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.

ISLAND LAGER—When you’re overwhelmed by thongs

My Fellow Inebriates,

Without a reminder from The Dogs of Beer (fascinating and worth checking out), I wouldn’t have realized today is summer solstice. I mistakenly thought it was National Thong Day.

The misunderstanding originated with my mum, who, after dropping P off at school, commented that everyone was wearing thongs. I thought she meant “a thong” rather than “thongs,” a term that dates my mother’s adolescence to the early 1980s—before the term “flip flops” became necessary for differentiation from the thongs I thought she was talking about.

My mother meant these.

I thought she meant these.

In their own ways, both types of thongs call for a stiff drink.

Unquestionably the drink should be refreshing and summery. How about an ISLAND LAGER from Granville Island Brewing? Effervescent and golden, this brew has a mild, inviting aroma—slightly sweet and grainy. It has a nice balance of malt, barley, and hops; if anything, it’s uncomplicated, which is precisely what you need after a Thong Onslaught.

When you’ve seen one too many thongs, it’s not just your vision that needs a rest—your whole body needs to calm down and cease being stimulated. ISLAND LAGER is undemanding that way; there aren’t any weird, exotic flavors that might send your brain on an irritating quest to place them in remote memory. The fizz is happy and sparkly—whee!

Seeing a lot of thongs can sometimes make you feel you’ve slipped a dozen IQ points. All the more reason to seek out a basic beer that will make you feel smarter than it is. But don’t let thongs drive you toward a nasty, metallic macro brew. Sure, ISLAND LAGER is basic, but we know from Granville Island Brewing’s other more exotic offerings that it could have been otherwise. This is a fine, unchallenging product that features malt and hops playing nicely together—with neither one snapping the other’s g-string.