The Caravanserai is the oldest inn recorded in Tradeburg's public records. Located near the junctions of several busy trading routes, it has enjoyed a long, prosperous, and colorful history.
It lies outside of Tradeburg's Economic Control Zone, and thus is not subject to local taxation, but does lease services from the City's Management.
The actual origins of the Caravanserai are lost in the undocumented past, although references to it have been found in preserved historical literature in all corners of the land.
According to "The Official History of Tradeburg," an actual Caravanserai had existed at this location for a very long time when the city itself was a fledgling settlement. At that time, trading caravans would leave the routes to make temporary camp, a practice that made for interaction between traders and led to the establishment of an open air market. The point at which the Caravanserai Inn and its Tavern were established is uncertain, but it quickly attracted other travelers, among them questing heroes, renegades, bandits, and other unsavory types. The tavern's reputation began to deteriorate as the clientele became rougher. Eventually the property fell into the hands of Organized Criminals who placed a stranglehold on all business activity, eventually causing the burgeoning city of Tradeburg substantial financial losses.
The inn was bought by Harold "Happy" Brewer, who built, and later expanded, a highly successful brewery on the property. The economic impact was enormous, and, over the next few years, effected a local shift away from subsistence agriculture towards a more intensive production of ingredients for the brews being produced.
As the trade routes expanded, and traffic increased Tradeburg found itself at the center of a dynamic trade network, and The Caravanserai benefited greatly thereby. Situated closer to the trade routes than Tradeburg it became a meeting place for merchants who wanted to avoid paying gate tolls.
Tradeburg City Council has consistently rejected calls to annex the property for taxation purposes citing that "... while The Caravanserai's reputation as a successful business is obvious, its overriding shortcomings as a cultural property exhibiting Tradeburg's values should trump any consideration of a closer association between it and the city."
The Caravanserai offers what has been called a "short list" of "exceptional quality and spirit." Beginning with "Happy" Brewer, and continuing since, proprietors have consistently offered a range of products that are acclaimed (and arguably rightly so) as the only beers fit to drink.
Fire in the Hole - Made with toasted local hops and fine barley, this amber ale has a complex interplay of flavors. Described as "smooth and easy drinking," it is a staple of the house, and a go-to among local patrons.
Smokey the Beer - Award-winning and widely renowned, this stout will cuddle you for a while, before mercilessly mauling whatever sense of sobriety you may have left. Once more, roasted hops and barley give this brew a smooth, easy-going character that disguises the fact that the alcohol content is closer to industrial grade than drinking. You must try this brew, if only once.
Li'l Red - This is a feisty red ale that aims to please right across the board. With the house's characteristic smoothness, an edge of hops, and a floral finish, it definitely deserves a row in your beer fridge.
Broken Dream - A full-bodied lager with strong color and a playful bouche, this exciting offering will amuse and delight with bright yet sultry, mysterious tones and a bittersweet end.
Old Hag - One of the oldest recipes of the house, this IPA will determine if you really do love your bitters. Made with only the most select hops, this bright, floral brew has a distinct and forward taste that any true hop lover can enjoy.
The Caravanserai Brewery also offers a range of specialty beers and ciders, as well as jacks and aperitif's, all made from ingredients grown and processed locally, as well as custom brewing and batching.
Food and Entertainment
The Caravanserai doubles as a marginal restaurant. It's not far from Tradeburg. You may want to eat there, instead.
The tavern has a reputation for being a "rough joint." The Tradeburg Police maintain a detachment nearby - complete with jail - and there is a trauma clinic located right next door, which can be accessed by direct breezeway from the tavern. Patrons are advised that the house will not be held liable for any injury or loss incurred as a result of interactions with the serving staff.
Entertainment is provided mainly by the patrons themselves. Demonstrations of various forms of martial arts and weapons-handling occur daily. Recitations of historic events and storytelling are also common. Frequent theological debates are also common, and have been known to become highly volatile.
If you're lucky, you won't be there on one of the nights that the house band, "Heffalump Plop," makes one of its irregular appearances. Management has been known to lock the doors to keep patrons inside during the band's set. No flareguns allowed.
Notable History and Associations
Louie "Make Me an Offer I Can't Refuse" Giaccanetti, the inn's first recorded owner, was arrested and charged with Racketeering and Tax Evasion. The Caravanserai was seized to pay back taxes, and quickly sold to Mickael "Shifty" Long, a former Tradeburg City Councilor.
Three years after the inn transferred ownership, a group of heroes protesting a hike in the price of beer seized the tavern. After allowing the staff to leave, they proceeded to drain the kegs. The protest ended peacefully when the group realized they had run out of beer and massive hangovers were imminent.
Harry "Happy" Brewer bought the Caravanserai and several adjacent parcels of land. Besides growing cereal grains, he experimented with growing various varieties of hops and barley, at first using them in a small home brewery. Several years later, he built a commercial-scale brewhouse, and began using the tavern as a launching point for his products. Despite his best efforts to the contrary, the reputation of the tavern as a "rough" house increased.
Lillian "Li'l Red" Redfern, a server at the tavern, was acquitted of five counts of malicious mayhem when the judge ruled that her statement, "If one more of you filthy dogs grabs my arse, you're going to pull back a bloody stump," constituted fair warning and that her subsequent actions were justified and reasonable.
An Inter-Guild Drink-a-thon for the Benefit of the Benevolent Society of Tradeburg raised 185,000 coins over three days. Participants declared that they were the real beneficiaries, and that they would have gladly extended the event. The Benevolent Society of Tradeburg called it the single most significant monetary donation they had ever received. The Tradeburg Medical Society called it the biggest incident of mass alcohol poisoning they had ever treated.
Tradeburg City Council unanimously voted an indefinite moratorium on calls for annexation of The Caravanserai and the associated assets on its properties. In an off-the-record interview, a councilor stated:
"As much as we'd like to get a finger into that pie the risk of losing it should be obvious. Why would we risk it? Granted it's a cash cow, but on many levels it would cost us more than we should be willing to commit."
Another unidentified Councilor added:
"Some of us aren't going to send our Police into Harm's Way. No logical, sane person would, or could."
While yet another stated:
"It aint gonna happen. Forget about it."
The Caravanserai is a can't-miss destination for the dedicated brewery tourist. Gourmands and food tourists can feel free to skip it. Regardless, all visitors are advised to take precautions, in the form of either a bodyguard or durable weaponry, and to leave the kids at home.
- Published as a series of pamphlets by the Tradeburg Historical Society, but presently out of print.
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