BEACHCOMBER SUMMER ALE—Enjoy, designated passengers

My Fellow Inebriates,

This week the car decided it no longer wanted my mother driving it. Perhaps it got fed up with her sighs about its eight-cylinder profligacy. Maybe it remembered the sweltering day when she parked it under trees that drooled sap over its windshield. Or finally it just exercised a judgment call on her lack of coolness.

How did the BMW manage to bar my mother—but not my father—from driving it?

Ingeniously. The car has automatic seats, adjustable along half a dozen parameters and then—since no two drivers’ asses are exactly alike—recordable into memory.

bmw seat memory

Jiggle the levers up, down, and around until not just the seat but the mirrors and steering column are positioned exactly as you like them, then hit the “M” button followed by your number (1, 2, or 3). Since Dad’s the primary driver, he took number 1. Mum took number 2, and my friend Scarybear claims he has the number 3 setting “for midnight drives.” Voilá! That crazy car remembers your personal settings, so if somebody else changes them, all you have to do is press your button and your ass is happy again.

Midnight drives indeed. If you ever see something like this driving an oncoming vehicle, hand over your keys.

Midnight drives indeed. If you ever see something like this driving an oncoming vehicle, hand over your keys.

If the BMW itself is smug about its wonderful car seats, Dad is just grateful. Only the BMW provides the support he needs when his lower back hurts. He’ll even go for a long drive just to assuage back pain. Just him and the clever red car.

And even though most of the BMW’s features make Mum roll her eyes, she secretly loves the automatic seats—or at least she did until this week. That’s when the car got fed up with her bullshit comments about preferring “environmentally friendly” vehicles and froze Dad’s seat settings in place.

All very well if Mum were 5’10” like Dad, but she’s practically a Hobbit. If the car could actually achieve Scarybear-appropriate settings, those would be closer to my Mum’s number 2 than Dad’s number 1. Even if the car didn’t maliciously shut her out of its seat-adjusting wonderfulness, it probably just got fatigued going from one extreme to the other and back all the time.

Some men would be happy having the car all to themselves. For Dad it means driving the kids everywhere—swimming lessons, birthday parties, you name it. If we run out of milk, he has to go get it. The same goes for beer.

So what did he get?

beachcomber-case-and-bottle-mockActually, Mum picked beer up before the car decided to take its revenge on her. BEACHCOMBER SUMMER ALE from Vancouver Island Brewery siren-called her from the liquor-store shelf on her last visit, and the car seemed okay about allowing it in the trunk. The car did not, however, point out that she’d accidentally bought a weissbeer; it isn’t quite smart enough to know she wouldn’t have intentionally picked a brew with fruity tasting notes. That, or it just thought “fuck you” and off they went.

For what it is, BEACHCOMBER SUMMER ALE does it well. Cloudy gold and hop-redolent, this unfiltered beer comes across clean and fizzy yet tropical with grapefruit predominating over a basic cereal foundation. It’s crisp and refreshing but not so light that those hops won’t rough you up a little. The fruit doesn’t stray into rotting-orchard territory, but all the same, if you don’t get the fruit-and-beer concept, you probably won’t be too excited about BEACHCOMBER.

I was, of course, excited. Whenever beer is opened, I get excited. And Mum should be excited too, because her next revelation was this, leveled at Dad:

“Ha! Now you are always the designated driver.”

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STORM WATCHER—The last drink before Armageddon?

My Fellow Inebriates,

If you’re like me (and I hope for your sake you’re not) you must be wondering exactly how the Apocalypse will come, as well as the exact moment. New Zealand chimed in earlier to say it had made it to December 21, but that was 12:01 a.m.—a little optimistic if you ask Scarybear, who will no doubt maintain his apocalypticity until Pago Pago has crossed into the safety of December 22.

Which happens to be Miss P’s seventh birthday. Note that Scary did not advise against making a cake, which throws his confidence in global annihilation into question. For if we were going to blink into non-existence on the 21st, surely it would be torture to observe the cake’s preparation knowing you’d never get your greedy paws on it.

“But the cake will be in the fridge. The fridge is the safest place,” Scary insists. “Didn’t you see Indiana Jones when he survived a nuclear bomb blast by getting inside one?”

Note Scary says “Indiana Jones.” Not “the character Harrison Ford plays.” Indiana Jones.

scary 2Scary has always struggled to separate action and sci-fi characters from the actors who portray them. Throughout his pre-literate years, Scary believed in Jean-Luc Picard, Jack O’Neill, Seven-of-Nine, Morpheus and Agent Smith, Han Solo, Sarah Connor, and RoboCop. Only when challenged by the subtitles in Heroes did he become literate, read the end credits on his shows, and reluctantly admit the possibility that these were characters. And even now, he forgets. He sees continuity between Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel in Angel, then wonders why Angel switched jobs for Bones. So of course the “nuke the fridge” scene in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull seems fully plausible to him.

Okay, well, it might work if you had a lead-lined fridge rather than the cheap piece of shit that came with our house. But what about the beer in the fridge? OMG! The bottles would shatter. And that’s why we have to finish our supply of STORM WATCHER WINTER LAGER.

storm watcherVancouver Island Brewery isn’t renowned for departing from mainstream flavor. While its winter offering can be found in the Craft Beer section of our local booze shop, it differentiates itself from macro beer mainly by location and scale—not with oddball tasting notes or niche beers. (For a great dissection of “craft versus macro” and whether it matters, check out beerbecue.) Vancouver Island Brewery has often tended to be very “safe,” and while it’s expanded somewhat into beer-nerd territory, its winter lager is a fairly predictable offering. Which isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes you just don’t need a surprise. Especially on Apocalypse Eve.

The color is reddish amber with minimal head and patchy lacing. On the nose there’s… well, beer aromas—slightly sweet and malty, but not much going on.

STORM WATCHER hits the palate with a wash of…beer. Decent beer. There’s some toffee sweetness and a pat of honey; moderate hops, carbonation, and mouthfeel; and a friendly, lingering finish. It’s pretty good, but not a stand-out. There’s nothing to wonder about, no odd flavors you can’t place—just nicely harmonized hops and caramel malt. Overall: yummy enough.

But do we want this to be our last drink ever?

Huh. Not really. But the alternative is to dig the Canadian Cream* out from the back of the fridge and put it through a strainer to get rid of some unexpected curds—the very sort of pre-Apocalypse surprise I didn’t want.

So much for my teats. (Actually, I don't think the lumps are curds; they're more like lumps of cream that separated because my mum decided to use organic, unpasteurized, unhomogenized cream.)

So much for my teats. 

And the last word goes to Scary: “You should buy cans, weirdo. And put them in the fridge right away.”

 

 

*If you decide to make your own Canadian Cream, make sure you use homogenized whipping cream 😉

SEA DOG AMBER ALE—Perfect with the Liebster

I was totally hosed last night and started clicking on my stats randomly. I was wondering why I don’t get any hatemail (seriously) and if the spam filters are magically sparing my feelings by weeding any ill wishes out. I noticed one of my clicks had come from Awkward Laughter, who’d just been given the Liebster Blog Award and, chain-letter style, spread the love to yours truly.

Even though I’m cynical about awards and the exponential potential to blanket everyone in plaudits whether they deserve them or not, I love getting them and I’m grateful for the notice.

Here’s the deal on the Liebster Blog Award. It’s for small blogs that merit more notice than they’re getting. Like dorky smart kids. Ha! As I told my parents, there’s nothing more dorky than adult humans who have conversations with teddy bears.

By which I mean to say my parents are card-carrying nerds. Not you, my fellow inebriates. Of course I didn’t mean you.

For you I have a booze recommendation: SEA DOG AMBER ALE from Vancouver Island Brewery, the last of four beers I sampled from the Pod Pack.

But first:

The award goes to…three to five deserving blogs. Okay, I have no idea how many followers you have, so don’t get offended if you have a zillion and I’ve bestowed this on you erroneously. Just know that I like you, I read you, and tag, you’re it.

theadventuresoftransman

onmysquare

dampsquid

While I’m at it I should tell you guys about the award, but I’ll probably forget, so you might have to bump drunkenly around your dashboard to find it. That is, if you drink all the SEA DOG in a Pod Pack plus some of the other three sample beers. After doing this very thing, I’d rank the four varieties as follows:

  1. HERMANN’S DARK LAGER
  2. PIPER’S PALE ALE
  3. SPYHOPPER HONEY BROWN ALE
  4. SEA DOG AMBER ALE

Yes, the SEA DOG comes in fourth, but not because it’s bad. It just had tough competition. It’s the most earthy of the bunch, with an herbal hoppiness and lots of malt—very beery, which isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t clout you with beeriness, but it’s not messing around either. Reddish copper in the glass, it boasts some fine carbonation and good weight—another brew you can pound or sip, depending on your mood. Of the foursome it’s the most punk-ass one and, while none of the four are pretentious, I’d call it the slugger of the bunch: hops, malt, maybe some nuttiness, and there you have it.

The Pod Pack is very good at hitting mainstream popular notes, with each beer offering distinct characteristics. It would go down well with a hockey game, and it wouldn’t embarrass you at a dinner party either. In fact, it’s so drinkable that you could consume its entirety at a dinner party and then embarrass yourself. Ahhh!

For my three nominees, if you don’t have a Pod Pack of your own, you can still be embarrassed. After all, you just got an award from a teddy bear.