If Memory Serves chronicles moments from my dining past, perhaps explaining why I'm so damn warped.
My first wife's clan would gather at least once a year in the middle of nowhere, otherwise known as Columbus, Nebraska.
Yes, first wife--for some reason my firm belief that life revolves around televised sports, X-Box games, the occasional romantic vacation to some history battlefield and a cupboard stocked with Cheez-Its just doesn't sit well with some women. At least this particular Nebraska community is close enough to the Oregon Trail to excite some interest.
But Columbus is also home to Glur's, which not only bills itself as a true western saloon, but also the oldest one west of the Missouri River operating continuously in the same building. When you walk into this place, you're following in footsteps leading from Packards, Model A Fords and Appaloosas. Some even claim Buffalo Bill frequented the place long before it took the name Glur's.
That was in 1914, when the bar's second owner decided to carve his own name on a shingle above the door. Pretty damn cool, for a beer joint.
Which brings us to the subject at hand.
During one of these Fusker gatherings--they used to print "Huck the Fuskers" signs in clean living Missouri (I swear this family didn't realize there was a university attached to the Cornhuskers football team)--we traipsed to Glur's for a specialty: red beer.
Red beer is nothing more than a pale American lager mixed with tomato juice. Oh, I'm sure there are ways to doll it up, though not at the oldest saloon west of the Missouri.
Why one would do this is another question. Red beer doesn't have the refreshing spirit of a michelada. It lacks the old world cachet of shandy, too. But I'll admit this: red beer can't hurt--and likely helps--the flavor of Bud Light.
And, really, when you're drinking in the shadow of early settlers, of men who worked the railroads, of Buffalo Bill, there's nothing wrong with tomato beer. In fact, it was proof that atmosphere often matters more than the food--or in this case drink--you're served. Glur's sits a block from the railroad and maybe two from where the old Lincoln Highway passed through town. It is a bit of American history.
One word of warning: if you go looking for the place, don't ask directions to Glur's. The locals call it 'Gloo-ers.'
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