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Dan Hodge
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                 Eleven Weeks of Beer Hell

       Eleven weeks of being “locked down” has begun to take its toll on me. Eleven weeks
of no church, no work, no haircuts, no non-essential stores, no restaurants or bars,
masks, and daily briefings by the elected tyrants who caused at least half of this mess by
forcing nursing homes to accept Covid 19 patients, have all contributed to a feeling of
Jimmy Carter like malaise. Everything that needed to be fixed around my house is fixed,
everything that needed to be painted is painted, and everything that needed to be
cleaned is cleaned. All cars have been detailed, furniture has been refinished, grass has
been planted and shrubbery has been trimmed. Four batches of beer have been
brewed. But all that notwithstanding, boredom has set in. No bands to play in, no
baseball to watch and no taverns at which to enjoy a brew.

       Mercifully, liquor stores have remained open (ONE thing Murphy did right), and the
above mentioned home-brews are kegged and ready to be tapped, so beer, or a lack of
it is no problem. But any true beer lover desperately misses the ambiance of his favorite
tavern, with its eclectic selection of tap handles, intelligent and witty conversation, and
the feeling of belonging. Being a “regular” doesn’t just mean that a person spends all his
time in a pub. It also means times when he can regularly be expected to make an
appearance and become a temporary part of the atmosphere.  To be sure, a few craft
beers on the deck after yard work are a welcome pleasure, but they pale by comparison
to those served by a friendly bartender in a pub.

       Several incidents I have encountered during the pandemic relate to beer. After
toiling all day in my son’s yard I thought it would be a splendid idea to stop at the Wet
Ticket Brewery, only a few blocks away, and fill a growler with one of their excellent
brews. That way, I could at least partake of a very small part of the local brewery
experience. I walked in with my abominable mask and my empty jug only to be told by the
girl behind the temporary table that she couldn’t fill it and I would have to buy one of
theirs. When I asked why, she said mine might be contaminated with Covid. I replied that I
was standing there and that I might be Covid positive, so what was the point? I guess in
these times of lost revenue, it was only a ploy to sell me an unneeded growler, but I
declined the offer and left. A week or two later, the same scenario was repeated at the
Two Ton Brewery, also brewers of great beer, but beer that’s undrinkable unless you
also buy one of their growlers. When sanity returns, both those places will be on my short
list of places not to visit.

       Joe Canal’s liquor store, which includes a large growler filling station had no
problem filling me up, nor did Climax Brewery, where owner, Dave Hoffman, even let me
inside (no mask required) to taste a few of his brews while my growler was being filled. My
own local, The Gaslight ,cheerfully fills any growler, so even though my favorite barstool
has been vacant as
ses past three months, I can sit on the deck, emptying the growler,
reminiscing about happy hours spent at the Gaslight and contemplating when I might be
able to spend some more.

       The pandemic has inspired some brewers to coin appropriate names for their
brews. The Wild Heaven Brewery of Georgia has offered “Fauci Spring Ale” and a
canned brew called “Don’t Stand Close to Me”. Colorado’s Outer Range Brewery has
brewed “I Miss Loud Taprooms” Double IPA, and the Ale Asylum of Wisconsin offers
“Fuck Covid Pils” and “Fuck Covid 2 Hazy Pale Ale”. Closer to home, Flounder Brewing
Company is featuring “Pandemic IPA”. “Corona” beer can speak for itself.

       Not to be outdone by all the commercial brewers, much like Al Capp with his
character, “Joe Btfsplk”, I have decided to name my next keg to be tapped “Ibgwtsio” (I’ll
be glad when this shit is over) Brown Ale.


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