FISGARD 150 BAVARIAN LAGER—No secret, this is a weird beer

My Fellow Inebriates,

Yesterday our next-door neighbor (the nice one, on the right) said, “So, I heard you’re moving.” Her four-year-old, informed by our four-year-old, had told her, and she was clearly wondering why we hadn’t.

Meanwhile, the nasty neighbors on the left had started shuffling round their yard, overregulating their children’s water-play, effectively wringing any possible fun out of it and raising the general neighborhood stress level.

We wanted to say, “We haven’t told anybody, because of people like that.” But instead my mum shrugged and said something idiotic like, “Yeah, we’ve never really fit into this whole townhouse thing.”

For numerous reasons this may be true:

  • the excessive clutter in the yard, including a dirt-encrusted water table, discarded bubble-soap containers, and irreparably punctured “spraying beach ball” beneath which a wood-beetle colony is thriving, plus a Frisbee for anyone interested in hurling such a thing five meters
  • enough bikes, strollers, and scooters for seven children, slung all over the yard
  • the buckled-beyond-repair garage door with the gaping hole, plus spare parts (described as “scrap metal” in a recent Strata Council warning letter)
  • my mother’s proven inability to limit her blue language in a community where even a whisper travels the distance of several units

Our mean neighbors to the left, whose children must tiptoe around their little show home (“don’t touch the walls!”), will undoubtedly do a happy dance when we move. But we’ll miss the nice neighbors on the right with their friendly clutter-rivalry (they have a double stroller sunning itself in the rhododendron bed). We’ll also miss their fearless little four-year-old and the way she tears into our home sopping wet, whipping a spray of hose-water over the laminate and wondering about a snack.

But the new LBHQ is a better fit. It’s an older house in a quiet neighborhood near the kids’ school, with a large, cedar-enclosed back yard plus a capacious deck—the perfect place to pound a case of beer or prance around in a thong audience-free. My dad is really excited about the deck.

Still, the (nice) neighbors very pointedly asked yesterday what we were doing. Why hadn’t my parents mentioned our upcoming change of digs?

We do like these neighbors. We plan to keep in touch with them. But sheer childish perversity prevented my mother from enlightening them. Presumably they were wondering when and if we could have possibly sold the current LBHQ with its astonishing mess and lack of realtor staging—its lack of a realtor, in fact. If anything, this just demonstrates the fishbowl aspect of townhouse living. Everyone, no matter how nice, is in your business.

Scary liked having a BBQ, but he likes having secret satellite more.

But my parents have a secretive side. (For years they’ve concealed inside a gutted barbecue a forbidden satellite dish, through the cover of which our favorite shows happily penetrate. If anyone wonders why we don’t barbecue anything, that’s why, people. We’ve derived inordinate delight from pulling the BBQ cover over the Strata Council’s eyes all these years, although occasionally my dad wishes he could have a steak.) My parents grew up in a time when people didn’t talk about money and pay scales and what your house sold for in the shitty market du jour.

Fact is, my parents haven’t done anything with the townhouse yet. But they’re moving, and once they’ve moved, they’ll sort it out. That’s what they told me, at least. Far easier to tidy up a house when the kids aren’t living in it. Easier than impossible, that is.

So the packing starts this week. Books first, then second-string kitchen crap. Who knows, maybe we’ll actually junk some of it this time.

Watching my parents mobilize for the move is exciting. Not just because we’ll be in novel surroundings, but because when people move, they buy beer. They buy cases of it. And then they buy pizza, which makes them thirsty for more beer. And that makes moving awesome.

As long as nobody buys another Premium Pack from Lighthouse Brewing. OMG, I can’t tell you what a slog it’s been getting through it. When my mum declared it undrinkable, my dad and I had to step up and finish it, otherwise we couldn’t create the fridge vacuum that nature would abhor. Seriously, if my dad and I didn’t finish those Lighthouse beers, we’d never be able to buy more beer!

The most tolerable of the lot was FISGARD 150 BAVARIAN LAGER. Straw-colored and fizzy, it offers a basic aroma profile—grass, corn, and leafy hops—with an exception: that persistent, cloying overripe fruit note that predominates in its three Premium Pack casemates. Only the note is much subtler in FISGARD 150.

On the palate the lager is mild with some background orchardiness and a slightly sour endnote. Even when ice-cold, FISGARD 150 somehow doesn’t achieve refreshment; it tastes uncharacteristically musty for a lager, while noncommittally fruity. It’s a weird-tasting beer, but the weird taste doesn’t redeem it in any way. There’s nothing entertaining about an odd compost odor lurking in, of all things, a Bavarian lager.

So this one’s off our list for the move.

OK SPRING 1516 BAVARIAN LAGER—Fantasy beer for the shackled

I spent the afternoon somewhat compromised.

Abandoned like a piece of prey to be carved up later, I had only positive thoughts to sustain me.

At first I tried to remember the most sublime alcoholic product I’d ever had, but then it occurred to me that I wouldn’t want to create a permanent association between my pre-K torture and say, some fantastically mind-blowing whisky. Plus I was thirsty. So I focused my thoughts on something refreshing but average.

A couple of months ago we bought an Okanagan Spring sampler pack. Of the four beers it included I forgot to review one, which came raging back into memory as I lay shackled by a hair bauble: 1516 BAVARIAN LAGER, brewed to commemorate Duke Wilmhelm IV’s 1516 declaration of the Bavarian Purity Law, or Reinheitsgebot.

Okanagan Spring’s 1516 BAVARIAN LAGER conforms to this historic law, being constituted of nothing but barley, hops, yeast, and water. (Which makes me wonder what the other beers in the OK Spring line-up contain.) Clear straw-yellow with a full paw of foam, it gives off a hayfield aroma—slightly malty and lightly hoppy without any attention-grabbing characteristics.

On the palate 1516 BAVARIAN LAGER follows through with uncomplicated hoppiness and malt plus snappy carbonation. Crisp and light, it’s definitely a summer player—a beer you’d pound quickly from a paper bag at the beach, for instance, before it warmed up and became less palatable (or before the cops arrived and seized your cooler). 1516 BAVARIAN LAGER is a decent, serviceable lager, but not particularly memorable, although it could be if you were in an extended hostage situation and overwhelmed by thirst.