Herewith, a long-overdue disclaimer:
I, Liquorstore Bear, am NOT a clinician of any stripe. I am not even a human being! I am a small bear with a big predilection for drinking.
But I do live with humans who also like to have the odd drink. And after over a decade of wine, beer and spirits tasting with them, we’ve all had occasion to muse, “Am I an alcoholic?”
For me the answer is simple: YES.
For my parents the answer is NO, at least for now.
But the three of us are always pondering a bunch of alcohol-related questions:
- What precisely IS an alcoholic?
- What is the BEST way to include alcohol in your life and still HAVE a life?
- At what point does a person (or bear) become an alcoholic?
- Are there people (or bears) who simply CANNOT drink?
- Can you be an alcoholic, then cease to be an alcoholic?
- Can an alcoholic become a moderate drinker?
- What’s the precise cost/benefit ratio when it comes to drinking?
Over the coming weeks and well into 2018, Liquorstore Bear will be tackling these and other ambitious questions. Full disclosure: this is WAY above my paygrade (and I don’t even have a paygrade). But Oprah says follow your passion, so that’s what I’m gonna do, my fellow inebriates. Stay tuned!
And please comment with YOUR burning questions about alcohol. I promise you I don’t know the answers right now, but I will FIND them!
My long-time fellow inebriates will remember this post…
TO PUMPKIN BEER
I do believe I’ve had enough
Of Halloween-inspired beer.
I started with an open mind
But now I find these products queer.
If hops and barley weren’t enough,
The ghosts and goblins usher in
A cornucopious array
Of “pumpkin” everything but gin.
It’s not like I would ever turn
This autumn merchandise away.
My paws would tremble violently
Without a sip to start the day.
Elysian and Fernie ale,
Lost Souls and Schadenfreude—
My parents wouldn’t buy them all;
At first I was a bit annoyed.
But as we sampled one or two,
Then three and four and five,
The odds seemed most uncertain that
The hops and gingered cloves would jive.
Essentially I just want booze,
Not cinnamon or nutmeg musk,
Nor allspice-dusted candied yams—
Just alcohol from dawn to dusk.
For this my girlfriend says I’m shite,
Unworthy of a hug or cuddle.
That’s fine, I say, but what about
A beer that’s not a flavor muddle?
And then the bottles, people, look!
Each with a creepy pumpkin head…
They scare the shit out of this bear,
Redoubling his existing dread.
Perhaps purveyors of these brews
Don’t realize that I live in fear?
With Scary, Fluffy, and Miss P,
Why would I want scares from my beer?
If only talismanic power went
Along with this autumnal fare;
I’d ward off Fluffy and his twin,
Instead I reek not just of malt
But ginger barf and pumpkin tart.
If Mum gets just one rancid whiff,
An evil Maytag ride might start. (OMG!)
So goodbye, spicy cookie notes
Confounding my October ale.
You’ve left your dark kavorka* on
My moustache, chin, and furry tail.
When Halloween has come and gone,
I’ll give these funny beers a pass
Unless, again, I find myself
With DTs chomping at my ass.
*thanks again, beerbecue
OMG, my fellow inebriates. I glanced at the gerbil tank (which I rarely do because I’m terrified of the gerbils’ ability to chew and shred). And what did I see?
It was Cocoa the Gerbil, villainously gnawing on the box that used to contain LAGAVULIN 8 YEAR OLD 200TH ANNIVERSARY WHISKY. Where did he get that box??? And where was the bottle?
In a panic I ransacked the kitchen looking for the bottle. Surely it had to be there, with the two inches I remembered of smoky, peaty yet round and buttery not to mention complex whisky. OMG, where was it? Under the sink I went looking for at least an EMPTY bottles from which to inhale the tarry, honey-roasted, briny dregs. But the recycling had gone out days before, apparently with my precious Lagavulin.
This was unforgivable. Not just because my dad and his friend R had finished it, but because Cocoa was now having his way with the box! I’m terrified of Cocoa at the best of times, and here he was lording it over me that my beloved whisky had been drained.
What the hell was I doing while Dad and R inhaled its sublime smoky yet fruit-forward notes, then sampled its gently charry, burnt-sugar flavour with its hints of licorice and seaweed followed by a baking-spice kick? WHAT WAS I DOING?!!
I was avoiding Cocoa, that’s what. My dad has finally found an effective guard for his liquor. As long as that gerbil tank stands between me and the kitchen, all booze is off limits.