Last week, just for fun, I flew out to San Francisco to putter around on their trolleys and trains and busses and so forth. If you’ve never been to the Bay Area, or even if you have, I’d like to tell you some of the things they have out there, because I was frankly pretty surprised by a few of them.
First off, they have a lot of trash. In general, it kind of just floats around and goes under the cars to hide from cleaning people. Some of the garbage is beer detritus, like an Anchor Steam label or an empty hefeweizen can, but as you might expect, the trash is by and large mostly not-beer. For instance, I saw a pair of shoes in the middle of the sidewalk, sitting very purposefully on top of a scratched lottery ticket. I didn’t pick either the shoes or the ticket up, but I did notice them sitting there. You really don’t need lottery tickets out there anyway, just a regular-person job where you go in and type stuff into a computer. They’ll give you a lot of money if you can do that the right way, but I can’t, so I had to come back here.
They have quite a few bars in The Bay, of course, because there are so many people there. And since people really seem to like drinking, bars, drinking in bars, and so forth, it makes good business sense to have a lot of them available. Word to the wise, though: If you go into one of the many San Francisco bars, you should plan on retrieving your own drinks. They don’t seem to have servers in the bars there, is why I say that. Hell, maybe you like waiting in line and yelling. I don’t. That’s why I don’t go to theme parks. Plus I get sick on the rides.
The bars in San Francisco don’t have food, either, but if you’re already waiting in one line for a drink, surely you can walk down the street and wait in another line for some food. What did you want to do, sit down and relax? Go home if you want to do that. If you’ve got one, that is.
The SF Bay Area has what seemed to me at the time like an infinite number of houses, but that’s just because I wasn’t trying to buy one. The truth is, there aren’t nearly enough beds and roofs in San Francisco, and the discrepancy is large, complex, and widening. There are wonderful charities focused on the Bay Area housing epidemic and they could use your help to continue their critical, life-saving work. Raphael House is just one such organization, and their rating on Charity Navigator is pretty good. Check that out if you have some extra coin.
Well, that is the extent of my knowledge about the social and economic conditions of the Bay Area or any other area for that matter, and so now it is time to talk about the beer.
You might think that just because I was across the country from my wife and children, and visiting my friends, and I didn’t have any responsibilities, and I’d never been to California before, and I like beer a lot, that I would go crazy drinking a lot of beers. Well…
Come on, I’m still a grownup. I’ve had beer before, you know? I don’t need to try to get a certain number of beers in over a weekend — there’s no beer cap or brew quota! I can drink a beer whenever I want. It’s no big deal to me; I’m enjoying one right now, in fact. And that’s just one of many facts about me!
The beer I’m enjoying right now is a 9.1 percent ABV, 103 IBU Imperial IPA from Sixpoint Brewery that goes by the name of Resin, and it tastes like someone ran a pine cone through a Keurig. It’s not something I would normally chug, due to what the haters and losers have suggested is my “particularly stupid baby’s palate,” but it’s a good beer, and I am drinking it peacefully. I’m sitting at my desk, in front of the computer, and I have headphones in. I’m listening to mainstream rap music at medium volume, and my chair is flanked on all sides by dog. Resin’s hop flavor is as strong as advertised, if not more so, and I’m sipping it at a slow pace as per my lyrical instructions. The alcohol content gives a focused, contemplative spin to my work, and explains the excellent quality of the prose to this point.
(As an aside, it is particularly convenient for people writing about beer to be able to look at the front of a can and immediately see the ABV and IBU measurements without having to turn the can all around and go nuts looking for the stupid numbers. Plus there’s SRM on there, which I will never mention again because I don’t know or care what it is. I don’t really think there’s a ton of upside, as far as marketing to consumers goes, in making these numbers visible from the grocery store aisles, necessarily, but maybe for me and like 40 other people, it’s really great. And I think all the beer folks should keep doing it if that’s what they like to do.)
Plus, the can is green, which is like pot. It’s like Synchronicity over here, man, I’m telling you.
For all those reasons, I am nominating — and selecting — Sixpoint’s Resin as the first official recipient of The Beer Idiot’s Desk Beer Award. Congratulations to them for making it, and more importantly to me for drinking it. We have all done a wonderful job.
Didn’t get The Desk Beer Award? Felt like you should have been nominated? Believe you should have been invited to my desk to drink the beer with me? Regretting that thought now that I’ve typed it all out and you’ve seen in it the cold light of day? Are you a marketing person with a Google Alert that just went off? Well, don’t despair just yet. We’re rolling out a full slate of awards for all beers on the spectrum, and you’re going to be seeing them all year long, in this space right here. First up, the Q2 awards. Sorry it’s out of order. It’s kind of like Star Wars. ‘Cause it’s about lasers and shit like that.
The Deck Beer Award — My grill is situated on my deck, and I understand that this is a circumstance particular to a vanishingly small number of people. If you don’t have a grill on your deck, you might wonder why anyone would need one there in order to enjoy a beer on it, and to that I would say that you need to buy a grill and put it there to see for yourself. You may also borrow a grill but the results are not guaranteed. On the other hand, if you have a grill but no deck, you may erroneously believe that The Deck Beer Award is applicable to your situation. Please check yourself. Finally, you may consider yourself among the few hopeless individuals without access to any grills or decks. To you, I say nothing.
And now, without further ado, the winner of The Beer Idiot’s Official Deck Beer Award of 2017 is…
21st Amendment Brewery’s Blood Orange Brew Free! or Die IPA!
Ta-da! Great beer here from 21st Amendment, I really enjoyed it. It totally deserves the award for best deck beer right now, and I’ll tell you why. It’s mellow, it’s zesty, it’s got that classic summer citrus flavor that’s right at home in the out of doors, and it’s not gonna run right through you. You can even cook with it if you want, and that sparkling, oily, tart-balanced flavors would brighten up your beer can chicken like nobody’s business. BOBF!ODIPA will lend a BBQ a nice little kick without being too crazy, and more people than not will go for a second one out of the chill chest. And would you just look at that label art? Man alive!
These are among the most essential elements of a Deck Beer, and I daresay 21st Amendment had exactly that in mind when crafting the Blood Orange variant of Brew Free! Or Die. Yes, even beer has award-bait. So consider me a fish! Actually, I’m done with my work, and I may flop out onto the deck right about now.
Have a nomination for a beer or category you think The Beer Idiot Awards should consider? Email me! But please drink the beer yourself first. The committee prefers (responsibly-) informed voters.