I found Mr. Harada Harada staring at a dancing pig across the street from one of our favorite drinking establishments. The little guy has been shaking his ham hocks high above Montgomery Street since 1948, once the beacon of Stephen’s Meats, a legendarily good sausage maker that finally collapsed under the weight of vertical integration developed by the likes of Oscar Meyer.

So, since 2005, the neon pig has been shucking and jiving without purpose, and he’ll soon be asked to vacate the dance floor forever more. Word is that Patty’s Inn will also go due to the Great Google Land Grab.

Mr. Harada stood and stared into the neon and took a hard pull from a brown paper bag. It’s the all too common sign of anti-hyperventilation, a symbol of contemplation about the inevitable passing of time where the past, present and future collide. Taking stock of Mr. Harada’s anxiety, I suggested we visit a taproom on Lincoln Avenue. Rumors abounded about a pleasant establishment recently built inside the bones of a long-gone wine warehouse. I figured it would help Mr. Harada cope with the expectant loss of his beloved piglet.

The location was close enough to walk, so I suggested we “hoof it.” I immediately regretted the choice of words, as Mr. Harada’s eyes swelled with man tears. Luckily, four horsemen were also making their way down the street. The odd group stopped to chat and seemed friendly enough.

The first equestrian had trophies hanging from the saddle; the second was dressed in tactical gear; the third had the look of a model (gaunt and sickly); and the fourth … well, I’m sorry to report the fourth rider looked dead. I assumed he’d just imbibed a bit too much back at the ranch. Directing my queries to the winner-type up front, I asked if they knew what was going to replace Stephen’s neon ballerina and Patty’s Inn. The rider informed us it was a company also known for its sausage fests, which aroused good cheer from Mr. Harada and myself.

We joined the riders on their steeds and triumphantly trotted to Hapa’s Brewing Co. We tied up the horses to the bannister that runs the length of the renovated building and proceeded inside for libations and thoughtful repartee. The airy interior of the brewery showcases the original timbers of the aged building, providing a welcoming feel which only continued when we met the tapmasters.

Hapa’s is an excellent place to enjoy a pint. It’s modern but wears history like a badge of honor. The brewery—one of only a dozen or so in San Jose; a shortage that must be rectified!—combines character with a clean space that allows gentlemen the freedom to muse and move about. The rattle of the light rail floats in through the back doors, adding to the charm. I scanned the menu of offerings and offered to buy a round of the Pillars of Creation (New England double IPA) or the LIttle Angel (mocha porter) for our horsemen friends. Incredibly, my suggestion was met with outrage. Sensitive types, I suppose, they rode off with a mighty thunderclap. This proved fortunate, as I patted my breast pockets and came back empty. I was forced to clean out Mr. Harada’s loose change sock to leverage the necessary capital, including tip!

Mr. Harada and I began to cheer up as we enjoyed the Amish Rifle (red ale), Hungry Dog (IPA), Ghost of Jupiter (double IPA) and Star Queen (New England IPA), all of which were well executed. However, I lament that my efforts were not entirely successful. Mr. Harada was distant, far off, melancholic, as if his mind had floated off to another place and time. He eventually looked over to me, as if to say something important, and quietly slid me a napkin.

It read: “the neon will always glow brighter than those who seek to destroy it.”