First of all, everything is FINE. No need to fret, America. We’re doing great. You see they got three different sizes of Big Mac now? There’s a filthy new kind of taco out, too. Plus the meteor we’ve been positively begging for seems to be taking its sweet time in delivering the planetary facial we so richly deserve. Nice!
But these days every silver lining encases an impending mushroom cloud, so I feel obligated to admit that certain parts of our little civilization cosplay aren’t going precisely according to any decent human’s plan. For instance, many bars still serve beer in frosted pint glasses, and America is no longer a functional democracy (remember, we didn’t vote for the new Big Mac sizes, as evidenced by the fact that they come in smaller and larger, rather than larger and largerer).
We each cope with this fascist little pickle in our own way; myself, I mostly go in for the straight white man’s combo of tweeting indignantly and thoughts-and-prayers’ing all the folk they’re going to come for before they get around to storming the gates of my privileged, imperial IPA-moated castle. But also, I’m guilt-kicking a buck to the American Civil Liberties Union for every beer I drink, starting Super Bowl Sunday and ending when some bad mid-level motherfucker at the IRS finally digs deep enough to make Mike Pence president (Christ, there we’ll go again — but it’s the necessary first step).
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Each Thursday in this space, I’ll regale all you lucky fellow travelers with a rundown of what I #drankforgood (hashtag courtesy Chicago’s inspirational drinkforgoodchicago.com) the previous week, and on good weeks I’ll be joined by Special Guest Drinkers from the craft beer world and beyond. Email [email protected] if you’d like to join the battle by keeping a beer diary, sharing it with us, and pledging to donate to the ACLU (or a similarly important progressive organization of your choice) for seven long days’ worth of elbow-bending. Join the party, and follow in the illustrious footsteps of our inaugural donor, Jesse Friedman of San Francisco’s sour ale savants, Almanac Beer Company. I’ll start.
Sunday, February 5
Well, enemies, last Sunday was the Super Bowl, which was won in ridiculous fashion by my begrudgingly least-unfavorite team, the New England Trump Supporteriots. I had some beers that day.
I started off with a 20-ounce pour of Stardust IPA at the Lamplighter taproom right around the corner from my apartment. Then my wife, Emily, and I went to the TD North Garden to watch the Celtics play the Los Angeles Clippers. I had an Allagash White during the first half and a Samuel Adams Hopscape in the second. Everyone knows White is great, but I was pleasantly surprised that the Hopscape, which I guess is some kind of hopped-up winter wheat ale, is as good as Vinepair’s own Nick Hines says. It’s not that Hines is inherently untrustworthy — though I’m not saying he’s the opposite of that, either — but Sam Adams is pretty hit or miss these days. Hopscape is a hit. After the basketball game, I had a 19-33 Pilsner from SingleCut at a bar near the arena. Then it was back to Lamplighter for their excellent Werewolves of Cambridge porter, followed by their Metric Systems gose, which is my favorite rendition of my not-favorite style of beer, then a Notch Session Pils back home on the couch before couch-coaching the Trumptriots through their historic comeback with twin tallboys of Lamplighter’s So Much for Subtlety, the best beer they’ve brewed since opening in November, an Equinox-spiked double IPA that features the full range of modern tropical and citrus flavors yet retains a bitter bite too many New England IPAs are lacking these hazy days. That’s nine beers, many of them on the boozy side, a couple of them in a 20-ounce mug, a few full pints. That was too much. Monday sucked. But, $9 for freedom on day one of the campaign!
Monday, February 6
I was pleased to see the Patriots had still won the Super Bowl when I got up Monday morning. I was also pleased to hold my job throughout the entire day despite showing up 30 minutes late and with no real clear idea how to contribute in any way beyond “don’t touch anything, don’t make eye contact with anyone, absolutely do not answer the phone under any circumstances.” So I celebrated that great achievement with a single Tröegs Nugget Nectar at home after dinner. Nugget Nectar is probably my favorite seasonal beer, a heavily hopped amber ale that makes January worth enduring every year. So just a single buck for the ACLU Monday. I wonder if the rest of the week will be similarly off-dry?
Tuesday, February 7
Nope, wife’s birthday dinner! I started with a Still Friends, a great rye-and-Aperol drink at one of our favorite restaurants, Viale in Central Square, Cambridge. Then we each got a Kiwi Rising, a very good if overly assertive double India pale ale from Jack’s Abby. So, two drinks, not bad, even if they were both on the stiff side. But then when I got home I saw a sample had arrived from Rueben’s Brews in Seattle. It was Blimey That’s Bitter! a truthfully advertised 10.5 percent ABV imperial IPA that I enjoyed very much and had no business downing a bomber of on a work night. Because once you do something that reckless, it seems like a reasonable idea to have a Metric Systems gose/blueberry liquor nightcap. Let’s call it eight drinks on the night, with the Blimey That’s Bitter counting as four. Up to 18 in three days.
Wednesday, February 8
I didn’t drink any alcohol on this one fine day. I am going to live forever.
Thursday, February 9
This was the first blizzard of the year. I worked from home, in that rare and shitty way where you actually work for most of nine straight hours, so I never found the time to snowshoe to a bar. Instead I had a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout after dinner, followed by a Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold with a shot of Rittenhouse rye. I split the BCS with Emily, but I’m sure I had at least 10 ounces, and it’s 13.7 percent ABV, so let’s call that two drinks, four for the day.
Friday, February 10
This was another gentle one: half a 12-ounce bottle of Mystic Spectral Evidence imperial stout, a So Much for Subtlety, and half a pint can of Trillium Dialed-in with Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer. Gewurztraminer is the best white wine to blend with imperial IPA. Three drinks.
Saturday, February 11
Look, my flight to Puerto Rico was delayed two hours and the cat sitter managed to fuck up her five-day assignment before we even got off the ground. So, yes, I had two 23-ounce IPAs before noon, Wormtown’s excellent Be Hoppy at the airport Legal Sea Foods and a Back Bay IPA at the lesser of the two Boston BeerWorks locations in Logan Airport Terminal C. Then I had a couple of Lagunitas 12th of Never pale ales on the plane. That’s the best new Lagunitas beer in years, a fruity and weedy 5.5 percent pale ale that I will seek out again. Once we landed, I had a Medalla Light, a truly awful Puerto Rican adjunct lager that I adore, then a Lagunitas Sucks, a Bell’s Two Hearted IPA, a Boulevard Calling IPA, a Founders Centennial IPA, and a pair of Bell’s HopSlam (which you can apparently get by the single at the sketchy vape shop a block from my hotel!?!). That was probably too much beer in one day. Let’s round up for the large airport beers and the booze IPAs and call it 14. Yikes, and 49 drinks for $49. That’s absurd, but also a week that contained the Super Bowl, Emily’s birthday, and the first day of vacation. Maybe we can keep it under four dozen next week?
This week’s special guest drinker was Jesse Friedman, cofounder and brewmaster of San Francisco’s Almanac, one of America’s finest producers of real, wild, barrel-aged, sour ales. Jesse is a good dude, and the week after the inauguration he began selling A.C.L.I.B.U. in his taproom, a pale ale to benefit the country’s most important civil rights organization (I’m all for the smaller, grass-rootsier operations, too, but the ACLU gets shit done). I asked him how he got down last week, and this is the report:
Super Bowl at Almanac SF Taproom
Mosaic low rider x2
Framboise for a cure 2013 3L
Petroleum by Cerveja Forta Escura
– amburana barrel
– catvalno Frances barrel
Danker’s Team @ Cellarmaker x2
Wide rainbows @ Cellarmaker
At SF Beer Week Opening Gala! (These are tastes, not pints, but…)
Zig zag IPA – Temescal Brewing
Apricot saison – Temescal Brewing
Golden Strong – Henhouse
IPA – Henhouse
Younger – Russian River
Recurring nightmare – Henhouse
Strong scotch ale – Op Republic
Hoprighted dipa – High Water
Idahop 7 – Alameda Island Brewing
Doom bloom iiipa- Barebottle
Scarcity iiipa – Altamont
Compulsory iiipa – Iron Springs
IPA – Mad Fritz
Final final iiipa – Alpha Acid
Headzo – Drakes
White widow iipa- Marin
High esteam – almanac/sudwerk
Bulleit whiskey in taproom office
I’m going to put him down for $35, and I will double that to the charity of your choice if you can provide photographic evidence of the lies he told on Monday and Thursday.
So that gives us a week one total of $84. That’s way too much, and not nearly enough. Let’s do it again next week.