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Cirrhosis Stout, For Those Who Think Young

Following half a century of drinking top quality American beers I’ve lost my bearings and gone rogue.

It’s akin to a mid-life crisis where a guy sees the bald spot and the paunch and realizes he’s invisible to attractive women so he hurries off and buys a red convertible.

Mine is more an old-age crisis. I’m suddenly seized by an urge to start drinking the horrid craft beers children one-third my age are drinking. I’m unmoored, adrift, lost in a hops-clogged swamp of gnarly brews sold in garish cans that look like heavy metal rock emblems with names like Death by Stout and HooDooVooDoo BrewJuice.

Hard to admit, but true.

After a half-century of monogamous relationships with Coors, Schlitz, PBR, Bud, Oly, Hamms and Lucky Lager I’ve been led astray by the bewitching allure of beer that tastes like furniture polish.

Next I’ll steal a skateboard, get started on crack cocaine and have a fling with a stripper. An elderly stripper, but still. Maybe I’ll sell weed to middle school kids.

It makes little sense. Craft beers are expensive (10 or 12 bucks a sixer!) and taste like a puddle. Miller Draft is a mellow melody of subtle flavors compared to the solvents bottled at Sierra Nevada. Torpedo Ale reminds me of the radiator flush I used in my old DeSoto.

My kids came back to the old homestead on Dora Street awhile back, looked in the fridge and thought they’d entered the wrong house. Where’s the Blue Ribbon and the Budweiser? Where’s the Old Milwaukee and the Miller?

And what’s this cloudy muck in brown bottles?

Through hard work and an unknown toll to my health and well-being, I’ve been able to acclimate myself to some craft beer nuances. If the word “hazy” is on the label they’ve injected it with fruit juice.

This is not the deal-breaker you’d imagine because the juice they use is often grapefruit, which rhymes nicely with the bitter hops that already ruined the beer. If it’s mango-banana juice head for the bourbon aisle.

Another label tipoff obvious to anyone who hasn’t spent a lifetime in the icy embrace of the standard American beer industry product lines is alcohol content. All the watery and semi-flavorful (yet nonetheless marvelous) brews pumped out at the Blatz, Rainier, Carling, Falstaff and Strohs factories had alcohol pegged right around 5 percent.

But cans of Zombie Blood Ale or Crippled Rhino Urine routinely clock in at around 8 or 9 percent.

The alcohol in Strained Corpse Juice runs 11 percent. For those with wives who lift an eyebrow when you go to the fridge for a third beer with your breakfast eggs and sausage, high-octane brews like Rusty Guillotine Stout are the solution. Plus it guarantees you’ll be in no shape to mow the lawn later that morning.

All less honest than others.

There are a million misconceptions about everywhere, including the West Coast, the Midwest and the South. But of course there are things that are true about these and other regions. My job is to muddy them beyond comprehension.

Semi-accurate dishonest comparisons, west coast vs. southeast:

1) Choices: Wildfires, droughts, earthquakes, Lyme Disease and hippies, or Hurricanes, typhoons, flooding and alligators.

2) Housing prices 67 percent cheaper; indoor plumbing optional at extra cost.

3) Sushi or poke salad?

4) Dale Earnhardt’s as big a deal in Charlotte as Harvey Milk in ‘Frisco.

5) Depending on coast, Ford F150 pickup trucks and Prius automobiles outsell each other 50-1.

6) Cigarettes $4 less a pack.

7) Gasoline $2.50 less a gallon.

8) As part of a statewide economic stimulus package, elementary school children urged to purchase and use chewing tobacco.

9) Supermarket cashiers don’t check ID of 53-year old in line to buy 6-packs of Coors or Sewage Flush Stout.

10) No stories in local newspapers about dangers of kids using marijuana.

11) Stories in local newspapers every day about dangers of kids using chewing tobacco.

12) Dolly Parton more popular than Barbra Streisand.

13) OK to marry your 12-year old cousin.

14) No flimsy virtue signaling about diversity, tolerance, “We Can do Better Racism,” or “No matter who you are or where you’re from, please feel free to move into our guest bedroom.”

15) No gangs, graffiti, homeless, hippies or shopping carts used as pack mules.

(After flirting with the notion of letting the column lie fallow and TWK to retire with some shreds of dignity remaining, the unlikely combo of Bruce Anderson and Jonathan Middlebrook staged a long distance intervention and convinced Tom Hine to drink less, write more. I agreed to the writing part of the deal.)

One Comment

  1. Chuck Artigues January 7, 2023

    There is no accounting for taste

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