|Vince Capano is a two time winner of the prestigious Quill and Tankard writing award for
humor from the North American Guild of Beer Writers.
Vince's column is now a regular feature of beernexus.com
Check back often for the next installment of
Vince's Adventures in Beerland
|Hops and Hoops
|All I could think of was the medieval practice of trial by
combat. Two diametrically opposed philosophies relying on Divine guidance
to emerge victorious in mortal combat. Here it was playing out for all those
who could appreciate the true cosmic meaning of the evening’s showdown.
Unfolding at Spectators sports pub, as oblivious patrons chatted on, was the
final showdown of massed produced beer v. true craft ale. And even more, it
was being played out through the battle of the sexes.
This was to be an evening of a true epiphany for me. It ranks with those key
moments of life, like when you first truly understood the WWE was exactly
what they say it is, sports entertainment, or when you realized for the first
time that the main function of the ubiquitous lime in a Corona is to provide the
watery beverage with its only flavor, or finally recognize that your friendly
neighborhood bartender is truly a helpful pharmacist, albeit
one with a limited inventory.
Here’s the scene. Spectators Pub, besides being known for good beer, decent
food, and dining tables inside a faux boxing ring, also boasted of a basketball
court. Really. Right there in the pub. Not more than 5 feet from the bar
itself. Inside a 12 foot wired cage was one regulation hoop on an extremely
downsized court. The battered sign hooked to the gate simply
said “10 minute time limit on all games”.
Taking my usual corner barstool that fateful evening I happened to notice two
attractive young women place their beers on the wooden ledge surrounding the
basketball court as they surveyed the cage. Somehow, they looked oh so
familiar. Then it hit me - the day’s sport pages, collegiate women’s
basketball. Now I remembered. It was that picture on page 2. Even without
their uniforms it was the same two people. The taller woman was the nations
leading scorer, Danielle Cerise, her partner was
Karen Piasecki, national record holder for most assists
in a game and a ball handling wizard.
I leaned forward as the two returned to the bar and ordered another round.
To my pleasant surprise they ordered from the specialty taps. One ordered
something called a 1920’s lager and the other 80-Shilling Ale, both made by
the highly regarded Gaslight micro brewery. The other few people at the bar
who cared to notice their choices snickered at the women’s order, convinced
their Buds, Millers, and Coors were the true anointed elixirs. Beers in hand,
the women headed back to the courts now acting like, for some strange
reason, the two most uncoordinated females on the face of the earth. Note
please, that was uncoordinated, not unattractive. They missed shot after
shot. Then it started. The parade of male challengers. Budweiser drinking
males lined up for “next game. Coors carrying partners waited their turn.
The stakes were simple; losers buy the winners another beer.
As the bottles of the challengers’ swill sat next to the pints of the women’s
craft ales, it became clear to me. This wasn’t about basketball, it wasn’t
about some boy meets girl ritual, and it wasn’t even about women’s rights or
sports skills. It was really all about the beer. Craft ales were in a duel with
mass marketed suds. Each side had brought its champions to the
fray and only the best would survive.
The night and the games wore on. The women were an incomparable marvel. I
sat and joyfully watched as countless duos of mystified and disgruntled males
meekly left the field of their defeat dutifully paying off their debt.
Row upon row of upside down shot glasses, signifying prepaid beer,
lay on the bar awaiting the winning women.
I could almost imagine hearing the juke box suddenly grow silent as a booming
voice– James Earl Jones would do - blared from the speakers: “These are not
just two troubadours of women’s sports reeducating unsuspecting males, you
bozos. They are chosen crusaders for quality beer lovers everywhere.”
This truly was the triumph of good beer over evil beer. This was payback for
every bartender that ever laughed when asked for a glass of John Courage,
Bass Ale, or a Samuel Smith Stout. It was retribution for every pub owner
that refused to carry Old Speckled Hen, Victory Hop Devil, Weyerbacher
IPA, or Gaslight Alt. The beer gods may have chosen unlikely champions, but
they were champions nonetheless. The message was clear -
you are what you drink.
As they finally left the court, the triumphant women turned to me with a
knowing smile. I leaned back, proudly saluting them with my glass of dark
tinted stout high over my head. Then, moved by it all, I raised the glass even
higher; high enough so even the Coors drinkers in the back room might see. I
gently waved it in a welcoming circle… symbolically telling them “join us…all
are welcome…. the revolution is successful…. good beer has won…….
it’s now truly is all about the beer!
And yes, this actually happened.
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