PHILLIPS SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE—by the hundreds, please

My Fellow Inebriates,

Who knows whether all elementary schools celebrate “100 Day,” but it’s a huge deal here. V’s class is an all-out party with cupcakes, party hats, and prizes. Meanwhile, P and her classmates are dressing up as decagenarians and going apeshit with cupcakes, etc. With all this revelry, you may wonder if they do any work in kindergarten and/or grade 2.

They do. The grade twos had a math test, while kindergartner V was tasked with identifying 100 things she would like…

V loves marshmallows...

V loves marshmallows…

And 100 things she would not like…

But not, er...poo

But not, it seems, poo

Encouragingly, V’s teacher hasn’t called our parents in for a meeting to discuss why V was the only kid to identify excrement as something she wouldn’t like in quantities of 100. No doubt other kids chose items like broccoli and tuna casserole, but V marches to a different drummer.

So kudos go to P for declaring her math test “the best part of her day” (sarcasm?) and to V for being an original. She steals my heart the most when she says, “Do you want a beer, LB?” Then her eyes go zanily wide and she says, “HAVE A BEER!”

phillips slipstream creamaleA good idea, and continuing through the Phillips sampler pack, we next hit SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE. Red-amber with a thick off-white foam that leaves a ring of lace around the glass, it exudes the “house aroma” we’ve been experiencing as we go through the pack—nothing offensive, just something unplaceable that ties all four Phillips offerings together. The overall scent is malty-nutty and a tad metallic, but otherwise not too differentiated from your typical cream ale—and yet, there is that Phillips redolence…

On the palate you get malt up front with some caramel and woodsy-fruity notes playing backup. The metallic quality amplifies on the tastebuds, but not obnoxiously. This is a decent beer, but with the sort of complexity that messes with your head; you wonder if that flavor is an exotic hop combination or…metal?

One thing Phillips gets right on the money is the mouthfeel. SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE is creamy and smooth with a luxurious finish I wouldn’t have expected for all its punchy carbonation. It puts me in mind of an old-fashioned bar with peanut shells on the floor, and only an idiot bear would have a problem with that.

Of the four in the sampler pack, SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE was close to being my favorite. That dubious honor goes, surprisingly, to ANALOGUE 78, the lightest of the bunch (although all four clocked in at 5% ABV).

I’d like a hundred bottles of SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE. Or a hundred cases. Just not a hundred poos.

CONCHA Y TORO WINEMAKER’S LOT 148 CARMENERE—Perfect for the antepenultimate Day (unless your mother is going to rip your heart out by “gifting” it to one of the kids’ teachers)

Scarybear says when we see the flash two days from now, we have to immediately fill the bathtub with water. He read that in The Road. Scary adds: Isn’t it typical of our parents that they haven’t bothered to stock up on water or provisions for the coming Apocalypse?

DSCN2776I’d been ignoring the countdown to Armageddon because it’s been feeling like Armageddon already. Plus we’ve had things to do, like planning P’s birthday party at Captain Kid’s indoor hellmouth fun centre, trying to figure out why the middle section of our Canadian Tire Christmas tree doesn’t light up, and getting ready for our holiday road trip to Vancouver Island. What with Santa breakfasts, mall shopping, and the fact that every other kid at school has decided to have a birthday party this week, things are pretty freaking busy at LBHQ. Oh yeah, and there’s this big dump of snow this morning—a phenomenon our city is totally unready for. Traffic is a disaster, there are only a handful of snowplows in the entire Lower Mainland, schools are closing (OMG! Nooo!), and if we get half a foot more of it they’ll declare it an official emergency (like, for real). Yes, we are f#cked when it snows in this part of the world, because it so rarely does. We don’t know how to drive in it, we don’t have the tires for it, braking hard on a skid seems to be a natural Vancouverite intuition, and half the drivers don’t need to be on the road—they’re trying it out for the sheer novelty of it.

Scary says we’re really screwed now because Mum won’t drive to get provisions. This is true—if there’s one person you don’t want operating a car in the snow, it’s my mother. But at least, Scary says, we’ll have snow to get water from when everything goes dark on Friday.

Scary’s obsession with water is starting to freak me out. He seems to have narrowed down his apocalyptic speculations from many (collapse of the vacuum, solar flares, asteroids, rogue black holes, gamma rays, volcanism, magnetic field reversal) to one: nuclear annihilation.mushroom cloud

I wish Scary would read books that weren’t about the end of the world. I would happily lend him a bartending guide or some Nabokov if he’d have it, but he won’t. (Maybe he will in two days, but he says it will be hard to read by candlelight, and that reading will be an absurd luxury anyway.)

Right now, Scary says, it’s important to do Meaningful Things. Society is ending, and we have to treasure those things that are Important. For example, Scary is going to binge-watch Stargate, because that was always his favorite.

“Well,” I said, “I’ve been saving a bottle of CONCHA Y TORO WINEMAKER’S LOT 148 Carmenere (2010). That would be perfect for Apocalypse Eve, wouldn’t it?”

“Wrong, weirdo,” he said. “That would be dehydrating. On December 22 we’re going to be rationing water. Don’t expect any extra because you’re hung over.”

Who made Scary the boss of the Apocalypse, I don’t know. How does he even know that wine would dehydrate us? I had no idea myself. Let’s investigate this, my fellow inebriates.

Does alcohol cause dehydration?

OMG, apparently people have known about this for years. Shakespeare mentions it in the Macduff-Porter scene about erections:

PORTER

‘Faith sir, we were carousing till the second cock. And drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.

MACDUFF

What three things does drink especially provoke?

PORTER

Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.

He said "cock."

He said “cock.”

Alcohol does make you pee. But why?

The diuretic quality of alcohol is still not fully understood. According to Dr. Karl:

After all, beer is about 95 per cent water and only five per cent alcohol. And the liver converts that five per cent of alcohol into roughly the same mass of water and some carbon dioxide.

So if you drink 200 millilitres of beer, the end result is 200 millilitres of water. But you don’t urinate just 200 millilitres of urine. No! You urinate a total of about 320 millilitres of urine.

What the hell? Dr. Karl says that for every shot of alcohol, you pee an extra 120 mL. Where does it come from, my fellow inebriates?

Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to regulate water levels.

Ordinarily your pituitary gland releases ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) to keep water in the body (based on electrolyte levels and so forth) so you don’t get dehydrated. ADH curtails peeing. But alcohol reduces your ADH production, sending you on multiple bathroom trips. Even if you try to catch up by drinking water, you don’t get to keep that water—most of it will get tinkled out, and you’ll still end up dehydrated.

And, according to Scary, it’ll be your fault if you get hammered the night before Armageddon and end up thirsty. Smart survivalists like himself will be hoarding water and looting grocery stores. (“Idiots like you, LB, will be looting liquor stores and HMV.”)

OMG, Scary is mean sometimes. I do realize there won’t be any electricity. But liquor? Liquor could have its uses.57911_469184923103527_1148624302_n

That bathtub of water is going to get pretty crappy pretty fast. At least it won’t have traces of bathroom cleanser in it, though—it doesn’t occur to Mum to scrub it very often. We just have to get the kids to stop peeing in the tub. Still, within a couple of days of the blast, that water will have all kinds of floaties in it. We’ll be wanting some beer then, I reckon.

But beer’s dehydrating, isn’t it?

Not if you’re already dehydrated. Then other bodily regulatory forces will override the dehydrating effects of ADH, to a point at least. And beer is 95 percent water, so you’ll get to keep at least some of it. “Yeah,” says Scary, “but water would be better, douchebag.”

Okay, so what about our bottle of CONCHA Y TORO Carmenere? Maybe we should drink that tonight rather than on Apocalypse Eve.

But OMG, according to my mum, it’s not our bottle. “That’s for V’s kindergarten teacher.”

Holy crap, we’re giving our wine away to teachers??

“We really like V’s teacher.”

This is the end of the world.

Concha y ToroWe’ve had this CONCHA Y TORO Carmenere before, and it is luminous. Inky and full-bodied, it wafts generously layered aromas of black cherry, espresso, leather, and floral notes. Decadently concentrated yet incredibly complex, this Carmenere is epic on the palate—supple and smooth, structured and long-finishing. This wine is a powerhouse of fruit orchestration, commanding your attention from first to final, reluctant sip (if you had an absorbent paw, you could get the last of it that way, knowing no one will be operating the Maytag after December 21). And at a $20 price tag, this CONCHA Y TORO offering is all the more magnificent.

Personally, I think V should be doing long division and reading Beowulf if we’re giving her teacher this particular bottle.

“LB, don’t be a dick,” said my mother.

“He can’t help it,” said Scary.

FAXE STRONG BEER—Playdate antidote?

It seems some kid in Miss V’s kindergarten class is giving her trouble. Or is she?

MONDAY: “Mummy, H isn’t nice to me. She hitted me.”

TUESDAY: “Mummy, H made a mean look at me.”

WEDNESDAY: “Mummy, H didn’t share the markers.”

THURSDAY: “Mummy, H pushed me into the water fountain.”

FRIDAY: “Mummy, can I have a playdate with H?”

♦ ♦ ♦ WTF? ♦ ♦ ♦

Ahhh, yes, of course we should have that little miscreant over. (Apparently familiarity breeds contempt and then mutual admiration; the kids patched up their differences today.) Mum should stay sober for the playdate duration, of course, so she can prevent V from getting attacked. As for yours truly, I’ll hide. And when the playdate ends and we’ve ejected the psychopathic Miss H from our abode into the arms of her (evil?) parents, we’ll crack a can of FAXE STRONG BEER, a Danish brew my dad found on his weekend liquorstore wanderings.

Pale yellow with white foam, this mildly fizzy liquid emits a hefeweizen-like redolence—grainy and perfumed with fruit. On the tongue it’s slightly herbal, grassy, and mildly alcoholic, which at 8.9% it damn well should be. The carbonation is moderate, the mouthfeel a bit thin considering the horsepower. Interestingly, the fruit that wafts from FAXE dissolves on the front palate, not bothering to stay for the lingering boozy burn. This is how I like fruit if it insists on being in a beer. If a brew is going to feature weird flavors, at least they should behave themselves. Much like five-year-old punks who mess with my little friend V at school and then somehow ingratiate themselves into being invited over for a playdate.

But what the hell, they’re only 5, and V’s pretty good at dishing out abuse in her own right. We’ll see what happens when V and H are hanging out in V’s room. It’ll either work, or it’ll be like cats in a sack.

I dare you to put another cat in this bag.

Note to Dad: Buy more beer.