PHILLIPS BLUE BUCK ALE—The missing part of Family Day

My Fellow Inebriates,

What’s not to love about British Columbia’s inaugural PR-driven Family Day?

family dayThe day off work/school? For my dad it’s not much of a day off; all day long his phone continues to ring. For my mum, it’s more of an extra day on, given that everybody’s home. And for me it’s just terrifying. In addition to P & V running apeshit through the house, we also have their cousins C & R accompanied by Auntie H and Uncle B (who don’t know I call them that). It’s Family Day, so the family is together—whether it frightens bears or not.

My mum has already screwed up by suggesting a family bowling outing and then failing to call the bowling alley in time to book a lane. Every freaking family in Langley thought of bowling before her, so every alley for miles is booked all day. One idea per day is about my mum’s limit, so everybody’s at LBHQ, doing family things.

Even if bowling’s not on the menu, the kids are happy. Happy, that is, without turning their attention to yours truly. Instead, Auntie H has decided to examine me and ask, “Have you ever put him in the washing machine?”

“No,” says Mum. “He has only two brain cells; if he came out with just one he couldn’t write his blog.”

Says Auntie H, “R’s bunny has been in the wash tons of times. You could put LB in. If you used the gentle cycle and a delicates bag…”

And my mother says: “Hmmm.”

Hmmmmm!! OMFG, my fellow inebriates, it’s fine to love your family but you have to draw the line somewhere. This is the part where Mum should be kicking Auntie H and her brood out, don’t you think? But she is still reflecting:

“His ass is full of beans; they’d never dry out.”

“Bunny’s full of beans,” says Auntie H. “He does fine in the wash.”


pope-benedict-xvi-feb-2013-2Meanwhile, Uncle B is obviously not well. He looks like he’s fighting something off. He declines lunch, he looks tired, and only when my mum starts bitching about the pope’s resignation does he get a little animated. Mum is incensed that the Catholic Church’s head honcho, chosen by God and ordained to die in the saddle, would resign. She sees it as a big PR attempt to give Catholicism a makeover by allowing a pope with a chequered past to exit stage left before any more of his dirty underwear gets exposed. Whereas Uncle B and I think it might be good for Catholicism, and that flouting 600 years of tradition might be a sign of increasing adaptability to a modern world. To which my mum says, “The church doesn’t adapt.”

When you’ve attended a high school that once made you spend all day being a human rosary bead for a “living prayer” ceremony, you might carry this impression of the Catholic Church. But I’m hanging with Uncle B on this one—it might be good for the Vatican. If the Catholic Church gets the opportunity to revamp itself, it should take it. Pope Benedict is super-creepy—a real cosmetic liability that’s only going to get worse as whatever age-related condition he hasn’t disclosed deteriorates in his dotage.

But here’s where my solidarity with Uncle B ends. Get this: he’s allergic to alcohol. I didn’t even know this was a real thing until I googled it. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body is unable to break down alcohol. The only way to prevent alcohol intolerance is to avoid alcohol altogether.”

Holy crap, what kinds of people have alcohol intolerance? People with the gene ADH2*2, which produces a highly active form of alcohol dehydrogenase that tends to discourage heavy drinking. The gene is common among Ashkenazi Jews like Uncle B. Symptoms include flushing, racing heart, and a mean game of chess.

Which meant the beer didn’t flow this afternoon at LBHQ. We had to break it out later. No harm done…just minor DTs…

phillips blue buckAnd the beer? Once again, from our Phillips sampler pack: BLUE BUCK ALE. Once again, 5% alcohol, but we won’t hold that against it. The color is amber-brown with a light cream head. The nose is hoppy and slightly floral with some bready notes and background fruit in moderation. On the palate it packs middle-of-the-road satisfaction, middling mouthfeel, and a good mix of malt and hops—some toffee if you’re concentrating. Nothing overly complex going on here: just a damn fine beer.

Family Day would have been better if the family had got into the BLUE BUCK about eight hours earlier than they did. After all that talk of washing machines, I needed a beer. I say to R’s bunny, however many times it’s been through the wash, You’re a stronger animal than I am. Too bad you live with teetotalers.

RIPTIDE PALE ALE—Get thee behind me, weird-tasting beer

My Fellow Inebriates,

The other night Fluffy started using his mind powers again—this time making one of the kitchen lights stutter with a freaky high-pitched sound. Holy crap, I’m glad my parents were home; it was so scary, and there was Fluffy, just sitting there, impassive.

So I decided I’d had it with Fluffy and his weirdness. It was time for an exorcism. My first thought was to contact the Pope, but he is surprisingly impenetrable, although he does have a Facebook page. 

Anyhow, I sent off my little query, but as usual it went into the ether, just like my letter to Bono regarding a Gin-Aid concert to raise money for a kick-ass premium gin selection at LBHQ. 

Then I found an organization called Exorismus. They seemed to know their shit, so I contacted them.

Still, I had a sinking sense of being alone on this. I realized I really didn’t know anything about exorcisms, but fortunately the Internet abounds with instructions.

  1. Exorcise in pairs. Just like exercising, exorcising works better with a buddy. If one of you starts feeling doubtful, the other one can spot for you.
  2. Make sure that the possessed person has nothing that may be possessed. Such things include religious artifacts, voodoo dolls, unholy writings, etc. But what if the possessed person is a thing like Fluffy?
  3. You don’t need to cast a circle of protection. Good, because the kids threw all their new sidewalk chalk into a bucket of water and turned it into soup. My mum says there’s no way they’re getting any more.
  4. Only attempt an exorcism if you can’t contact a trained exorcist. Trust me, I don’t really want to spearhead Fluffy’s exorcism. But the Pope’s probably less likely to call me back than Bono.
  5. The “Exorcism” movies are not valid guides for performing your exorcism. Dammit!
  6. Do not converse with the demon. My granny may have had some personal demons, but she’s certainly not an actual demon, although Fluffy might have some of his own. It could be crowded in there.
  7. Do not challenge the demon. OMG, to what? High-jump?
  8. Do not command the demon to do anything on your own authority. Well, I wouldn’t, would I? I can’t even get Fluffy to move over on the couch when we’re watching TV.
  9. Do not be afraid. Sure.
  10. Do not get angry. Supposedly demons thrive on anger and fear, just like that energy ball on Star Trek that made the Klingons and humans fight. Perhaps getting drunk would help.
  11. This process should NEVER be performed by anyone who is not a bishop or an exorcist, because it will cause a disaster. Okay, so maybe this point should have been number one on the list. If my parents come home and find me performing an exorcism they might get really freaking mad, especially if it damages the house. They are already in a world of shit with the strata council because they broke the garage door. (Or maybe Fluffy did that.)

So there you have it. No exorcism, at least for today. Instead, let’s kick back with a RIPTIDE PALE ALE from Lighthouse Brewing. Hazy-looking with a thin head, RIPTIDE has the same funky aroma as RACE ROCKS ALE—musty rotting orchard notes with some citrus thrown in. Sweet malt and floral notes chime in on the palate, but the carbonation is insufficient to counterbalance the funky taste. The body is medium—not satisfyingly substantial, yet not crisp or refreshing. This beer is mired in a limbo between the solid ale I hoped it would be and the fizzy summer sipper I would have settled for. Much the way Granny’s stuck between two worlds, housed in a musty furball named Fluffy.

If I could perform an exorcism on RIPTIDE PALE ALE I would cast out its “sessionable” aspirations. Whatever it’s trying to do with the overripe fruit, it doesn’t do it well. And if there were other beers in the house, well, it would languish in our fridge like a limbo-trapped soul*.

*The Vatican declared limbo non-existent in 2007.