The secret history of The Big One & The Other One.

Liquid Diet headquarters is being besieged by emails asking the same frantic question.  Okay, there were three emails, but I am sure each one represents thousands of eager readers. At least, I’m going with that theory for now.

Who or what, they ask, is The Big One? (see last post)

It is a story that goes back to early January 2000. The doomed New Road Brewhouse, just opened, was beginning to build an audience as beer geeks discovered Brian O’Reilly and his beers. I walked in one Friday night and was grabbed by O’Reilly, who in those days had some respect for me( aside from the “grabbing” thing),  before I could get to the bar. “There’s two guys at the bar who were treated badly by a bartender last week and I’m trying to make it up to them,” he said. “I think they are the  sort of customers we’ll need. Come over here and meet them and be nice to them.”

He walked me down the bar and introduced me to tall and ungainly Dan Bengel and un-tall and semi-gainly Steve Rubeo. I, of course, charmed them immediately with my wit and wisdom, all the while turning that “the sort of customers we’ll need” description over and over in my mind, trying to come to grips with it. If I was seeing the future, I was not so sure it was going to work.

The following week they were there again. “Which one is which?” I asked O’Reilly. And thus was born The Big One (Bengel) and The Other One (Steve), a pair who were the putative heroes of many a tale told at the original Liquid Diet site in those early years when the world was bright and new and we all were so much more innocent. Other legends from those halcyon days who wandered through these chronicles were the likes of Wandering Joe, Pinky (the official Liquid Diet trained assassin), The Good Huber & the Bad Huber, The Shoemaker’s Son and the guy who never left, Richard Ruch.  Also, since every ongoing adventure story needs must have a villain, there was….Cruella (yes, that really was a cold chill you suddenly felt>. Good times, long gone. Things change, the world spins on, memories become history and history becomes but a memory.

On the other hand, Mr. Bengel is apparently on the verge of fulfilling a life-long dream come next Spring. This is from a Facebook post  by someone purporting to be him which startled the internets last Friday:

On March 12 2011, in Limerick Pa, at the lovely Turtle Creek CC/Waltz’s Golf Farm, the first brewfest (and maybe not the last) in the area since Ortlieb’s at Sunnybrook nearly 8 years ago. It has been a dream of mine for a couple of years to pull this off and it looks like it is going to happen. Much more details as the weeks go on.

There’s a tone and a rhythm to that which sounds Bengel-ish (“much more details,” as an example) but the overall correct spelling and punctuation makes me a tad suspicious. In the search for the truth, the Liquid Diet staff will stay on this story like BeerAdvocates on the trail of a rare and hard to get beer. Well, maybe with not quite that level of mindless dedication. We are only human after all.


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