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|If a day without beer is a day without sunshine then for more than two weeks it’s as if I was living in Svalbard, Norway
where the days are nights and the nights are, well, nights too. I tried singing “the sun will come out tomorrow”
countless times but it’s had the same result in changing my predicament as the sign above the bar that says “free
beer tomorrow” has gotten anyone complimentary pints. Yes, for the past 17 days my beverage of choice, by
necessity, hasn’t been beer it’s been green tea. As such, I am now fully qualified to say without equivocation that
beer is better….. much better.
Before you think I’m on the wagon for some nefarious purpose let me set the record straight. This is a forced
prohibition thanks to one unkindly tumble that led to several unkindly injuries which caused my doctor to reinstate the
most unkindly 18th Amendment to the nation of me. The facts are simple - I had ventured out at an insanely early
morning hour for a run when I slipped on either wet leaves, an uneven sidewalk, a torn “Vote Gary Johnson” bumper
sticker, or a Bud Light bottle cap. It was too dark to tell as I was going down and too hard to remember after the
concussion. The conspiracy theorist in me would like it to be the bottle cap. I can almost see the honchos at InBev
sitting around a thick, highly polished solid oak table in their sumptuous secret planning room on the penthouse floor
of their corporate headquarters skyscraper in Leuven, Belgium deciding on how to further attack craft beer. Since
they had just acquired eleven “we’ll never sell out to Big Beer” breweries the past week they were looking for
something different. That's when the Vice-President In Charge of Covert Shenanigans villainously suggested an
attack on beer writers. Next thing you know Bud Light caps are being carefully hidden along running paths around
the world. Oh come on, you know they’re capable of doing it.
My fall not only proved my head is not as hard as many people think, it also sent me to the doctor. After a thorough
examination it was most comforting to hear her say “take this medication and you’ll eventually be fine”. That however
was immediately followed by a most unwelcome clarification: “and stay away from alcohol while you’re taking it”.
Being a quick drinker, ah, I mean thinker, I asked for clarification of the clarification: “Ah, you mean liquor and wine,
don’t you Doc? You can’t possibly mean beer?” Her cold response was a straightforward as a stake in Dracula’s
heart from Professor Von Helsing, “Yes, beer too, but you can drink as many non-alcoholic ones as you like.”
Right, I could also drink Drano.
Timing is everything. Of all the weeks in all the months in all the years I had to fall just when some incredibly great
beer events were about to happen. The upcoming list of promos, take takeovers, beer releases, and bottle shares
was more packed than a dirndl worn by a well endowed waitress in the Hofbrau tent at the Munich Oktoberfest . My
only hope was that a hurricane (the Son of Sandy would do nicely) or a tornado of L. Frank Baum intensity would
strike. If either, or preferably both, were to appear all events would have to be postponed at least until I had
recovered. That may seem somewhat selfish but considering there are seven and a half billion people in the world
there had to be others that would benefit by a small weather disruption. So, in a way, my hopes were clearly of a
I carefully listed to the weather report on my favorite radio station. Their long range forecast was for clear, wonderful
weather. I tried several other stations each of which had the same prediction. Undeterred I tuned in the weather
channel on TV and then went online. I was determined to find someone who even vaguely supported by dream.
Sadly that didn’t happen. I did take some solace in the hope that meteorologists (please don’t call them weather
persons) could all be wrong. After all, a lot of people in the so called “know” have been embarrassingly wrong in the
past. Thomas Edison once said “Fooling around with alternating current (AC) is just a waste of time. Nobody will use
it, ever”. How about the Decca Records executive who auditioned the Beatles and rejected them solemnly saying
"this group has no future in show business." And of course there was Phillip Franklin, vice president of the White
Star Line which produced the RMS Titanic, who said: "There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The
boat is unsinkable.”
Well meaning people only added to my frustration. My buddy Livingston called, e-mailed, and sent smoke signals
using his back yard still to ask how I was feeing (yes he is especially thoughtful when making moonshine). However
he, albeit unintentionally, made my abstinence from beer just a bit more painful. His last message asked, “Would you
like to join me as a judge at the county Home Brewers Association’s championship on Saturday? There should be
over 85 beers in the competition.” Nowhe could have said there were only 4 or 5 entrants to make my inability to
attend just mildly upsetting. No, he had to tell the truth. Eighty-Five is a lot of beer and a lot of beer is always a good
thing especially considering thatto judge a beer you have to drink it..
Friends and BeerNexus colleagues Glenn “Big G” DeLuca and Brian (Beer Muse) Lynch also called to see how my
recovery was going. They too wound up adding to my misery with tales of two tap takeovers at their favorite pub
The Cloverleaf. “You would have really liked it; some really great stuff we had never had before”, they said in
perfect acapella doo-wop harmony. It sounded like an aria from the two lead understudies in the Jersey Boys show
at the community playhouse....... after enjoying a pint or two during intermission that is.
Famed writer Dan”Beer My Way” Hodge, put more than a few logs on my fire of distress when he began a string of
Beer Hotline calls from his long weekend vacation trip. His plan was to stop at as many breweries as possible on a
drive from New Jersey to Vermont. At last count he said he the number was 46 and “I’m only a few miles outside of
Manhattan so far. By the way, how is the green tea going? You could always put some fresh hops in it then close
your eyes and I’m betting it will taste like…… tea. Ha.” In my desperate state I thought Dan might have a great idea
even if he didn’t realize it so into a cup of tea went some hops and surprise, surprise, I instantly proved one thing - he
With more breweries per capita than any U.S. city, Asheville, N.C., has become a sort of Napa Valley of beer. It’s a
great place to visit if you like beer and no one likes beer more than another friend John. He and Asheville are a
match made in heaven; one he decided to consummate a few days ago. John’s reports were more succinct than
expected but still showed little empathy with my situation. Every note I received ended with the same thing: “Do I
have some great beer stories to tell you!” When John returns my plan is to put my fingers in my ears and loudly
hum” In heaven there is no beer.That's why we drink it here…… “ just so I don’t have to hear a word.
For the past two Saturdays I’ve also missed the regular weekly beer hunt I go on with the Three Amigos of Hops -
Sandy, Karen, and Kevin. You’d think after our long friendship they’d at least listen to my one lone request before
they embarked on their most recent adventure without me – “don’t have a good time”. It seemed clear enough to
me. But no, last weekend they had to visit two new breweries, one brewpub, and two recently opened craft beer
bars. They said all the beer was amazingly good, the service efficient, and the prices reasonable. I don’t care how
you spin it they didn’t follow directions. They did not not have a good time. Now before you get upset with them
please note their heart was in the right place when they told me, “in keeping with you wishes we thought about asking
for frosted glasses so as not to taste how good the beer was.” It’s the thought that counts, I guess.
The coup de grâce came from Kevin, the manager at The Tap Room bar. Every few days he usually sends new
additions to his tap lineup listed on BeerNexus. Keeping it updated is part of my job thanks to management’s new
more work for the same pay policy. Wait, if anyone remotely connected with the Nexus higher ups is reading this I’m
not complaining, it’s just the lack of beer talking.
For some reason during my beer hiatus Kevin was kicking kegs faster than a politician forgets his promises after
getting elected. He kept sending updates several times a day; day after day with each replacement beer being better
than the great one that preceded it. At one point it seemed he was pouring every one of my all time favorite beers
from his 20 taps. It was as if I were in a terrifying Twilight Zone episode (a young William Shatner would be perfect to
play me) but this was much more horrifying – it was real. Unable to take it anymore I immediately e-mailed Kevin back
and demanded that the next replacement beer be any watery yellow macro lager, preferably Bud Ultra.
I’m not sure why but he never responded.
There is however late breaking good news. I have just been given the green light to return to the Beerland so I’m
heading to the Libertine Tavern right now. Stop in, say hello and I’ll buy you a beer; I’ll be in the second seat from
the end. I’m easy to recognize; just look for a young William Shatner.
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