The Underground Brewery Stories about brewing beer and train traveling from Tom Coughlin

September 14, 2012

Counting down to the Chattanooga trip–Stocking the bar.

Filed under: Destinations — Tom @ 11:09 pm

It’s very tough to put together a small bar for a railroad car. In the space of a 4′ by 3′ cupboard, you have to represent the latest trends in spirits, while offering the passengers their favorite old standards and traditional refreshments.

In honor of visiting the Old South and for some seasonal adjustment, I added a couple of new whiskies. Concannon Irish Whiskey is new on the market–I’m curious to see how passengers like it. It’s a traditional four-year-old barley whiskey from Cooley Distillers in Ireland that received a few months of additional aging in petite syrah barrels from the Concannon Vineyard in California. Rye whiskey, a beverage that fell out of popularity about 40 years ago, but is making a slow comeback, is represented by both single malt and blended offerings.

Bourbon is a traditional railroad lounge car drink, and you can’t get more traditional than Jim Beam. Knob Creek is a popular new era product that is much less sweet and a tad more serious than the old guard. Just for fun, I added Eagle Rare 10, which is a single barrel bourbon from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. Single barrel bourbons are unusual–as an unblended product, a lot of variation between bottles is possible. Some bottles will be brilliant, others not so much.

For the Beer list– half of our passengers have asked that we serve hoppy ales, so American Pale Ales and India Pale Ales are deeply presented. By adding some UK ales into the mix, we pick up some historical perspective, and with homebrews we’ll try out some experimental ideas and really get to explore the APA/IPA styles.

For the wine list– Meg did it, I wasn’t paying attention. She’s been working with Chef Charles for about six years, and it usually works out great.

Poland Spring (cooking, coffee service, and for passenger use)

Soft Drinks:
Hansen’s Natural Creamy Root Beer
Hansen’s Natural Ginger Ale
Snapple Arnold Palmer (diet)
Ice Tea
Lemonade (made to order)
Diet Coke
Original Coke
Diet Pepsi

Bar mixers:
Tonic Water
Lemon Juice
Tomato Juice

Sly Fox Royal Weisse
Sly Fox Rt. 113 IPA
Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale
Oscar Blues Old Chubb Scotch Ale
Oscar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Southern Tier 2xIPA
Southern Tier Harvest Ale
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
Brewdog Punk IPA (Scotland)
Brewdog Hardcore IPA (Scotland)
James Watt (of Brewdog) Old World IPA (Scotland)
McNeill’s Firehouse Amber Ale (VT)
Black Sheep Ale (UK)
Selected assortment of award-winning homebrew beers.

The Stum Jump Shiraz
–McLaren Vale 2010 (Australia)
Sauvignon Blanc
–Oxford Landing Estates 2011 (Australia)
Pinot Noir
–Mark West 2010 (California)
–Concha y Toro 2011 (Chile)
Xplorador Chardonay
–Concha y Toro 2010 (Chile)

Spirits and Fortified Wines:
Blended Scotch Whisky:
Chivas 12 year
Seagram’s VO
Dewar’s White Label
Tangle Ridge 10 year (Canadian Rye Whiskey)

Single Malt Scotch Whisky:
Glenfidditch 12 year (Speyside)
Glenfarclas 12 year (“Highland” Speyside)

Irish Whiskey:

Jim Beam 4 year
Knob Creek 9 year
Eagle Rare 10 year single barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Ketel One

Bacardi 8 year dark rum


Tribuno Sweet Vermouth
Martini and Rossi Dark Vermouth
Martini and Rossi Light Vermouth


  1. I have to ask: Why did you choose Poland Spring water? Do you find it to be superior to other bottled water? The only bottled water I ever noticed tasting significantly better than the rest is Fiji. Curious to hear what your opinion is.

    Comment by ghundermark — September 18, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  2. We had a taste test a few years ago, and it won.

    Comment by Tom — September 18, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  3. Who needs the car to move with all that booze? Nice to see some local beers on the menu. I’ve tried Sly Fox’s Rte 113 IPA because the road is only a mile a way. Not normally big on hoppy beer (recently turned off by a Yards IPA) but their’s I enjoyed.

    Comment by Dave Correale — September 18, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  4. Dave– Cans take up about half the space of bottles, and can be iced to serving temp in about three hours–twice as fast as bottles. Four of the passengers next week are micro beer fans, and requested hoppy ales. A fifth passenger is a homebrewer and APA/IPA is his favorite style. So, many ales.

    Comment by Tom — September 18, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  5. Does Meg take special orders for passengers? I would like a Malback (Argentine) if possible. A Pino Grigio with frozen red flame grapes is also a favorite…….

    Comment by blue6171 — October 3, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  6. Rebecca–yes. The wine bar is highly responsive to customer suggestions.

    Comment by Tom — October 9, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

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