INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA—not just for me and my dad!

My Fellow Inebriates,

Usually my dad and I get to bogart all the India Pale Ale that enters LBHQ. My mother’s marshmallow tastebuds can’t tolerate IPA’s “earwax and elastic band” topnotes and she has no comprehension of how symphonic a good IPA can be. So when my dad brought home INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA, I thought we’d be safe from sharing with her. Together we could drink in peace and scratch ourselves as much as we liked.

Innis & Gun Toasted Oak IPABoy, was I wrong. Not only did Mum like INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA; she bellied up to the counter with us and took half of our precious beer! Then she proceeded to marvel about the lack of earwax and elastic bands, the appetizing crystal-gold pour, the complexly hoppy aroma, the delicious toasty taste with buttery golden-rum asides, the refreshing mouthfeel, and the lingering bitter finish! OMG, my fellow inebriates, why didn’t my dad buy twice as much INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA? Then we could have at least knocked my mum out (or wait—maybe not … only 5.6 percent alcohol).

Lest you think Dad and I don’t like Mum—it’s not really like that. We just like keeping all the IPA for ourselves. Dad and I (and Scarybear) take the IPA down to the movie room and watch action movies, knowing she won’t go anywhere near us or our beer. We thought we had a good plan with INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA! We had Transformers: Age of Extinction all lined up! And suddenly there she was with us, suggesting we open a second bottle and discuss books or something. OMG!

Weirdly enough, though, the more INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA we drank, the more my mum started to seem okay—after all, she was being liberal with the bottle opener. And so I thought, too bad for Scarybear and the Transformers movie, but having a couple of IPAs with my parents ain’t that bad.

And then the kids came charging out of their room, seized me from the counter, and dressed me up like a superhero.

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And that, my fellow inebriates, was the last sip for me of INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA.

Bah!

My Fellow Inebriates,

The last year at LBHQ has been like a country music song. My blog has deteriorated to a shadow of its former, pester-you-daily self, and our drinking has indeed subsided to the dull roar my parents had threatened it would. About a hundred beanie boos, including a frighteningly large owl, have invaded the house, leaving no quarter for bears. All our household electronics are on the fritz, including the entertainment room projector, and our inability to zone out in front of an action movie has turned my friend Scarybear (being at loose ends) into more of a threat than usual. And to top it off, Facebook deactivated my account because—get this—I’m not real.

Sometimes I stare into space all day; sometimes I collapse into a little crumpled, furry ball.

Which makes Valentine’s Day downright unwelcome, my fellow inebriates. Especially given that my girlfriend Dolly says I may never refer to her as that, even in the past tense. And so, for all my fellow misfits who have no liquor and no snuggles (again), here are a few pictures.

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fail valentine 4

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Tequila Snap!

I know you’ve all been wondering what’s happened to me. I mean, what the hell? I used to post every day. And now it’s like, every five weeks. The answer, my fellow inebriates, is that a whole bunch of stuff happened.

For starters, did you know that nervous breakdowns aren’t just for people? OMG, right? And I think I had one, my fellow inebriates.

It all started back in summer. My dad was contemplating career change number eleventy. My mum was bouncing between 80- and 30-hour work weeks. Both of them were on Candy Crush level 700 or so. Some months we had $7,000; some months we had $2,000. The kids didn’t know whether we were coming or going. We tried to have a Gin Shoot-Out and lost all our data. We were that messed up around here at LBHQ.

So we did what any logically minded family on the knife-edge between pseudo-intellectualism and outright redneckery would do. We had a tequila party.

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The invitees, aka the usual suspects:

  • The wondrous Christine, with her canvas bag, this time full of treasures such as DON JULIO REPOSADO and my own very tiny bottle of HERENCIA DE PLATA
  • A recent cube-farm colleague of my dad’s, bearing a special French apple cider (not reviewed because my dumbass parents recycled the bottle and I can’t remember what it was called)
  • My dumbass parents, with a cheap big bottle of OLMECA BLANCO
  • Our next-door neighbours G and W, packing ice, coolers, and CARIBOO LAGER
  • My mum’s friend L, ostensibly as a sober observer
  • Children of the above plus random ones from the neighbourhood
  • A bunch of exorbitantly priced Mexican limes
  • Two buckets of blackberries plucked off the bushes outside my mum’s bank (“When was the last time my f*$#%! bank gave me something free?”)

With all those ingredients and more, we were ready to blend. Into the Kitchen Aid went the lime juice, tequila, ice, and free bankberries.

don julioWhile they were blending, we sampled Christine’s DON JULIO REPOSADO. On its last dregs, the bottle produced four thimblefuls, which my dumbass parents prepared to knock back the way you would a shot of CUERVO. Thankfully Christine and I knew better. DON JULIO, far from resembling its cheap Mexican cousins, is more like a fine scotch, wafting mellow honey notes, structured smokiness, and hints of orchard fruit. It is a sipping tequila—something most of our party weren’t aware existed—and it deserves to be savoured for its luxurious palate and mouth-filling texture. There are not enough words to describe how lovely the several viscous drops of DON JULIO that I had were. Ahhhh, Christine, you are a genius.

But you can’t cry over dead things, and that bottle was dead. If I could have crawled inside it like Barbara Eden and soaked up the remainder of the DON JULIO with my fur, I would have, but … on to the blender. It was ready with my mother’s dumbass idea of a margarita—mostly blackberries and lime, precious little OLMECA BLANCO. Almost without exception, every person she handed her concoction to came back minutes later to doctor it up with more tequila. Before long, the OLMECA BLANCO bottle was halfway done, and people were starting to reel around the yard. As usual the kids were going berserk too, and before his neurons got too tequila-saturated, my dad cooked everybody some hamburgers. It was as wholesome as it gets at LBHQ.

Olmeca BlancoThe DON JULIO now a distant memory, it was time to sample the OLMECA BLANCO straight-up. Its fresh, herbal nose was a distinct gear change from DON JULIO. But as far as cheap ($26.99 for 750 mL) tequila goes, you could do a lot worse. Peppery and slightly citrous, OLMECA BLANCO is a nice clean spirit that nevertheless screams margarita. It just belongs with exorbitant Mexican limes—so much so that you find yourself returning again and again to the blender, and then to the bottle to add more tequila. OLMECA BLANCO was a good find.

Our two buckets of bankberries just about kept pace with the OLMECA BLANCO, running out just before anyone became incoherent. But some of our neighbours were not getting along. I couldn’t possibly tell you which ones were arguing/administering the silent treatment because I simply don’t have enough brain cells to hold that information plus two booze reviews. Suffice to say it was human stuff, and the involved parties went home. Christine retreated to our uncomfortable futon, my parents put the kids to bed (sober thanks to my mum’s dumbass notions about how much tequila to put in a margarita), and I passed out on the kitchen counter among the empties. But I was left with a dawning thought—thinking of the incompatibility of some of our neighbours—that alcohol does not in fact bring people together. It does not generate the harmony I once thought. Imagine that, my fellow inebriates!

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Over the next few weeks this thought continued to nag me. Compounding it, my parents said we were going to keep our escapades “down to a dull roar” for the foreseeable future. They made no more tasting plans. They bought no more tequila. And one, or maybe both, of my brain cells snapped.

What do you think, my fellow inebriates? I mean, about this idea that alcohol isn’t a good thing for friendships and families and neighbours? Is it all a load of crap? Or is this just another beastly way of messing with yours truly?

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