The Gents got back together for a night of drinking. This was a smaller group than normal as everyone who's on the invite had other plans and we didn't have our room at McCoy's. So the Gents met up at Yeti's house. In order to get this month's meeting in, we decided on not having a showdown, only tasting whatever rarities we had.
Each of the Gents carried their own bag. Duff had cherry cobbler and nacho cheese Doritos. Chimpotle had Surly. Paul A. Ner had hummus, bugles and an assortment of Oskar Blues. Yeti had peanuts, pretzels and glassware. I had the least well received bag containing, Boone's Watermelon, Manischewitz Blackberry, Night Train and Thunderbird to achieve my dream of a bum wine tasting.
It's safe to say that in a true drinking story nothing is ever absolutely true.
This is a true drinking story. We started with the bum wines. Boone's Watermelon was first and it tasted like a watermelon soda. It was nice and refreshing and was a lot like drinking some watered down watermelon cough syrup. Next was Thunderbird which is quite possibly the worst thing I've ever had in my mouth. We couldn't figure out where the nutty taste was coming from. I'd rather actually have nuts in my mouth than drink that rancid nut flavor again. Night Train came next. It's mildly enjoyable, not good, mind you, but you can get some enjoyment from it. It's a little like drinking some fruit juice made with slightly rotten fruit. The Manischewitz was real sweet and I'll be happy to never drink it again, but it wasn't the horrible or traumatizing event that drinking the Thunderbird was.
A true drinking story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a drinking story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true drinking story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.
The next bit of drinking came from Paul A. Ner's bag and his cans from Oskar Blues. We had Old Chub and Dale's Pale Ale. Old Chub is a fairly fantastic scotch ale, not my favorite style, but Chub is one I would buy on a regular basis if they would just distribute to their neighboring state. Dale's Pale is a fairly ordinary pale ale. It has a really strong hop aftertaste that I don't find enjoyable, your mileage may vary.
In any drinking story, but especially a true one, it's difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes its own happening and has to be told that way. The angles of vision are skewed. When hilarity ensues, you close your eyes and duck and float outside yourself. .. The pictures get jumbled, you tend to miss a lot. And then afterward, when you go to tell about it, there is always that surreal seemingness, which makes the story seem untrue, but which in fact represents the hard and exact truth as it seemed.
This is a true story. I proclaimed myself an expert on nudity in movies from the '80's but somehow didn't remember that Billy Jayne had nude pictures hanging in his room and nipples were clearly evident. “But, “Just One of the Guys” was PG, there's no way you could get that much nudity in it” the children at the 1 year old's birthday party next door could have presumably heard come from my mouth. But, Chimpotle provided clear and incontrovertible evidence that it was indeed true. Chimpotle carried Netflix Instant.
A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth. On to the Nutsack, a beer that may be the most drank beer in KC that has never been bottled. Somehow, I had never before had the opportunity. I carry a love for Nutcracker that has no equal. I now declare that after I've had Nutsack, I can safely say it's a top 5 beer in my book. I went on a rant over how Boulevard is leaving a ton of, if not money, then certainly prestige by not bottling Nutcracker Special Reserve and doing the very limited release thing that Bell's, Founder's, Three Floyds and so many other breweries do. The Nutcracker Special Reserve release would be as big a day for midwest beer geeks as Dark Lord Day or Hopslam Day. Nutsack is that good. Luckily, we had procured 3 growlers of the sack so we were all able to have full glasses.
And this is where things get a little hazy. It's easy to forget what happened after the Nutsack. But the thing about remembering is that you don't forget. I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth. In some order we opened some Surly Cynic, Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad and Founder's Breakfast Stout.
Here's a story that's absolutely true. When the Breakfast Stout was being opened I still had 2 good drinks of Cynic left in my glass. I saw the Breakfast Stout being opened and quickly chugged my Cynic.
It was cold out there on Yeti's porch, the fire was dying down, the heat lamp had long ago ran out of propane. When I was out there that night I felt close to my own body, I could feel my blood moving, my skin and fingernails, everything, it's like I was full of electricity and was glowing in the dark – I was on fire almost – I was burning away into nothing - but it doesn't matter because I know exactly who I am. The Night Train and Thunderbird had gotten to me.
And, as the last of the logs for the fire was burning down to nothing, it was time to go. I packed up my bag and strapped it to my shoulders for my mile long bike ride home. With a drunk on and with fear of a long mile, it is difficult to put a helmet on your head. I headed out ahead of everyone and was startled by Chimpotle's car horn. I looked behind me and the whole night was right there in my stare. It says everything you can't ever say.
The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness. But there was very little aliveness in my body the next day.
Never again Night Train. Never again Thunderbird.