ELIOT — The bartender at the Shipyard Brew Pub asked the old man seated next to me to remind her of the number of his mug.

“Twenty-eight,” he said. “That’s the year I was born.”

She fished mug No. 28 from dozens hanging above the bar, filled it with beer and set it out on the counter in front of him.

The gentleman, to whom I took an instant shine because he was born the same year as my late father, proceeded to tell me his life story over the next 30 minutes.

Or at least the important parts. Like my father, he served in the Korean War. But unlike my dad, he saw action. He flew a few dozen bombing missions and came out unscathed. He married the love of his life, and they raised a family together in New Hampshire.

His wife died several years ago. He fell in love again, and recently suffered the loss of the second love of his life.

“I’ve been lucky in love, twice,” he told me, his upbeat tone betraying a heavy sadness.

Every Sunday, he shows up at the Shipyard Brew Pub for a beer. Usually just one beer, enough to whet his whistle and stay in touch with the regulars. He lives in an apartment close enough to walk, although he usually drives.

That’s what I like about the Shipyard Brew Pub. It’s local and friendly, and despite its location in an otherwise unremarkable strip mall, it’s a remarkable place. The conversations flow easily among first-timers and regulars, especially on Sundays when the bloody Marys, mimosas and margaritas are on special.

As its name implies, the Shipyard Brew Pub serves Shipyard beers, with a half dozen on tap. The menu consists of solid pub fare: burgers, wings, nachos, and a full range of sandwiches, wraps and fish dishes.

I was flying solo on this outing, and ordered a cup of clam chowder ($5.99) and the steak-and-cheese sandwich ($9.99). Both were very good.

I love clam chowder, but I’m picky. It has to be thick and creamy, and I want more than a mere morsel of clam and potatoes in every spoonful. I also like oyster crackers, and prefer two bags to one so I can continue to add them to the chowder as I work my way to the bottom of the cup.

The Shipyard Brew Pub satisfied my chowder demands.

The steak-and-cheese sandwich worked for me, as well. The steak was thinly shaved, and the sandwich loaded with onions, bell peppers and mushrooms – but not so much of each that they overwhelmed the sandwich. They complemented it.

The melted American cheese gave the concoction enough paste to hold it all together. It was served on a chewy sub roll, which I cut in half for ease of eating. I enjoyed every bite.

It was served with fries and a pickle, both of which were unmemorable.

By the time I finished my meal, my older friend had left. He was true to his word: One beer, and then home. He had a turkey in the oven and didn’t want to overcook it.

I, meanwhile, ordered another beer and sat back to watch the Red Sox on the TV over the bar.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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