To start, let it be known that NEXT THURSDAY the 20th of this month we will be inundated and took the over by ALLAGASH!
You can expect three (actually four – we’ve detailed in the past that Allagash White is almost always on) special drafts from Allagash detailed next week as well as a cocktail special that is also detailed next week as well as our favorite Allagash representative will be here with things that you can take with you when you leave.
Please you to be returning to this blog next week where I tell you all about 2016 Fluxus, GHOULSCHIP, and One T as they are the beers that we will have on.
For this week, I have this:
What YOUR favorite time of year?
Some like the Summer because they can show off their legs.
Some like the Winter because they surf on snow.
Some like the Spring because it gets sprung, want to pull up tough.
I like days like today.
We are in the midst of two things that are incredibly exciting and invigorating. Well, there’s probably more than two but for today, let’s just focus on two because we don’t want to get distracted.
Firstly, we have something that seems about as American as the finger pricked blood spot on the thread of the flag from this lady: Major League Baseball playoffs. Or, if you’re from the Dominican Republic, it’s called “winter ball.” Mostly, they call it that because fans in the DR are ALWAYS amped up for a baseball game. For Americans, they let the season happen around them while they have their own summers and then it starts getting cold out and they’re all like “I’M THE WORLD’S BIGGEST [INSERT TEAM NAME AND COLORS ASSOCIATED HERE] FAN AND I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THEM! RAH! RAH! RAH!” Which is totally cool. Most people go by this cycle and it makes this time of year and the games played that much more exciting.
An old coach of mine (he’s older than I, yes, but I’m not calling him old. More like, “old” in the “olden days” of my playing career) used to try and have us play “civilized, championship baseball.” Up to this day I was always confused by that since the game in played in the dirt. I think he just didn’t want us mouthing off to the umpires.
Truth be told, I wasn’t a bad baseball player, I was quite good, actually. So, I can give you a first hand love of the game that comes from having hit a round ball, travelling at speeds that would be dangerous to drive, with a round bat squarely and true, making that round ball hop into the air and disappear from sight. The same is true for head-first slides. My first idol growing up was this guy and I perfected this well-timed slide that made the purpose of said slide effective and necessary. Then, he was traded. Next up on idol watch was this guy and it pretty much ended there. He was my guy.
Secondly, today marks the day that I get more excited about than even my birthday. Today is opening day of the 2016-2017 National Hockey League’s season. We play our first game Friday in Los Angeles. [That’s a funny thing. When talking about a team you root for, you sometimes combine them with your own reality and make them (or rather, yourself) a part of you. You refer to this team in the Royal fashion, the “we” version. Well, for me, they are a part of me. They’re a part of my own traditions, my own history. I believe that is why I have a right to include them within my fabric. It’s more than a sport when it gets to that point; it becomes a member of the family. Sometimes you’re embarrassed by them and sometimes you’re reminded why you get so excited just to see the combination of colors even in your daily life.]
I played a bunch of hockey growing up, I know the game fairly well and why people are moving in certain directions on the ice but I was never as good at hockey as I was at baseball or soccer. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I was able to practice baseball and soccer more than being able to find time to be on ice in semi-urban New Jersey. That’s what makes the sport so great. With other sports (not all – there are some that require you to be an alien as well), you’ve already been taught by your body how to walk and run and jump, it comes naturally to your being and is even something you do as a child in a form of “having fun.”
But you have to learn to skate.
You have to get up earlier in the morning than the person throwing papers. You have to fall. You have to learn your edges. You have to learn to glide. You have to learn how to stop [important]. For me, my parents understood my passion for the game and I am grateful to them for allowing me and financially making it possible for me to at least pursue it for a while. I’m also grateful that they made me learn to skate first. Imagine telling a five year old child (include whatever you know about Erikson’s stages of development) that in order for them to play a game, a simple game that they love so much, they will have to put in three years of work before they are allowed to even learn how to play the fundamentals of the game. That’s what I remember doing. I took skating lessons for three winters (this was when the only rink around was under a pavilion in the park in Trenton, before Iceland was built and year-round hockey was available) before I was allowed onto the ice with a stick in my hand. Many people don’t realize that about the game. They see the barbaric, intense, fierce side of the game. I see pure work. I see beauty.
Don’t get me wrong, I had bruises where you could see the stitching of the ball on my chest and shoulders from learning how to stop it properly at third base. I knew the work needed to become successful at other sports as well. But nothing made me work harder to become fluent than hockey.
Watching these men play at the level that the game has become is nothing short of a feat of spontaneous breeding. I feel the same way about American Football players or mostly all top level athletes in general. These people were put on this Earth to do this. They’ve put in the work to be where they are and they are somehow genetically a hell of a lot more suited for the work than we are. So, I live vicariously through them by watching them perfect my favorite game.
I could transition now to how hockey and baseball can be paired with beers and turn this back around into a blog about beer and maybe I will because I just thought about pairing beer with specific games so let’s try this out a bit:
With MLB Playoffs:
Stick to the regions. If you’re a Phillies fan, like me, you’re drinking in the tears of a time when Mike Schmidt was still on the team. See? Easy. Actually, it would be Yuengling. But, if you’re a Cubs fan you could stick to the Chicago roots and go with Half Acre because their beer is great. Dodgers? I know it’s not LA per se but Stone is a short drive away, their beer is fairly eponymous with what happened to the craft world. Same with San Fran, I don’t know California at all and I’m assuming it’s like Vermont. Cleveland? Drink Vermont.
If you’re a Flyers fans you drink from the cup of life of all that is good and holy because you were born a Flyers fan and anything you drink from said cup is deemed worthy of the Gods.
If you’re a Penguins fan: drink sand.
Just kidding! I love everyone!
Except the penguins.
Here’s some choice for you to ponder over while you make your choices for the watching of the sports:
Burlington Beer Co Orbital Elevator: I’m excited to try this as I have not tried this yet. It’s a double IPA from Vermont (shocker! We have double IPAs here!) but it’s made with a hefty amount of oats, which will add to the body of the beer. Again, excite.
Jackie O’s Mystic Mama: we generally shy away from showcasing IPAs from other parts of the country simply because we’re replete with them already. When I do bring them in I want them to be something that you can’t get readily around here. Mystic Mama is a definitive West-Coast style IPA, which means it’s far more malty than the Vermont ones. You should try it.
Hermit Thrush Brattleberry: A sour pale ale with berries from our friends who make really good sour pale ales with berries.
Hill Farmstead Susan: try this is contrast to the Jackie O’s Mystic Mama. This, to me, is the definitive Vermont IPA.
Have a good one.