted at all angles and booming with the voices of CNN, FOX or the cornucopia of alphabetical offerings from ABC, CBS, NBC, to CNBA.
Maxine’s, George’s and The Beer Keg, oh heck, toss in Art’s Place, are some of the quieter places to visit mid-afternoon.
Another spot that’s nice to visit and have a cold one without all the music and modern electronic noise is Uncle Gaylord’s Mountain Café, a couple of blocks west of the downtown square. The small bar, which is in a separate room from the restaurant, is indeed a good place to visit. Their beer, while a little warmer during the annual test, at 37 degrees, still puts them in the Top 10.
That would please the late Gaylord Willis, but would also bring out at least one of two rather gruff, thoughtful comebacks from him as well.
As always with the bar scene in Fayetteville, some places have closed since the last survey. The Gypsy, for instance, is gone. Too bad, the beers there were always cold.
Ditto for The Dart Room on North College, which is now undergoing some kind of major renovation.
And alas the old Sugar Mountain Restaurant on the corner of North College and Township is now a used car lot and Tony C’s on Garland is now some kind of breakfast place.
But as the bar scene changes, it’s good to know that even after a fire and being closed for a year, bars like Maxine’s can bounce back and get back to the business at hand – serving up the coldest beer in town.
Method to the madness
Cooler summer shakes up standings
Maybe it was the weather. A cool summer seemed to shake up the coldest beer in Fayetteville standings. Or maybe it was the lack of humidity. Or the “hotness” of the Razorback football season that warmed the bars and the beer they served.
Whatever it was, the Free Weekly’s 2008 Coldest Beer In Town survey, added some new names at the top and bottom of the list.
As always, the unscientific research was done by ordering the same brand of domestic longneck from the bars. After the cap was popped, a long thermometer was inserted and allowed to register the temp of the brew.
Here are the final results:
The Winner: Maxine’s Tap Room at a chilling 34 degrees.
Tie for second: Art’s Place, The Beer Keg and George’s Majestic Lounge at 36 degrees.
Tie for third place: Uncle Gaylord’s Mountain Café, Crown Pub and the White Star at 37 degrees.
Fourth place: Jose’s on Dickson at 38 degrees.
Tie Fifth place: Roger’s Rec and Cafe Rue Orleans at 39.
Tie for Sixth place: R.O.T.C., Dickson Theater, Grubb’s Bar and Grill and the Flying Burrito at 40 degrees.
Some newer spots and some of the older haunts were also tested, but no names will be released if the temp was over 40 degrees.
As a little aside, the waitress at one restaurant possibly cost the restaurant its coolness. It took a few minutes from the time the drink was put on the serving platter until it was delivered to the table. Oh, well the nachos and the photos on her friends’ cell phone, two booths away from the secret tester were grabbing her attention, not her customer who ordered “just a beer, thank you.”
And one spot, the White Star, which has been a perennial top three place finisher, seemed to be having some air conditioning problems on a warmer than usual afternoon when the tester was there.
Well that’s the old 2008 summer testing results for you. Drink up.
Maylon T. Rice