Sunday, January 01, 2006


One of the more popular items that Bill’s sold was keg beer. We had more variety and sizes of kegs than any other store around and so we delivered quite a few during the warm months.

We sold the keg and would include a container and ice for a small additional fee; telling the customer that we could provide everything they needed for the perfect party. And it was my job to “tap” the kegs for most customers, something that I became quite good at performing. I think “performing” is the appropriate word to use, as a crowd would always gather to watch me practice my craft of tapping the keg and producing the perfect first glass of beer with just the right amount of foam.

I will always remember one particular keg that I didn’t tap…I received an order to take a half keg (15 gallons) to an address in Westchester. We rarely delivered to that city, but for a half keg order, we would do it. At this time, the VW van had been retired and we drove a new 1958 Chevy delivery sedan. This car had a 6 cylinder engine and a 3 speed column shift manual transmission. I placed the keg on a hand dolly and put the dolly and the keg on its side in the back of the sedan. About half way to Westchester, I had to slam my brakes on to avoid a car in front of me and when I did, I heard a rumbling from the back. The keg and the dolly were rolling at great speed toward the front of the car. I put my hand out to stop it and then thought better of it at the last moment. The keg embedded itself into the dashboard.

I pulled over and inspected the damage. There was nothing to be done except pull the keg back out and continue on. As I drove, I kept thinking that there might be enough time for the contents of that now highly pressurized keg to calm down, but I knew I was just fooling myself.

I pulled up in front of the house and unloaded the keg carefully. I went around to the back of the house where everything was setup for the party…and where about 30 people stood waiting for the beer to arrive.

Imagine how I felt. But then, the homeowner saved me; saying, “It’s OK, I know how to tap a keg. Here…thanks.” And he handed me a $5 dollar tip! I was down the driveway and into the sedan in a flash. I didn’t want to be anywhere near that keg when he drove the pouring spout into it.

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