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What About This?

By Wayne William Cipriano

Say what you want about our newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, Associate Justice Kavanaugh, and you might say for example that he lied under oath in front of that Senate committee and the rest of the world when asked about “Bouffing,” he, without a doubt, likes beer – and so do I.

Maybe I don’t like beer quite as much as the Associate Justice, but I do like it.  Especially after a couple of hours working in the heat like we had for a pretty good stretch a week or so ago.

There are all sorts of beer available for sale, some from the really huge breweries like Miller or Budweiser that pump out hundred of thousands (millions?) of gallons each year to the tiny boutique breweries that make a relatively small lot seasonally.

Some of these smaller concerns pair up with a restaurant and sometimes offer very special beers to go with very special meals.  And sometimes these producers, both big and small, come up with some startling flavors and surprising appearances.  Plum beer?  Mint beer?  Black beer?  Pumpkin beer?  Sure.

Our tastes do not run to these exotic experiences, like those of one of our sons-in-law, and, unlike a lot of our foreign brethren, we like our beer ice cold.  I’ve heard the arguments that posit warm beer tastes better, or at least “more”, but for us, perhaps as a function of early training, it’s got to be cold.

Some folks brew their own beer and we’ve thought about giving it a try ourselves.  We have fermented our own wine and at one time we were making enough wine to fulfill all our requirements and even give bottles away as gifts.  After several years of that, we started buying wine “off the shelf” and little by little our lines of fermenting vessels became fewer and eventually we just stopped being vintners and became customers.

Making wine wasn’t really that much work and it was financially rewarding.  It was interesting to vary the ingredients and techniques to develop different types and tastes of wine, but when it became a chore and no longer an adventure, we stopped.

I’ve thought about brewing our own beer, even got a book or two about it and I’m not put off by the stories I’ve heard of bursting brewing vessels when the gas is not properly vented, but picking up a case of beer ready to chill and quaff, having a taste that can be relied upon fulfills our needs very well, even at the cost of “routine” taste and the lack of mint beer adventure.

A lot of commercial beers tout their smoothness but my lies run in the opposite direction – I like a rough beer that churns in your mouth and throat – probably because when that first one goes down after a hot, dusty job is finished, I crave that rasping swallow.

It just so happens that the beer I like the most happens to be about the most inexpensive one around.  Our kids refer to it as “The Beast” and refuse to be a party to its purchase.  They prefer those smooth, frothy beers that seem to own most beer drinkers, or so it seems when you watch sports on television.

Lately, maybe because staying at home with Covid-19 is being lubricated with more beer than usual, The Beast has been in short supply from time to time.  Of course, that has also been the case with some other retail products.  (Have you ever seen so many bare or sparse shelves in our stores before?)

So, lately I’ve tried another brand of beer that tastes somewhat similar, sells for about the same price, but it is just a little too “civilized” to replace The Beast long term.

It’s great to sit around with family and friends, knock back a couple of beers and shoot the breeze but, like I said, it’s best when you pop that ice cold can and pound down a gulp or three that cuts the dust after a hard day.  I’m pretty sure that’s not how Justice Kavanaugh likes his beer, but that’s how I like mine.