Tomorrow I will board the great silver eagle to leave the frigid wastelands for the north Phoenix desert, where my brother lives in the delightfully named town of Surprise.
I have a nice little Saturday planned. I will put in my 13th straight day of work, but then I have a massage appointment. And then it's vacation for twelve days.
I plan on kicking back and relaxing and drinking much beer. In honor of the beer drinking, I hereby offer a list of my favorite brews, in no particular order:
Guinness. I have packed my Guinness T-shirt for the trip, which overlaps St. Paddy's day. But I enjoy the brew all year long, especially in the form of Irish Car Bombs or baked into a chocolate cake.
Dos Equis. Back in Wisconsin in my college days, we were about to go on a beer run. A friend told us we should get a case of "that double-X stuff." It took us awhile to figure out what he was talking about. He was kind of dumb. Once we got into a discussion about economics. He described his solution for fixing things, saying that it was "simple Reaganomics." I informed him that most economic suggestions are merely theories, but Reaganomics WAS PROVEN NOT TO WORK! We actually tried it and it DIDN'T WORK! I actually spoke in capital letters. But back to the beer, this is one of the brews that my parents always kept at our lake cottage, along with Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss.
Redhook ESB. This Extra Special Bitter is delicious, partially because it is not bitter. I have no idea why it's categorized like that. It's also about 6% alcohol, making it very sledgehammer-esque. I drank a lot of this stuff the year I holed up in my cabin with no running water and spent a lot of time watching Scrubs and Lost on DVD and being depressed.
Shiner Bock. If it's a bock, I'll drink it and like it. But this is a very good one. And it reminds me of a former roommate of mine who liked it. I think it reminded her of Texas. I've never been there, but my brother has, which means my DNA has, sort of, which means I have, if you make broad leaps of inference and usefulness from the concept that information can be teleported between identical particles vibrating in unison.
Blue Moon. This Belgian-style white ale is brewed in Colorado. However, they have it on tap at nearly every bar in Wisconsin. It is traditionally served with an orange wedge. Once, I was at a Famous Dave's in Appleton, WI, and they forgot the orange. I mentioned this to the waitress, and she showed unusual honesty by admitting that she hadn't felt like cutting up another orange and was waiting to see if we noticed. Then she went and cut up an orange, and possibly spit in our food.
Midnight Sun Arctic Rhino Coffee Porter. This Alaskan brew isn't available in the outside world, but the brewing company makes a lot of fantastic brews, including Oosik Amber, which is named after the penile bone of a walrus, which can reach over two feet in length. I am not making this up. The Arctic Rhino is dark and frothy and, unlike most "coffee" beers which just reference a coffee-like flavor, is acutally infused with coffee.
Jubelale. This Deschutes offering is a winter ale, and, from what I can determine, tastes different every year. It's one of those brews where you question how good it is after the first sip, since it is strikingly bold, but after about a third of the bottle or a fourth of a pint (4 oz. seems to be the tipping point) it tastes good, damn good, and you end up drinking six of them. Or a dozen.
La Fin du Monde. French for "the end of the world," this brew weighs in at about 9% alcohol, which can definitely make you forget parts of the night. However, it doesn't taste that strong. And it has a cork held in place by wire and foil. Opening it is like opening a present. And I like presents.
Hamm's Special Light. We used to buy this stuff for $5.25 for a 24-can case. And, as the name informs us, it is "Special."
My next dispatch will likely be from the desert. To quote Homer from some indeterminate Simpsons episode, "So long, SuckTown!"