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.


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.”

An Earth Day shout-out to some special weirdos

An Earth Day shout-out to all my fellow inebriates: may your Earth Day be filled with planet-friendly choices such as the following:

  • Do not drive. How? you ask. How will I manage not to drive anywhere? That’s easy. Hand your keys to a friend and get really drunk.
  • Eat a vegetarian diet. OMG! you say. What things can I consume that don’t derive from animals? Why, beer of course. You can practically live off beer.
  • Be kind to animals. I love animals! you say, and that’s wonderful. Demonstrate it by giving alcohol to any bears who might ask you for it.

No Thetans on me

And now a shout-out to those special inebriates who believe certain weird things about our planet:

Earthlings are infected by Thetans, evil souls loosed on the planet by the galactic hegemon Xenu 75 million years ago. If you suspect one of these entities is plaguing you, make haste to the nearest scientology outfit and pay $7,000 to get clear like Tom Cruise.

All plants, animals, and humans sprang fully formed into existence 6,000 years ago. For many this makes much more sense than the ridiculous scientific notions of evolutionary biologists such as Richard Dawkins who posit that life developed on a geologic time scale. Notably, these macro-evolution doubters usually hasten to the doctor for their annual flu shot because, dontcha know it, those germs mutate pretty darn fast.

The sun revolves around the earth. Don’t feel embarrassed if you believe this—you’re in good company. One in five adult Americans subscribes to this 17th-century theory. I bet most bears believe it too.

Global warming is a hoax. Deniers come in all stripes, although they’re usually not climatologists. Even a group of astronauts has gotten in on it lately, challenging NASA’s endorsement of the broadly accepted climate-change model. Perhaps those hungry for a good conspiracy theory should ask themselves what lobby groups are behind these movements to generate controversy where there shouldn’t be any. For example, Larry Bell, one of the most prominent climate-change skeptics in the U.S. and a Tea Party darling, has the support of Exxon-Mobil. Getting to the truth of climate change is like peeling an onion.

We can’t afford to stock our liquor cabinet. I call bullshit on this one, Dad.