I had nothing to blog about this week. Nothing at all. I’ve been working a lot, so I haven’t really had time to watch or read anything exciting enough to tell you guys about. In a moment of rank desperation, I said something on Facebook about having no blog ready and how I was going to go look for inspiration at the bottom of several bottles of beer. My stepdad helpfully suggested that I blog about beer.
Now, this probably seems silly. I assure you, it is. But surprisingly, I have quite a bit to say about beer. Not that it’s a particularly geeky topic, but my blog, my rules, right? It doesn’t have to be all geek all the time around here. I’ve got so many facets, y’all.
On the other hand, maybe it is geeky. Or at least nerdy. Connoisseurs are always nerds about the thing they love. Not that I’m claiming to be a beer expert or even a beer snob, really, but I think beer has become one of those things that you can be nerdy about. Like wine people are about their wine consumption, or foodies are about absolutely everything.
It begins with language. I have a hard time with the language of taste. This is why I tune out when wine people start with their blah blah. It just seems too subjective. When they say something about it having a fruity nose or a woody finish, I do not know what that means. I suppose I could learn, but if I don’t taste fruit or wood or noses, I don’t understand what the words they’re using are supposed to signify. The usefulness of language falls apart. Beer people are the same way, just less snooty about it. And I don’t think that beer culture has gotten to the point where you could fake that snootiness and still be taken seriously the way that wine people are. If you don’t understand wine, you seem uncultured or unsophisticated. If you don’t understand beer, nobody cares.
Personally, I have only three categories of beer: beer I really like, beer I will tolerate, and beer I don’t like at all but will drink anyway. This may seem like a boozehound thing to say. Sure. Yeah. Fine. That’s probably accurate. But after three or four, I can’t taste anything at all so what difference does it make? If I open a beer and I hate it, I’m not going to throw it away. In this economy? Are you kidding? When beer costs between eight and ten dollars a six-pack out here in the sticks? Fuck that. I’m drinking that gross beer. Yessir. It’s not like I’m downing suitcases of Coors or anything. I’ll drink a PBR on occasion, for nostalgia’s sake mostly, or if I’m at a party. But left to my own devices I only drink good beer.
There’s that word, though: “good.” Tricksy, that one. For example, my very favorite beer is a really strange orange and coriander-flavored wheat ale from a local brewery. Nobody likes this beer but me. I’ve tried and tried to offer it to people out of hospitality, and no one will drink it. I take it to parties and none of them ever go missing mysteriously when my back is turned. Which I’m fine with because that shit’s expensive, but it’s weird. It’s the pariah of beers. And I love it. Inexplicable, really, the subjectivity of taste. There’s no way to verbalize what I like about it, but I haven’t heard anyone satisfactorily verbalize what they don’t like about it, either. It’s so odd, and I think it goes back to that language thing. Words fail us when we’re talking about stuff like this. And there is no right or wrong. You either like a thing or you don’t like a thing, and explaining why to other people is only an unfortunate side-effect.
It’s super frustrating. And it’s proving rather difficult to talk around the edges of, actually.
In all honesty, I do drink too much. But I never drive anywhere. The worst thing I do when I’m drinking is tweet too much, really. As far as I recall. And I only drink beer. Beer is inherently self-regulating. The volume of liquid that one has to ingest prevents one from drinking too much too quickly. As opposed to liquor, which I could down much more easily and get way too drunk way too fast for my own good. That’s how I used to drink when I was younger. It was not pretty. Oh, so, so not pretty. I suppose we all have to learn our limits by going past them, though, yeah? Alcohol should be used carefully, but it took me a while to get the hang of doing that. It was definitely my gateway drug.
It’s funny how now that I live in northern California, I almost never have the medical marijuana conversation anymore. It’s just a part of life out here, it’s everywhere and everyone is totally fine with it. It’s in the places where marijuana is difficult to obtain that people are still talking about it like it’s an unknown, evil thing. But let me tell you something, folks, marijuana is not a gateway drug in the way that alcohol is. Nowhere near it. Fact. Do you know how much easier it is for a teenager to get beer than to get weed? It’s the easiest thing in the world. It’s all over the place, just sitting there waiting to be shoplifted or bought by a friend’s older, cooler brother or whatever.
However, it’s much more dangerous for kids to drink than to smoke a joint and nobody seems to be talking about that. Look at the teens in movies or on television. They’re always at parties with those red cups, presumably full of some sort of booze. But then the bad kids show up and they’ve got pot or, occasionally, something harder, but the way these things are written everything that isn’t alcohol seems equally bad. It’s implicit that one is normal and acceptable while the other is weird and wrong. Alcohol does more physical damage, impairs your judgment much more severely, and is used more often in combination with other drugs because there’s absolutely no stigma attached to it. There’s a ritualistic aspect to smoking pot that separates it from your other activities, whereas you could do pretty much anything you’re already doing with a beer in your hand. Look at all the commercials, they’ll tell you. Beer good. Beer normal. Beer manly and American and attracts all the girls in short shorts. Drink. Beer. But don’t smoke the devil weed, kids. It’ll send your life into a shame spiral that you’ll never get out of and you’ll end up homeless and turning tricks for weed money. No, no, sorry. That’s heroin. Or pills. Or meth. Or…wait for it…alcohol. All marijuana does is make everything funny and make crappy food taste amazing.
Anyway. I feel like I got off track. I blame the beer. Go figure.