Nightmares on Ale Street

 Recently, good friend and fellow Cask Commissioner
Vince Capano wrote a piece entitled
Beer Dreams" in which he detailed the dreams of my
beer club (DB15) members and how those dreams
relate to beer. He even cited a few bad dreams and
those examples inspired me to think about some beer
nightmares, both generic and specific to those certain

  Generally, we feel a great sense of relief when,
awakening from a bad dream, we groggily come to the
realization that it was only just that. We sigh, take
stock of our surroundings and hopefully go back to
more restful slumber. Not long ago I had a horrible
nightmare which caused me to sit bolt upright in bed:
Nancy Pelosi had replaced Jeff as bartender at my local,
the Gaslight brewpub. That shock took quite a bit out of
me but I did eventually manage to nod off again.

  But such easy recoveries from beer nightmares aren't
always possible. In fact the worst one in history actually
came true. With the controversy over the 18th
amendment raging, millions of beer loving free
Americans most likely were jolted awake at various times
in 1919 by dreaming about the prospect of no more
beer, and realizing it was only a dream, went cheerfully
back to sleep. But on the 17th of the following January
the nightmare became real and the horrific specter of
National Prohibition held the country in its evil grasp for
the next thirteen years. To beer lovers, Wayne Wheeler,
head of the Anti-Saloon League and driving force behind
passage of the moronic law, is the equivalent of the
bogeyman in nocturnal visions.

  Another generic nightmare for craft beer lovers is one
which hopefully will never come true: a beer geek enters
his usual beer retailer only to find the coolers crammed
full of Coor's Light. Cases of Michelob Ultra are stacked
floor to ceiling and summertime displays of Bud Light 'n
Lime, Bud and Clamato, and Wild Blue compete for all
the available space next to the checkout lanes.
Frantically, he looks for the craft beer section only to be
told it has been eliminated in order to make room for a
recently arrived truckload of Corona and Corona Light.
The same scenario plays out in store after store, until,
after breaking out in a cold sweat, the alarm clock brings
a merciful end to his terror.

  A similar sleep interrupter is the one where I've
purchased a ticket to a beer festival, arranged for a
designated driver, arrived at the event, picked up my
tasting glass, and planned my route among the
participating brewers only to find that each one I
stopped at had just run out of beer! Reminds me of the
bad dream in which no matter how many stops it makes
or how close you are, you can never catch up to the bus
you just missed.

  DB 15 Commander in Chief Capano has a recurring
nightmare unique to himself. Finally overcoming his
dread of flying and getting his chance to visit the Great
British Beer  Festival, Vince finds himself over the
Atlantic in an elderly Ford Tri Motor with two engines
gone. To compound the horror, the Ford is piloted by
Barking Tom, wearing a leather flying helmet and
goggles, and who has a cooler full of Gaslight Growlers
and a couple of half gallons of Jack Daniels on the
console in case he gets thirsty during the flight. Just
before touchdown, the remaining engine sputters and
dies, but Tom manages to crash land the aircraft.
Although he loses his ticket to the festival during the
crash, upon emerging from the wreckage, Vince spies
what he believes to be the ticket swirling through the
dust and grabs it. Only later does he, an avowed
vegetarian, discover that what he possesses is a ticket
to the British Pork Dealers Annual "Meat and Greet", this
year featuring Ralph's Potted Meat Food Product as its
theme. Vince wakes up and vows to never again leave
terra firma.

  DB15 Treasurer and Beer Poet Brian Lynch has two
nightmares that periodically plague him, only one of
which is beer related. Luckily for him  the beer night
terror is but a piece of cake compared to the other,
which occurs only during the day, adding to the ultimate
horror. In that one, Brian, a stationary (and that word
is used quite literally) engineer in public employ, dreams
that a boiler has broken down and he will actually have
to "WORK" in order to repair it, thereby disrupting
valuable Internet and sack time. Therefore it's almost
with a sense of relief that he anticipates his beer
nightmare in which representative Ron Paul introduces
legislation banning alcohol sales to holders of a black
seal license, legislation which is vehemently opposed by
George Bush.

  Gaslight bartender, DB 15 Membership Chairman, and
award winning home brewer Jeff Levine's personal beer
nightmare concerns his home brewing. In that horrific
dream Jeff brews batch after batch of IPA, ESB, brown
ale and some of his other favorite session beers, only to
have them all end up tasting like Rolling Rock clones. No
amount of tweaking or additional hopping changes the
outcome. All the beers taste like Pennsylvania. Jeff gives
up and moves to Scranton.

  Cask Commissioner and brewer DJ Soboti has a
terrible nightmare in which he falls into the brew kettle
and breaks his ankle. He calls for help but there's no
one around to hear his cries except Barking Tom, a
semi-infamous Gaslight regular. Tom hears the repeated
calls for help but can't determine the source of the
pleas. He slaps at his head a few times as if trying to
clear it while examining the exterior of the kettle. He
circles it quizzically a few times in his search but fails to
locate DJ, and returns to the bar. The worst part of the
dream is when  DJ awakes and finds both the brew and
the ankle intact, but Tom still seated at the bar.

  DJ's father, Dan, has a nightmare that's sort of a fatal
alternative. Having led an honest and productive life,
Dan arrives at the Pearly Gates, and is about to be
issued his heavenly pass, when St. Peter informs him
that he must choose between watching his beloved
Yankees be eternal winners and drinking best bitter
from a bottomless cask. Dan asks if maybe he can put a
limit on the amount of pints and have the Yankees lose
a few in order to have the best of both worlds , but is
told it must only be one or the other. Unable to decide,
Dan asks what the "other place" has to offer.

  My own personal nightmare, beer-wise, is a scenario
in which I have won a contest that awards lifetime free
pints at the Gaslight. The jukebox has been stocked
with only Sinatra, Perry Como, Nat King Cole and the
like, my favorite barstool has "Reserved for Hodge"
embroidered on the seat, and the first place Mets are
perpetually on TV. The horror begins when I walk in to
collect the first of my winnings and notice that the
remaining barstools are all occupied by the other
contest winners: Whoopi Goldberg, Chuck Schumer,
Hillary Clinton, Barney  Frank, Bill Maher, Jane Fonda,
Frank Lautenberg, Robert Byrd, Al Sharpton, Barbra
Streisand, Phil Donahue, Harry Reid, Jesse Jackson, Joy
Behar and a few others of similar persuasion.

I wake up screaming!!!!!        


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