I’m reaching that age when the milestones start to pile up: a kid graduates from high school, then another, then it’s an empty nest, a niece’s wedding, a kid turns 21 and can legally drink beer … hey, did somebody say beer? That’s more interesting than all these sentimental milestones! And guess what: this post attempts to knit the two topics together via a series of Beck’sts.
What? You haven’t heard of Beck’sting? What rock have you been teetotaling under? Get thee to a brewery! Or, click here.
Note: as with previous posts about Beck’sts, I’ve grouped these thematically. I’ve included captions and commentary, and the initials of the Beck’ster. Where you see one letter only (e.g., “E—”) that’s generally somebody’s spouse or other family member. These are roughly chronological, beginning with where my last such post, about the COVID-era Beck’sts, left off.
DA: Well, L— graduated from high school. This isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, though one always worries there’s some missing class or something. For her celebratory dinner, she wanted pho, so we went to this giant place that used to be a Sizzler, only to learn that it is take-out only. WTF?! It’s the size of an aircraft hangar! So we went to some other random place. We were literally the only customers. The waitress, a downtrodden-looking, bent-over old woman in peasant attire, was really dour and acted super put-upon. E— asked about this soup with a fermented broth, and the waitress said, “It has a smell.” E— asked “What does it smell like?” to which the waitress replied, “Feet.” E— asked if it tastes good. “It’s good,” the waitress said noncommittally. E— ordered something else.
DA (continued): So, one of the cooler things about this restaurant was that they listed Elysian Brewing Space Dust IPA as one of their draft beers. You don’t see that one very often. On the chalkboard it was listed as Space Dust, but on the menu it was called Dust Space IPA. I tried to order it but the waitress said, “Out.” I asked what the Big Wave beer was. “It’s the new one,” she growled. I tried it, hence this Beck’st. Sure enough, it ended up being one of those watery lagers from Kona Brewing. It’s like Hawaii’s version of Pacifico and I mean that in the worst possible way. Anyway, it was a liquid, and cold, and went fine with the food, which was fine. Oddly, the waitress never did take away any of the plates and serving dishes, even when she brought dessert. It was all still piled up when we left. You don’t get much for $125 anymore...
Summer break Beck’st
DA: A— is visiting for a couple weeks! (Since she started college, she never comes home for summers.) Alongside some pretty good guacamole, I’m enjoying this Deschutes Fresh Haze, an old favorite. It broke 90 degrees here today!
DA (continued): OMG. I just realized there is something seriously, seriously wrong with that photo. These stupid modern phones and their convoluted camera software!
BA: That is freaky... Was it a panorama or something? The beer looks wonderful, though!
DA: Monday is a disease. Meet the cure.
DA (continued): Regarding the text of my Beck’st a minute ago: in case you missed my cinematic reference and just thought I was a dork, see below. (Not that I’m not a dork...)
DA: After a long day of moving stuff and building furniture in our mom’s new home, BA and I are relaxing with these fun sized beers. They are only 4 oz! Of course we would prefer a whole beer, but we’re worried about our weight.
DA (continued): Actually, that last text suffered the fate of so many photos taken with phone cameras with absurdly wide-angled lenses. These are actually 12 oz beers, and they are a new variety from New Belgium called Juice Force Imperial IPA. They are freaking GOOD, especially for summer when a refreshingly fruity beer is welcome. (By the way, I understand that we are incorrectly drinking these out of wine glasses. No other glasses have been unpacked and we wanted to see how hazy this beer is, and to spleen DW about the stemware.)
Nephew from Netherlands Beck’st
My nephew M— (name rhymes with “Ox”) and his girlfriend D—are visiting from the Netherlands. They’re enjoying 6-oz. Easy Rider IPAs and I’ve got a proper pint of the Henhouse IPA. Not shown: the Little Star pizza and Fieldworks IPA we enjoyed later! Life is good…
PCS: Wait, I thought your kids HATE Little Star pizza. I recall getting that pizza one night at your place and your kids mercilessly hazing you over the decision of getting Little Star instead of Zach’s. How could you!? Anyhow, your beers look great. Why are the Dutch youngsters drinking only 6 oz beers?
DA: Yeah, my kids always bitch & moan about Little Star, but at the end of the day they’d always prefer it over nothing, which they know is always a possibility if they push me too far. In this case we couldn’t get take-out because E— was taking a final exam online and we wanted to stay out of her hair, but we couldn’t eat at Zach’s because they don’t have outdoor seating. As far as the Dutch youngsters splitting a beer, I’m not really sure what that was about because they each had a full pint of Fieldworks with dinner. Maybe they shared the first beer just to be romantic?
JL: This is a great Beck’st. It is what all Beck’st’s should aspire to be. And I can’t help but notice that your nephew M— (rhymes with “Ox”) looks like a younger version of your brother M— (rhymes with “Axe”). The smile in particular. Nice photo and it’s great that the couple shared a beer early in the night to be “romantic” (or whatever), and then each had their own stronger beer later in the night to be badass and individual. That’s a couple that can last.
DW: The young couple must still be trying to determine who is the taker and who is the giver in the relationship. They’re halfway there, apparently. Speaking of Beck’sts, check out this Georgetown Bodhizafa IPA - Very good! I was hoping for Barley Brown’s. The place we were at usually carries it, but this was a nice substitute. Nice way to celebrate a tough week.
DA: JL, that is a very insightful insight about the couples romantic-shared-beer + individual-solo-beer. Would that all insights could be so insightful. And DW, that is a tasty looking beer and the photo, showing the toast, captures a conviviality that is a tonic after so much isolation.
Empty nest Beck’sts
DA: L—’s last dinner “at home” (i.e., in her hometown) with us before leaving for college tomorrow. This restaurant has Racer 5 on tap ... SCORE!
DA (later): This Beck’st is commemorating my magnum opus (well, opus #2). I have been keeping this journal for most of L—’s life. During the last couple weeks I spent >35 hours editing it so I could give it as a going-away present (as I did with my first daughter). Kind of poignant as tomorrow we’ll drive L— off to college and become Empty Beck’sters. (You didn’t think I was gonna say empty nesters, did ya??) Alas, this beer is kind of meh.
JL: This is truly astounding. My PhD dissertation was much shorter than this. Magnum opus (#2 no less) indeed! My man. Well earned Beck’st, so it sucks that the beer was meh.
DA (5 days later): Our final meal with L— before dropping her at her dorm and saying our goodbyes. This beer, from the very local Lost Coast Brewery (visible from this marina restaurant patio), is a hazy IPA, quite tasty, and only $4.25! (E—’s wine was $9 and she reports it’s as meh as every glass of wine she’s ever had, but she won’t give up trying to learn to like wine. But I am not bitter.) Anyway, we are officially empty Beck’sters now. Be sure to submit your questions for my Ask an Empty Nester column, coming soon to albertnet! (PS: L—’s beverage is an Italian soda. Why they put whipped cream on it is beyond me.)
DA: A— is officially legal to drink! She is in town celebrating her birthday, among other things, as her college term starts much later than her sister’s. This is at the Biergarten and these are Fieldwork East Motel IIPAs. Frickin’ brilliant.
AA: So proud to be a part of a Beck’st! I’ve been awaiting this moment for years :)
DW: Welcome AA! I want to congratulate you on your fine choice of beer (first beer? Probably not…) and proper pint glass. I was afraid you may have been corrupted somehow about what a proper vessel for beer is.
DA: Actually, we were on our way walking to Fieldwork when I saw that the Biergarten didn’t look terribly packed, and I was thinking that it might be better to go there simply because they serve all their beer in proper pint glasses, and I was actually dreading these new glasses that Fieldwork has that are so absolutely hideous that they would have you PUKING FOR DECADES. I snapped a photo of one of them at one point, but I couldn’t bring myself to Beck’st it to anybody, despite the morbid curiosity you might have about it.
JL: Congratulations to AA on your induction into the Beck’sting club! May you have many happy Beck’sts to come! (But not too many…)
DA: Indeed, it’s good to have AA in the loop but only, apparently, in a receive-only mode. What this means, AA, is that you can (and should) Beck’st us but we (or at least I) cannot Beck’st you. This is a directive from your mother who seeks to avoid any improper behavioral modeling on my part.
DW: [My son’s new father-in-law] gave me this Belgian White Beer when we were back in NY last week. I’m usually not a big fan of Belgian White beers, but this one was really good, even in that glass. I pleaded with him to let me drink it from the can but he wasn’t having it. “Oh no, I have the perfect glass for this beer. It’s my favorite Belgian,” said he. So it goes.
DA: DW, looking closely at that glass, I see it has the Delirium Tremens logo on it. I’d recognize that pink elephant anywhere. The DT is an astonishingly good beer. I feel your son has married into a great family, stemware notwithstanding! (Full disclosure: I have a full set of Duvel stemware. Stemware is arguably appropriate for Belgian beers.)
DW: Since we’re apparently being all sophisticated, I am thinking about getting “The Master and Margarita” audiobook, but just not sure if I’m up to it. “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” was one of my favorite novellas, so maybe I’m ready to make the leap; however, Russian authors to me are analogous to Bob Dylan. I wish I was intellectual enough to understand the significance of Bob Dylan.
DA: I don’t really get Dylan either though I know I should. And while I haven’t read “The Master and Margarita,” E— has heard good things about it, and AA’s friend M— absolutely loves it, and she is a wunderkind who read it in the original Russian, being fluent. So that’s a pretty good recommendation I think. In fact, I would starting reading it right now, but I don’t know where our copy is. It’s not all that long by Russian novel standards; only about 400 pages, which is an 8 hour 22 minute audiobook. If you’re still not feeling up to that, you might consider “Master and Man” by Tolstoy. E— loved it, and in length it falls in between a short story and a novella, at a brisk 2 hours 9 minutes on audiobook. I’m definitely going to check that one out. Just be careful when you’re browsing Hoopa or Libby or whatever for that title … it’s not to be confused with “A Masterful Man”:
DW: Thanks for the feedback on Russian authors and novels. I do know you know KNOB-Ah-Cov really well, so, you’re sorta my go-to. I’ve seen “Anna Karenina” around, maybe even at my own house. I think T— has read that..back in her reading days. Just the mere sight of that book scares me! No book should be that tall, sitting on its side, on a shelf. Or that heavy.
Kids catching up Beck’st
PCS: I’m cruising Italy with S— and the kiddos. We spent a couple of days in Florence doing the museums and cathedrals. Now, we’re in the Tuscan countryside for 6 days of riding from town to town. I’ve got to say, it is truly gorgeous riding here. It’s hot as hell but the heat sure makes the beer taste great! S—’s Aperol Spritz is next to my Peroni.
DA: Dude, you’re livin’ large as possible, posse unstoppable! Nothing like a nice, refreshing, watery Italian beer after a day in the heat, eh? So are the kiddies riding bikes, too? Be sure to Cancellara them here and there, just to remind them who’s boss. (That is, if you still can…)
PCS: Yeah, the kiddos are riding. I don’t think I could put too big of a hurt on H— except he’s getting up early and running before we go ride. M— had a colossal meltdown today on the ride into town which was at the top of a 5 km climb. I figure, they have to earn their keeps somehow!
DA: Normally the kids make 100% sure we have plenty of Halloween candy well before the big day, and are even known to test it for quality. But this year, without their guidance, our pumpkin went un-carved and we didn’t get to Safeway for candy until the afternoon of Halloween, and they were completely sold out! Thus, we’re hiding from the would-be trick-or-treaters this evening by having the lights out. We ate dinner (easily heated leftovers) by candlelight, and just to be extra safe, I chose this stealth beer, a Guinness. It went down real nice, though I couldn’t fully appreciate the nice head on it (courtesy of the widget in the can).
Kids home Beck’st
DA: Both kids are home for winter break and tonight I’ve taken them out to the movies. We’re about to watch “Avatar - Way of Wankers.” This Denogginizer Double IPA is here to help. Wish me luck!
PCS: You’ll definitely need two drinks for that movie!
DA (3+ hours later): Au contraire, they’re almost $10/pop! I split one with AA. The movie was better than I expected. Lots of folderol but also some great action.
DW: Maybe the ABV% was much higher than you realized. Awesome mini theatre. In other news, we were in Eugene and they happened to have a brewery there.
JL: I’m probably alone on this, but I like a lot of folderol in my big budget Hollywood dreck. “Bring on the folderol!” I’m always shouting at the screen. Good looking beer. DW’s too.
DA: DW, that’s a nice looking brew you have there, and I like the “distressed” table as well - looks like a legit place. JL, now I finally know who it was yelling “More folderol!” at the screen when I watched “Fast & Furious XVII - Big Fat & Sassy” a couple weeks back.
Wedding after-party Beck’st
DA: I am not drinking during January. At least, not officially … but I wasn’t going to miss out on the after-party, at a cool bar with lots of pinball machines, after my niece’s wedding. I don’t know what this IPA is, some local thing. BA has the Guinness on nitro.
DW: Nooice! I love your attempt at a dry January. The same thing happened to me on Friday. We happened to go back to Deschutes Brewery and I ordered another one of their killer pilsners. N— and L— showed up and had water and a Diet Coke or something. They steadfastly reminded me about Dry January. So ... I’m in. Looking forward to it actually.