OLD BOY ALE—A calming brew for when there’s a killer in the house

My Fellow Inebriates,

As a generality, animals that are predators have forward-facing eyes—all the better for chasing other animals. Animals that are prey have side-mounted eyes—all the better for scoping out the periphery.

Eyes in front, likes to hunt.

Eyes on the side, likes to hide.

Thus—and this argument is often advanced by those who believe vegetarianism is unnatural for humans—animals with eyes in front (lions, tigers, wolves) are usually carnivores. Wall-eyed animals (bunnies, sheep, squirrels) tend to be herbivores.

Take this duck, for example.

duck

Okay, so ducks are kind of in the middle. They’re omnivores—they eat insects, weeds, small fish, and whatever you chuck at them in the park.

Now take this duck. No really, please take this duck.Minolta DSC

Carnivorous Duck is the most amoral animal at LBHQ. In fact, he’s the only animal who’s ever attempted to eat the kids.

He’s been off my radar recently, confined like Hannibal Lecter to the spare toybox. And let’s face it, if one of my brain cells forgets to remind the other of hazards such as Carnivorous Duck, the threat of predation gets falsely diminished.

I only thought of him because of this pic from 2006.

Scary, me, Glen Bear, and Carnivorous Duck, late 2006. Only Glen was happy about the snow.

Scary, me, Glen Bear, and Carnivorous Duck, late 2006. Only Glen was happy about the snow.

As placid as it is, as comfortingly wintry, I felt unsettled after yesterday’s post. That’s when I realized, CD has been loose in the house for a while. Then when Emily asked about him, it all flashed at me malevolently—Carnivorous Duck is at large, and Glen Bear is missing.

Would CD be ambitious enough to eat a polar bear? I mean…a bear?

He always said he wouldn’t eat me or Scary because we were rancid. But then he’d kind of laugh, and his eyes would narrow. Carnivorously.

The key is not to think about it. Fortunately my dad bought more Parallel 49 beer—OLD BOY ALE, a classic pub-style ale ringing in at 5% ABV and 25 IBU.

old_boy_bottlesWhen you’re terrified of predation and worried you might find a polar bear carcass somewhere in the basement with little beak marks on it, a rich, mellow brown ale with slight off-white foam and minimal lacing is a good reminder that the world is generally a good place. Yes, there are monsters, and some of them live at LBHQ, but how can you dwell on them while inhaling caramel-coffee-toffee-malt with well-behaved fruitiness hanging politely in the background? On the palate OLD BOY ALE bursts with mild nuttiness, bakery notes, earthy hops, riding along with moderate carbonation, a semi-creamy mouthfeel, and the quintessential pub-ale aftertaste. It tastes like another. And another. If I saw this on tap at a bar, I’d get under the tap.

Although it’s characterized as a bitter, OLD BOY ALE is more of a gentle brown ale. Definitely a good winter beer—a soothing, reassuring beer without too much bite but still supplying lots of interesting flavors. Paws up for sure.

You know what it’s like when you’re all alone and you feel like you’re being watched? Well…it feels like something is watching us right now. With forward-pointing eyes. But it can’t have any OLD BOY ALE, because we finished it. Let’s hope Glen isn’t finished as well.

Glennnn! 

POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER—Refreshment for a cruel world

I had a rare ride-along with Miss V today after while her sister was in school. These outings take ages; V likes to examine everything minutely and scatter every dandelion in sight. Nothing escapes her notice.

About halfway home she stopped to watch a centipede being attacked by ten or so ants. Completely beset, the victim struggled to wriggle away from its tormenters, which were presumably trying to incapacitate it, eat it, and/or take it to their queen.

Watching that centipede thrash helplessly from belly to back was pretty gross. I wondered how long the battle would last. Were the ants biting it? Would it eventually pass out in agony or remain unconscious while they vivisected it? The process seemed extraordinarily cruel and drawn out—and for animals with short lifespans, I wondered morbidly, is there a time-dilation effect? Does a day feel like a month to a centipede, being such a large percentage of its lifetime compared to ours? How protracted, then, is its perceived suffering?

V said she hoped the ants would win. She watched intently as the belly-up centipede failed to right itself while the ants went at it mercilessly. There was no help for it.

Only when V remembered she’d been promised a cookie at Save-On Foods did she, still rooting for the ants, acquiesce to leave the inundated creature.

You almost have to have a four-year-old tour guide to notice stuff like this. The insect world teems below us in unfathomable populations. For every ant-on-centipede onslaught above ground there must be trillions below—uncountable insect cruelty and indifference. For every beleaguered arthropod or unenviable piece of spider prey there must be further infinities of predation, pain, and suffering.

I suddenly felt very small and overwhelmed. The whole planet seemed churning with barbarism, mostly going on unnoticed.

OMG!

And the hard reality dawned on me:

If the whole world—universe even—can remain indifferent to the excruciating death throes of one small creature, how can I expect anyone to give me a beer just to assuage a few tremors?

The thought swept me up like a bus full of evolutionary biologists. Not only did I feel very small; I felt very alone.

In a world of impassivity toward suffering, who would even think to give me a beer?

It wouldn’t even have to be a special beer. Whistler Brewing Company’s POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER, one of the four offerings in its Travel Pack, would do just fine.

Pale straw-gold with bright white foam and firework effervescence (think Pop Rocks), this lager was an unlikely beer in our fridge. My parents never buy lagers except when they’re part of exciting mixer packs, and invariably those lagers get drunk last. But they’re certainly welcome at LBHQ, particularly as Langley enters earth-scorching season and the sun proceeds indifferently to flash-fry earthworms on the ground.

POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER has a light and slightly hoppy aroma with a touch of background sweetness, all of which is practically unnoticeable amid a refreshing carbonation frenzy. It’s a party in the mouth, this lager, berserk with fizz, but unlike some lagers and particularly some other Whistler Brewing Company products, it has a surprisingly substantial mouthfeel yet finishes cleanly.

There are plenty of unsatisfying lagers on the market offering simple CO2 pyrotechnics as a fill-in for flavor, but POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER deserves credit for being a bit more. I bet a crisp, icy-cold glass right now would alleviate my anxieties about being a small bear in a big, cold universe, plus it would take care of my DTs.

I did propose this to my mum, who said, unfeelingly:

“Get a grip, LB, it’s 9:00 a.m.”