PETE BROWN TRIBUTE ALE—Better than thongalicious

When my girlfriend Dolly saw yesterday’s thong pictures she disavowed any connection with me. Not for the first time, of course, but this time she was explicit.

Cuddly and reasonably innocent


And with that she was looking at Fluffy Bear again. Pointing out that the kids could just as easily have put Fluffy in a thong as yours truly didn’t acquit me. She said I’d attracted the thong. That I’d sent out a thong vibe to the universe. That nobody ends up in a thong who doesn’t really want to be in one.

Of course I wanted to crawl into the bottle immediately. Not because I was sad but because my ass was chafed from the makeshift g-string. Even the kids, after fashioning it, had had second thoughts about the project and abandoned it. I waited for my dad to get home and rescue me, but when he arrived he was too preoccupied to notice. Finally my mum released me from the thong, but not before snapping some pics.

This insult came after my parents declined a Canada Day barbecue featuring Grey Goose and lemonade. Their weekend was too hectic, they said, and they couldn’t make it. Nor did the sound of distant fireworks compel them to open our last bottle of wine.

So I hope my American friends are having a more festive celebration today than we did on July 1. Let’s hope you’re not in the grip of a thong or recovering from wearing one, and that you have some good hooch to celebrate the day with. For my wonderful American readers, a suggestion from California:

This is another tasting I owe to the incomparable Christine and her canvas bag. Brewed in Healdsburg, CA, PETE BROWN TRIBUTE ALE pours a deep rich brown with a gorgeous, languorous tan head and big, thick lacing. Immediately it bodes greatness.

I should mention we sampled this brew on June 30, long before any thong notions had developed. (Were the kids even thinking “thong”? Who knows?) We’d just tasted OLA DUBH and followed it up with a decent but slightly barnyardy Carmenere, so while PETE BROWN TRIBUTE ALE had a tough beer act to follow, our tastebuds had been brought back to earth somewhat by the wine (plus my mother’s weird cooking). Would this second beer hold its own?

First olfactory impressions are of malt and caramel with toasty nuts and brown sugar. These aromas are generous and presage a substantial and generous mouthfeel. Even if, for the sake of argument, you had premonitions that you’d be wearing a thong a couple of days later and that the rope would cut you between the cheeks, this ale’s heady redolence would be enough to short-circuit those negative fears and envelop you pleasantly.

At 6.3% alcohol, PETE BROWN TRIBUTE ALE is a big beer. The initial shot across the palate is bready with mocha and caramel. My dad used words like “good” and “nice”—but let’s remember my dad is a guy who couldn’t be bothered to notice my ass being flossed for several hours. PETE BROWN TRIBUTE ALE coats the tongue with deliciously smooth malt and punchy fizz that settles down creamily as the beer transits to the back of the mouth, where it delivers a long-finishing mild-hop finale to complete a marvelous flavor arc.

Wearing a thong? We’ll never know for sure.

This beer rocks, people, and if you can get your mitts on some in time for the fireworks, you definitely should. Just remember that some beer stores don’t permit patrons to buy beer while wearing a thong.

Once again my infinite thanks goes out to Christine, who chose this particular brew because of the bear on the label. Not only does Christine have exquisite taste in booze, but I’m certain:

  • She would never put a bear in a thong.
  • She would never leave a bear in a thong.
  • She would never dump a boyfriend if she found him in a thong.
  • She would never take exploitative pictures of a bear in a thong.

May your Fourth of July be flowing with beer and free of thongs*.


*The idea of being thong-free has been knocking around in my head since I read this post by Red.

OKANAGAN SPRING HOPPED LAGER—Fighting terror with 5.2% alcohol

My Fellow Inebriates,

You’d think I’d be pretty habituated to losing an hour here and an hour there, but daylight savings really throws me off. When I realize (a day late in this case) that we’ve skipped 60 minutes, I feel positively robbed.

But what was I going to do with that hour anyway?

  • Visit the People of Walmart
  • Nap
  • Bother Dolly
  • Hang out near the empties
  • Think paranoid thoughts

So the fact that it’s 9:45 instead of 8:45 isn’t the end of the world, although it does give one a sense of accelerating toward the End of Days. And as my parents pointed out, it means one less hour of “love and attention” from the girls.

It hasn’t reduced the paranoid thoughts, however. Yesterday I watched Glen Bear go through a cold-water cycle and tumble dry, all the while listening to my mother wonder out loud whether I wasn’t too fragile to take the next voyage. Even when Glen emerged unharmed, I couldn’t stop shuddering. Especially when my mother said, “Wouldn’t you like to be nice and clean like Fluffy?”

Arrrrrghhh! OMG!

Fluffy continues switching lights on and off, making pictures fall off the walls (he even made my Dan Lacey print fall down) with his mind (!) and generally exuding an uneasy presence/non-presence that creeps me out, people. With his Irishness, plus the extra kick toward St. Patrick’s day that our lost hour gave us this morning, he actually got me thinking about banshees. If you haven’t encountered one before, a banshee is a Gaelic spirit, female, who appears just before someone kicks the bucket and wails. While there are rare reports of them being beautiful temptresses, it’s much more common for them to look like my mother. There isn’t any liquor-related mythology surrounding banshees to recommend them. For all I know they like to put bears in the washing machine.

Needless to say, there’s an air of paranoia around here among the bears. Not only has Fluffy introduced a supernatural draught to the house; he’s raised the bar for bear cleanliness, threatening our general stability and peace. It doesn’t help that my friend Wetherby Bear published a series of washing-machine photos on his Facebook page, depicting the household bears, obedient and brainwashed, lining up to enter the Magtag hellmouth.

Never mind that I thought I heard a banshee howling this morning. After a moment I realized it was only little Miss V, screaming her lungs out because Miss P had scooped the big green towel after their bath, leaving her only 25 or so alternatives. She’d given my mum holy hell already and escaped in the end without a hair-wash.

Super-fresh smelling? Probably not.

Which to say it’s not just me. Lots of people hate getting washed. My friend Scarybear carries a permanent low-grade funk about him. The People of Walmart seem to avoid washing despite all the sweet deals on soap. Dolly describes my own Kavorka* as a “mixture of rancid Corona and derangement.”

Fleecy freshness vs mangy funk

You can maintain such an aroma only by consuming beer regularly—an argument that didn’t help me out too much with my mum. But luckily my dad is cool; he stopped for beer on the way home.

You might say I had some tremors to address, and the Okanagan Spring Craft Variety Pack offered four alternatives—three beers at 5% and, rising somewhat above them for my immediate purposes, the 5.2% HOPPED LAGER.

Despite crying out for a bottle redesign, the HOPPED LAGER is an appealing product. Pale gold in the glass, it sports lots of carbonation and promises refreshment, especially for hopheads. The aroma is fairly standard: hops and grain with some maltiness. In the mouth it bursts with hoppiness, and although the malt provides a decent counterbalance, the finish is lingeringly bitter—great if you’re partial to hoppy beers, but you might want to leave it on the shelf if sweet, malty beers are more your thing.

HOPPED LAGER is sufficiently middle-of-the-road to attract typical beer fans with its crisp fizz and signature hops. There’s nothing earth-shattering about it, but there’s nothing wrong either. It’s not precious or palate-bothering or even especially interesting—just a solid brew.

Poor Wetherby at the vomit bucket

Sadly the drinking experience was spoiled by my paranoia about spilling beer on myself. You see, the washing-machine discussion has not gone away. In fact, the kids have gotten on board, urging my mum to throw me in just so they can watch me tumble helplessly. Only my dad has my back—because he thinks I wouldn’t survive.

But who knows what my crazy mother will do once Dad’s gone to work?

*”Kavorka” stolen from Beerbecue (highly recommended)