Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My absence, my explanations, and bargain beers

Dear Faithful Readers, Shareholders, and Employees:

Clearly, I have not been posting recently. Perhaps you think I quit writing or drinking or both or just quit writing about drinking. 

Unfortunately, none of the above are correct - in theory. So speaking theoretically, I have not quit.  Empirically though, it seems that up until today I had. Quit, that is.

Perhaps I owe an explanation? Maybe I just got lazy. Maybe I got busy with other things - running a publicly traded Fortune 500 company sometimes has more pressing matters than it's flagship blog. Or maybe, like most corporate presidents, I just got bored.

Or maybe, just maybe, the dark heart from which I write shrinks a little more with each day I spend with my beautiful sunbeam of a daughter. Perhaps the black balloon that has been tied to my wrist for so many years has begun to lose air. And while I welcome all the joy she has brought me, writing happy has not come so easy. Hopefully, it is merely a transition. Or maybe it is just that the little lady has begun to walk and run and dance and regardless of the shade of my heart, who the hell has the time?

Or maybe, just maybe, I was reading Lonesome Dove. Nine hundred some pages later and I sold the Beer on my Shirt office space and bought a few too many cattle, stole one too many horses, grew a beard, and then got in my car and drove to Montana - clearly missing what it really means to drive cattle. Pony P and several other BOMS employees came along, as they no longer had an office to work in, and eventually we found ourselves sleeping under the stars. Somehow everyone but myself and Pony acquired an illness akin to rabies, but of the genitals, after they were talked into bedding down, as a group, with a flop-eared she-wolf. I avoided taking part in such a scandal as that night it just so happened I was wearing my "All She-Wolfs Are Bitches" t-shirt. And as you may have guessed - I was not extended an invitation to join the group, as the She-Wolf, suprisingly, tends to be a sensitive creature. Pony was not invited to join in because some of the other guys thought having a pony tail mixed into an already volatile sexual cocktail could be confusing, and potentially misleading, whilst in the throes of passion.  No worries though, we did manage to cure my colleagues' rabid privates with a little help from a medicine women - I believe she went by the name Dr. Quinn. Nice lady. Great fashion sense. 

Or maybe, just maybe, my dog gave birth to a beautiful puppy - which is weird because we had her spade about 1.5 years ago. Apparently, it didn't take. What is also weird is that she is rarely around other dogs, specifically dogs with actual testicles. We were puzzled. Then these three other dogs showed up at my door with gifts, most of which sucked, and all my water turned to wine, which really sucked because I had just put in a load of whites. Totally ruined. The entire load? Yes, totally ruined.  I had to go out and buy all new briefs, socks, t-shirts, pants, wristsbands, a headband, compression stockings, towels, and long sleeve turtlenecks.  Not to mention that I think this new dog thinks he is better than me, acting like he runs shit and shit, and frankly that is just not alright with me. Add to that list of expenses and hardships the fact that I now buy twice as much dog food and I am totally broke, both in the wallet and spiritually, as I am near certain that I am the low man on this totem pole of canine religion.

Or maybe, just maybe, I got my first case of the hemorrhoids. The only thing more horrific than trying to spell hemorrhoids is actually having hemmorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are the anatomical equivalent of a civil war. A rebellion of sorts. A seccession from the union, or at least a valiant attempt. Your asshole is basically saying "I am sick of your shit." Never has that statement carried more literal meaning than when my hemorrhoidicidal (it's like homicidal, but with with hemorrhoids) sphincter is screaming it. The troubling thing about it is that, as a child, I made a list of things I did not want to experience as an adult. Hemorrhoids was up in the top 8 with cancer, expired vehicle registration, white sneakers, overdraft fees on my checking account, Tommy John surgery, back hair, and meningitis (Really, I just don't want any neck pain, but as a child I thought neck pain was called meningitis thanks to the strange medical humor my mother, the nurse, often espoused while passing bedside judgement not only on my ailments but on my ability to accurately and honestly describe my symptoms. Her thermometer measured my integrity more than my temperature.).

Or maybe, just maybe, I found a small bald spot at the bottom of my testicles - about the size of a dime, maybe a bit smaller (I'm referring to the bald spot, not the testicles).  I found it while checking for lumps and herniations while in the shower, something my doctor said I should do - more for lumps than hernias but I have an irrational assumption that I am one tough cough away from a hernia.  And technically, I guess the bald spot is on my scrotum, not my actual testicles, as I assume the entirety of my testicles are hairless.  If having hemorrhoids is the anatomical equivalent of a civil war, then finding a small bald spot at the bottom of your scrotum is the anatomical equivalent of having a dream that someone bought you one of those hairless cats and at first you thought is was strange but then you slowly realized how magically smooth it was and how affectionate it could be and you gradually overcame its freakish appearance and became very attached to it in a way you didn't think was possible - and then you wake from said dream depressed that it was only a dream and wondering where you'll ever get the money to buy your own hairless cat.  Then you realize it wasn't a dream at all because lying next to you in the bed, snuggled up all close, is this horrifying-to-look-at but exquisite-to-touch hairless cat - so you lay in bed all day petting what you are sure must be the softest, smoothest thing to have ever existed.  That is what the bald spot at the bottom of my scrotum is like.

Perhaps one or none of the above reasons explains my lack of posting, perhaps they all ring true, but regardless of what you believe, believe this - money is a bit tight - after having to replace all the white garments in my house, buying Tucks medicated pads by the truckload, paying back the livestock guy for that disastrous cattle drive, and paying a kid to mow my grass while I'm in bed messing with my bald spot.  All these new expenses require that I cut costs in other areas - like beer. I have been searching out delicious beers at bargain prices.  So here are three of my favorites at a price point at around $30 or lower per case.

Uinta Brewing's Hop Notch IPA (7.3% ABV) is a great IPA - and I don't mean "great for the price", this would be great at just about any price. Gold in color, bright in flavor, and with a smooth malt finish - I would put this up there with any of my favorite IPA's.  And I did - I drank one after having a bottle of Stone's Ruination IPA, perhaps my all time favorite IPA, and it held up pretty well.  The hops were a bit more subdued and the malt profile finished noticeably different, but overall I still loved it.  One thing to note about this and many other IPA's, really many other beers, is that out of the bottle this beer is a bit much - when you take that hop bitterness and funnel it through a bottle neck it can become overpowering. Straight out of a bottle, your lucky to finish two of these with out making a face.  But pour it into a glass and your drinking these all night.  One time I drank six of these.  In a row.

Lancaster's Brewing's Kolsch (4.8% ABV) is perfect for hot weather drinking - and tastes absolutely great straight from the can.  I picked this up for $25 at a little beer distributor I drove past in the middle of nowhere on my way back from Philadelphia and haven't been able to find it since.  I even sent one of our part-time employees to a couple places in search of it and it continues to elude me.  But regardless, this is a German Style Kolsch Ale, which has a lot of the same face-value characteristics of a light lager - the pale straw color, slight floral hop aroma and flavor, next to nothing bitterness, and a malt character that makes this go down easy.  Sometimes too easy.

Victory Brewing's Headwaters Pale Ale (5.1% ABV) is another that I picked up at that middle of nowhere beer distributor.  This might be my new favorite pale ale (Bell's Pale Ale was my previous favorite). The hops in this beer are what seal it for me - very floral and herbal - with crisp finish.  The first time I drank this was straight from the bottle and it was like drinking a bottle of perfume, which I really struggled with.  It was also the end of a what had been a long day of sampling and drinking, and I was not expecting the hop kick this beer offers.  But the second time I had it, I poured it into a typical pint glass and was blown away. I love this beer. (But wouldn't recommend it if your not in the mood for hops.)