GUINNESS BLACK LAGER—I’ll have another, and so will my dad

My Fellow Inebriates,

Thank goodness my dad had the sense to ignore Mum’s would-be dry weekdays edict. Seriously, we boys need to stick together against this sort of mini-temperance move. If my dad hadn’t felt the pull of the liquor store and gone in for some GUINNESS BLACK LAGER I would have worried about him.

Mum says I deserve hate mail for implying she can simply be ignored on financial matters. She said it was anti-feminist of me to suggest that Dad and I need to paint her anti-alcohol (at least on weekdays) campaign as irrational and militant, and that if I wasn’t careful she’d encourage the kids to put me in a dress ASAP and engage me in playtime well past Guinness-drinking hour, thank you very much, you nasty little bear.

DSCN2040I’m not making up the fact that my dad and I are overwhelmed here at LBHQ. The bathroom is full of ponies. Everything has glitter on it. We stockpile Purex’s pink breast cancer awareness toilet paper, which is so pink that it prevents you from seeing whether your ass is bleeding, if in fact it is. Yes, Dad and I are outnumbered. All we have is beer.

Moreover, I won’t get any hate mail because I don’t get any mail. Either my readers are completely nonplussed by the blog and left speechless or they simply aren’t reading it (my money’s on the latter). Ergo, I told Mum, I can say whatever I want.

She conceded the point but argued that Dad and I share more than beer. The stereo, the car, and probably the porn, she itemized.

“We watch gobs of porn,” I said—a small joust at her insecurities.

“That’s fine,” she said. “Lucky you’re nearby—you’re nice and absorbent.”


OMG!! Maybe my allegiance is all wrong, my fellow inebriates. In the spirit of reconciliation, I suggested we try some of that GUINNESS BLACK LAGER my dad bought so disobediently. She’s probably the smart one after all—for surely it’s better to save up one’s drinking for the weekend and then get ripped to kingdom come.

This wasn’t what she had in mind when she first proposed dry weekdays; it was financially motivated—i.e., doubling up on booze to make up for Monday to Friday would defeat the purpose.

I made one last appeal: “But haven’t you read The Secret? If we act like we’re poor by cutting back on alcohol, we’ll create an impoverished vibe and perpetuate our poverty. We have to throw money around and behave like it doesn’t matter.”

After that she just stopped talking to me. We drank our GUINNESS BLACK LAGER in silence.


Black and tan like a Guinness

As you’d expect, it’s the color of my friend Blackie Bear with tan foam (Blackie isn’t frothing at the mouth currently but he has some tan bits). An abiding affection for GUINNESS DRAUGHT must have programmed me to expect a deep, malty flavor—dark, boomy notes rather than the high notes you get off the top with the BLACK LAGER. While it does give off a malty smell, this proves deceptive upon the first sharp sip. True enough, I should be expecting lager-like characteristics, but it’s still a shock to taste watery barley and sourdough. It does settle down as it warms, but it continues to rail against all the sensory suggestions that attend the GUINNESS name, not to mention its warm, dark color.

The mouthfeel is inadequate but the carbonation is compensatory: forceful and emphatic. Coffee and malt hit the nose and the palate like a sloppy drunk trying to throw a punch. This beer is all over the map and yet it comes together in a fighting Irish sort of way. It’s pretty good if not memorable for anything other than some minor weird incongruities, and I would have another. And another. And another.

SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAUGHT—Helping you achieve normalcy

My Fellow Inebriates,

After all that thought expended yesterday on networking-for-playdates, my mum still couldn’t do any better than this when the mother of V’s classmate N phoned:

N’s mum: Hi, I’m N’s mother. We haven’t met but we got your invitation to V’s birthday party. I’m sorry N can’t come.

Our mum: Oh, that’s okay. Thanks for letting me know.

N’s mum: It’s such a cute invitation. N is so sad she can’t go. It’s just that we’re away that week, otherwise we would.

Our mum: Aw, I’m sorry she’s sad. We’d love to have N there. V’s mentioned her before. I think they sit together.

N’s mum: She says V’s her best friend.

Our mum: Oh, that’s so cute!! Well, we’ll have to get them together another time.

N’s mum: That’d be great. As I say, we’re going away, but we can talk when we get back—

Our mum: What about tomorrow? N can come to our house. I can pick her up.

[Awkward pause as this hangs over the telephone line.]

N’s mum: Um, well, we like to meet the parents before we have a playdate. Just to get to know each other…

In playdate terms, Mum had jumped several levels on N’s mum—offering, without ever having met the woman or her husband, to pluck their precious five-year-old out of kindergarten and take her to an unknown house who-knows-where to play with a totally unfamiliar kid and a sibling of unknown age/gender.

It was the equivalent of offering a blowjob on the first date, and my mum realized it as soon as she made the offer.

Despite the gaffe, N’s parents made an effort the next morning to seek V and Mum out at the morning drop-off. Hands were shaken, eye contact made, lame jokes cracked. Whether a future playdate will happen after the customary time elapses…it’s up to the jury.

I thought my mum could use a drink after all that strain—perhaps the SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAUGHT languishing in the fridge since summer (i.e., since last week). The last remainder of the Summer Selections mixer pack, its 5% alcohol would surely assuage whatever palpitations early-morning social contact had caused my mother, and maybe I could get a buzz too.

But she said 8:45 a.m. was too early, my fellow inebriates. We had to wait until 5:00.

(Why 5:00? OMG! One day we’ll tackle that.) Five o’clock it must be before we cracked that frosty-cold beer with its light gold hue shining through the clear bottle nestled in the back of the fridge. Five bells, people! Why?

“Because it’s a social norm, LB.”


So how much credibility does this carry coming from a woman whose social sensibilities are so deficient that she figured V’s classmate’s mother would be okay with her simply grabbing the girl after school without so much as a prior introduction?

“When you start drinking in the morning, something’s wrong, LB.”


My DTs were pretty bad today and, despite a few good happenings, which I’ll tell you about tomorrow, it was a tough slog till 5:00. I spent a long time looking at the People of Walmart. I pestered some alcohol manufacturers with random questions. I had a staring contest with Fluffy (he won). Finally the kids came home and wrapped me up in a black scarf like a hostage, then dangled me over a box of stuffed cats. By the time 5:00 came, that beer had ascended to mythic stature, glistening from the fridge.

When we finally poured it, SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAFT fizzed into the glass, its head foaming ephemerally then vanishing. The smell is nearly absent: pallid malt with some light grain. Carbonation-wise it’s a miniature Canadian fiesta on the tongue, crisp and snappy alongside a bready sweetness and mild hops. This is a summer beer all right—failing that, a hockey beer—with light refreshment and no demands on the tastebuds. There is no je ne sais quoi. There just isn’t. Which makes SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAFT awesome for when you’ve been tortured all afternoon by kids. The stuff is awesome for when you want something normal—failing that, for when you want to play at being normal. And goodness knows we need some practice at that around here.