Tuesday, July 19, 2011

H. Harper Station's staff education meeting: Scotch 101

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Last Thursday, I went to H. Harper Station’s weekly staff education meeting. It’s a new thing the restaurant is doing — inviting people to come learn about the different types of alcohol at their bar, so that their customers can be (theoretically) as educated as their staff, and can stop bothering their staff with dumb questions. I went on the second week of the event; their first open meeting was all about bourbon, and I sat in on Scotch 101.

The meeting was held in the front of the restaurant, which was separated from the back by a curtain. We sat down with about ten other guests at a long wooden table, adorned with big and small mason jars and small tasting glasses. The tasting and learning lasted about an hour and was led by Callie Schlosser, one of H. Harper Station’s owners and leaders of the bar program, with owner and head barkeep Jerry Slater pouring the Scotch and adding some of his knowledge here and there.

The meeting was basically taught like a class — the history of Scotch, the different ways it’s made, the dramas that ensue when people disagree on how it should be made — but a friendly, comfortable class where you weren’t afraid to ask questions or admit that you knew absolutely nothing about Scotch. We sampled five different Scotches with varying degrees of strength — from regular, whoosh to your head alcohol taste to so peaty it tasted like drinking a campfire — and learned a little about each one and why they tasted the way they did. Then, we’d pour out our leftover Scotch into the big mason jars, and watch in dismay as the unwanted scotch levels grew and grew. Unfortunately, no one at my side of the table seemed to be too keen on the drink — our mason jar had more than double the amount at the end of the meeting than the other three had.

I probably won’t drink Scotch again any time soon, but I think I’d go to one of these meetings again. It was fun and different and so much more interesting than I thought it would be — who knew Scotch was such a multilayered topic? — and would be good for a first date. Hopefully, they’ll do a class like girly mixed drinks 101 or alcohol for those who don’t like to taste their alcohol 101. But even if they don't, I'd be happy to go back.

H. Harper Station's Staff Education Meetings
When: Thursdays from 10 - 11 p.m.
Price: $15 - $20, depending on the subject
Upcoming Classes: July 21 - Bitters and Amaro. July 28 is the restaurant's guest bartender night, and the August schedule of classes should be coming out soon.
Call 678-732-0415 for reservations.

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