Tuesday, October 9, 2018

More Beer Pix - the H.B. Albert Memorial Beck’sts


It was a little sad for me that, when researching my recent aquaculture post, I couldn’t consult my dad. It would have been a great conversation topic, and those weren’t always easy to come by. I say “weren’t” because my dad died last year. I’m now bumping into various anniversaries: of our last non-medical visit; of the unsuccessful surgery that was the beginning of the end; of the end itself; and, of the aftermath.

Now, I don’t cope with these anniversaries, nor did I cope with these events, by drinking beer. But, looking back, I can see the role that Beck’sting played in being supported through the gradual dénouement. Read on for some bittersweet memories, bitter beers, and fetching photos.

A note on the captions and other comments: throughout this post, I’ve included the initials of the Beck’ster and anybody who commented on his Beck’st. Where you see one letter only (e.g., “E—”) that’s somebody’s spouse, etc. And if you don’t know about Beck’sting, click here. For a follow-up gallery of Beck’sts click here.

Last time we hung out with Dad in a non-convalescent capacity– June 18, 2017

[All four brothers took the old man out for a Father’s Day dinner. We were together in Washington state for my nephew’s wedding. My dad, already in the throes of a losing battle with cancer, had made a heroic solo road trip—which we all knew would be his last—so he could attend.]

DA: This is a Boundary Bay Scotch Ale. You can tell H— is very impressed with my exquisite taste.

PCS: H— is looking dapper! Did you get him to drink a few brewskis?

DA: Very funny. I think he’s consumed a grand total of half a beer during his lifetime. He does look pretty baked in this photo, though. (Of course he’s not.)

BA: Well... it is a good picture of your Scotch Ale, Dana, but I’ve seen better of Dad! He was actually pretty chill for the time together, which was great.

Helping out post-surgery – September 6, 2017

PCS: Funkwerks Saison! Chillin’ with Dana....Gondo! [Gondo = Café Gondolier, a Boulder favorite.]

DA: Funkwerks Saison! Very good, out of Fort Collins. Chillin’ with Pete at the Gondo!

DW: I bet that Funkwerks is a hella lot better than the Mirror Pond that’s sitting in my fridge, which I have on good authority is meh.

JL: Gondo Bext! Double Gondo Bext! That’s got to be worth 50 points! Maybe more! How many plates of spag will Dana eat tonight? And why aren’t you there are on all you can eat night???? Or is Wednesday all you can eat night…? I thought it was Tuesday. What are you doing out there Dana????

DA: We missed spag spesh night by one night! So we had garlic twists, one plate of spag, and shared a pizza. Good times! I am in town helping my dad out after a major surgery. At least that’s my excuse. I am really here for the spag!

DA [later than evening]: This is one of my very favorite beers: the Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA. Isn’t it amazing that the Gondo, an iconic restaurant from our childhoods, is now serving us brilliant adult beverages?

JL: Yes, you are correct.

DW: Great Bex’ts. What’s on tap for tomorrow...some 180 mile mega ride with 22,000’ of climbing? After a few of those awesome looking beers and the twisted, elated, conspiring expressions you both have, I’m sure that’s what you were planning. On the other hand, did you guys put your phones down and talk to each other, or just kept checking your social media accounts with a nod, grunt or response that had nothing to do with the question asked from the other? Both are totally acceptable, BTW.

DA [the next day]: LOL. I meant to ignore Pete and Max by immersing myself in online dialogues but I don’t have enough virtual friends to make that work! We’re going to do some kind of mega-ride. I might go for some bonus miles by riding to Golden to meet Peter. Kind of depends on how comfortable the saddle is on my rental bike. I am kind of hurting this morning ... can’t tell if it’s the beer, the overeating, or the stress of being a ... CAREGIVER. (Say that reverently, with a pregnant pause for effect beforehand.)

Helping with skilled nursing facility, then hospice – October 17-26, 2018

DA: Maxin’ out with Bryan and Max at the Gondolier in Boulder. This is a Modus Hoperandi IPA from Ska Brewing in Durango. It’s 6.8 IBU and 88 IBUs but surprisingly smooth and darn good!

JL: Bryan looks angry for a guy with a nice looking full pint of beer in front of him — what did you say to him?? Or maybe he’s just hangry because they haven’t delivered the spag yet. And what brought you guys to Boulder? Weren’t you just there?

BA: Here’s the view from the other side of the table. The spag spesh is a nice reprieve from all the action here in Boulder.

DW: Dana looks equally angry. I hope you guys had more than one IPA.

DA: We are here visiting my dad who is very sick. As in very, very sick ... we are on the way back from the airport having just fetched Geoff [who flew in from Holland]. Sorry to be a downer.

JL: Oh man, I’m really sorry to hear this. There was a part of me that was wondering if something bad was up with your first email, but then I “perished the thought.” You and the brothers are there, and that’s good. My thoughts are with you guys.

DA: Thanks John. I thought about saying something earlier but I didn’t want to taint a perfectly good Beck’st. Things are headed pretty swiftly in the inevitable direction....


DA: At Uncle Max’s pimpin’ new bachelor pad. Dan, note that even though the New Belgium Trippel specifically recommends stemware, I served these in a proper (and non-carcinogenic) pint glass.

DA (continued): Here’s another. New Belgium Trippel, Crystal Brewing Blood Orange Kolsch, Great Divide Colette.

JL: The perspective appears to be from someone who has already had a few too many… For me, I’m having this odd “IPL” [India Pale Lager] from Jack’s Abby. It’s “cleaner” than an IPA I would say. Slightly more refreshing, but still very flavorful. It might become my new favorite beer. Oh, and it’s in a can, which is my preferred container for beer in the summer/warmer months. Many breweries around here are putting more of their beers in cans. It’s “cool.”

October 27, 2017

[I sent this Beck’st just a few hours after my dad’s death, which is described here. I snapped this photo at the Dushanbe Teahouse, a restaurant my dad raved about but which we somehow never managed to visit together. It was weird to be dining in such a swanky place while our dad was laid out stiff somewhere, but I guess life goes on. As if to underscore this point, at the Teahouse we happened to run into the hospice nurse who’d been at our childhood home with us, and even in the room with us, when our father died. I didn’t feel like addressing these surreal feelings in my Beck’st—much less typing a lot with two thumbs during dinner—so I kept my Beck’st short and sweet.]

DA: A local beer from Avery Brewing Company, the White Rascal Belgian style white, at the Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder. Delicious! I hired a model to pose in the background. Huh huh, no. That’s my niece R—.

PCS: That’s good times! Cheers to the memories.

BA: Good times indeed. As much as I’m relieved that the late night amateur nursing care, the [heinous] ostomy odors and the gut-wrenching pain of it all are (more or less) behind me, I’m really going to miss the rich, wonderful times with these brothers. I can’t imagine what it would be like going through something like this alone. We had some good Beck’sts, that’s for sure. The food at this tea house was really good, as was the tea I had. Who could have known?

Memorial trip – November 16-18, 2017

DA: This is a Mojo IPA from Boulder Brewing. Pretty yum! Note the reflection of my checkered napkin, and of course Evil Uncle Bryan in the background. We are in Boulder for my dad’s upcoming memorial.

BA: Too bad your phone has such a tiny lens with such a small aperture, otherwise you’d be able to blur out the background a bit better! Still, good times, all things considered.

DA: Actually, I was thinking the main flaw with this photo is that you’re so bald.


DA: Liquid Mechanic Belgian IPA, post-memorial. [Pete gave me a lift to the memorial “after-party,” held at a friend’s house in a suburb outside Boulder, and when we drove by the Liquid Mechanic brewery Pete made an executive decision and swung into the parking lot. He’d wanted to try this place, and this seemed the perfect opportunity. The memorial had gone just fine, but so many complete strangers approached me afterward and talked my ear off—all on the subject of a dead man who’d been my father—I was feeling pretty damn overwhelmed. This glorious beer and a little peace and quiet were exactly what I needed.]

DW: You guys look quite dapper in your sports coats. That beer looks pretty darn tasty too. Sorry about your dad, Dana. I hope this bex’t will make you laugh a bit. This is my GWAR bex’t.

DW (continued): This is a Tropical and Juicy from The Hop Concepts in San Diego. This IPA blew me away. It was delicious and a total surprise. We stopped in Sacramento on our way down to Ventura for Thanksgiving. No shortage of breweries in Downtown Sac. We tried Fieldwork, but there was no room and not an ideal arrangement for two 15-year-olds. My kids were very hangry and not amused with my need to get to a brewery. “What’s wrong with Denny’s?” I think I heard. We walked over to something called “Burgers and Brew.” The name is a bit hokey, but it had good ratings and a great selection of craft beer. There was a huge line next to the restaurant with a lot of metal heads, hanging on from the 90’s. The reason? Next to Burgers and Brew was the night club “Ace of Spades” and that’s where GWAR was playing. One unfortunate thing about Bend (and most of Oregon, except PDX) is a lack of ethnic diversity. Hanging out in Sac for awhile was nice for that, and the cultural experience of metal heads was a whole new level of diversity that my kids were pretty blown away with. I played them a YT video of GWAR in all their glory.

DA: Wow, cool Beck’sts! I confess that a) I didn’t know Fieldwork had expanded from Berkeley to other locales like Sac, and b) I had to look up “GWAR.” I asked E— if she’d heard of GWAR and she replied, “I’ve heard of guar gum.” Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the crowd as much as the Tropical and Juicy IPA. I love the idea of ageing metal-heads (or “metallists” as we used to call them in high school). I have managed to turn [my daughter] A— on to Metallica. That’s not so hard though, since they’re tot’ly wicked. BTW, my brother Max made a new year’s resolution a few years back (one of many) which was “no more classic rock people.”

Follow-up Boulder trip, cleaning out Dad’s house – March 5-6, 2018

DA: Here’s another Boulder Beck’st with Uncle Peter, Uncle Bryan, and Evil Uncle Max. The beers in the glasses are a Belgian style from Upslope Brewing, a local place. Gorgeous beer. Note the pasta dough—fresh pasta is imminent and nothing goes better with beer except maybe friends and brothers. Fortunately we’ve hit the trifecta! Note also the also local (Denver) Great Divide Titan IPA, a solid choice. Good times!

JL: You guys are all looking good. Real good. However, that “pasta dough” as you call it looks more like an alien tumor. Yikes.

Road trip Beck’st – March 7, 2018

DA: Bryan and I are at the Nevada Hotel in Ely. Our room came with free breakfast at Denny’s and free Budweisers at the bar. I reckon these are about 8-oz. beers and maybe 3.2% ABV. They were slightly better than nothing and the company was top-notch.

JL: I must have missed something. Why are you in the middle of nowhere Nevada????

BA: ROAD TRIP! We were driving Dana’s new car to Cali. He inherited Dad’s Toyota Scion XB, in case you hadn’t heard… So we were havin’ a Bud. It was nothing special but I must confess, it was better than I thought it would be. (That was my first Bud ever.)

Real estate closure – March 10, 2018

DA: Here are Bryan and I celebrating the closing of a major real estate transaction: selling our father’s house. (I finished the paperwork during the Boulder trip but of course it wasn’t really done until the wire transfer came through.) This is at Fieldwork, which is not only the best brewery in NorCal but happens to be walking distance from my house. Bryan has a Belgian “table beer” of some kind and I have got a Radlands IPA. Both very tasty!

DA (continued): I’m not sure this is technically a selfie. We used the self-timer, which predates the selfie by many decades, innit? 

Life goes on – April 12, 2018

DA: I’m up to 174 pounds but the wife says I’m still too scrawny to cuddle, so here I am Beck’sting again. Solo-Beck’sting, no less, in clear violation of my only-drink-with-friends rule. E— put her foot down about that, on the grounds that the only way for me to fill back out after the all-too-effective South Beach Diet is thru regular consumption of beer. Hence the flurry of Beck’sts lately. Don’t worry, though: I can quit anytime I want. In the background there is my new car. Dad called it the Toaster (or “Towster” to be precise) but it’s my car now and I am calling it Boxtro. Bryan can provide the etymology. The beer is an East Brothers Pilsner. It’s okay—paying my rent at this coffee shop is all. They don’t serve Lagunitas IPA here anymore which is a bummer.

PCS: Beck’staholic!

BA: Boxtro was some kind of stuffed animal, though I’m not remembering too well just what kind of animal it was, a bear, I guess, but it seems it had smooth skin rather than hair or fur. I have a memory of someone squirting toothpaste on Boxtro’s head, which proved very difficult to remove. I’m not sure how the name came about. It was Max’s pet, was it not? The car’s looking good!

DA: Boxtro was a teddy bear, and you’re right, he had oddly smooth fur, like a bed sheet. You, Geoff, and Max were huddled around the bear, and I watched with fascination as one of you meticulously drew a figure-8 in Crest on the bear’s head. Max seemed oddly cool with this, perhaps because it was so gratifying to be participating in a group activity with his cool older brothers.

The car is just fine, but E— is begging me to get some hubcaps. Where the hell did Dad put them, after he had the rims spray-painted? I should have asked him when I had the chance…

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