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La: La la la la la Beer!

2003-10-02 - 2:04 p.m.

Okay, those of you who know me are going to need to sit down (of course, it occurs to me that no one I know would be reading this standing up, unless they were perhaps in an internet cafe type situation, in which case they probably don't have much choice).

Today, I did something I never thought I'd do.

I bought . . . beer.

Okay, I know you need a moment, so just go ahead and take it, I'll wait.

Are you okay? Good.

Now, before you make phone calls to your friends and loved ones, telling them that you wanted them to know you loved them before Hell froze over and pigs took to the sky and Gabriel blew his war trumpet and began the final battle with Bennifer, I need to tell you that this was no ordinary beer.

This was pumpkin ale.

I first heard about this elusive concoction on the oft mentioned Tomato Nation, where Sars waxed rhapsodic about Post Road Pumpkin Ale, which is apparently only available in the tri-state area (and I mean THE tri-state area, people, the Texas/Arkansas/Louisiana border doesn't count). Her feelings were echoed by Keckler, of The Grub Report ( and Enterpise recaps on TWOP.

By the way, whatever you do, don't read the Grub Report between the hours of, say, 9pm and 7am, because Keckler is a gourmet chef, and put her notes from chef school online, and when you've read a few entries about wine sauces and the history of cheese you'll be willing to eat a member of your family provided they're wrapped in puff pastry, and chances are that the local french bistro or gourmet deli might not be open at those times, endangering the lives of those around you.

Both of these women spoke at length about how yummylicious this beverage was, and when I was in whole foods and saw that they were selling pumpkin ale, I didn't hesitate to pop a six-pack in my shopping cart.

My hope is that it tastes like drinking pumpkin pie. My fear is that it will still taste like beer.

I credit my counsins' love of beer--something as Texan as cowboy boots and prejudice--as the reason why I didn't start drinking until my Senior year. I would occassionally pick up their discarded bottles at family gatherings and then want to throw up at the apparent presence of butt sweat and urine in a brown bottle. Also, the color doesn't help. I think that if it had tasted that way and been, say, ice blue, it would have gone down easier. As is, I decided that I didn't want to drink ever at that point, much to the pleasure of my parents.

Then I discovered hard liquor!

My first drink--with the exception of champagne toasts at weddings and such--was a Cuba Libre, which is coke, rum, and a lime. I was about 16 and drinking with my family in Mexico, at a club where generations of my mother's family had gotten trashed, danced, and sang badly (see previous entries). As someone who could barely stomach water because it wasn't sweet enough, I was thrilled to have finally found a drink that tasted like candy.

And so I became a living representation of the famous Kids in the Hall sketch, Girlie Drink Drunk. I was all about raiding the liquor cabinet and then seeing what could mix with what soda. The first time I ever got drunk, falling-down, laughing for no reason drunk, was on gin and ginger ale, which is apparently a highball, except when you serve it in a really big glass, like I did.

I think it helped that I lived in Texas, where a margarita or even a daiquiri is an excellent substitute for a beer, especially in the heat of summer. To facilitate in our girlie drink drunkenness, Texas, along with many other Southern states, is home to Sonic, a fast food place that specializes in serving an assortment of slushies, meaning that we essentially had frozen drink mixes 12 hours a day. In drama class in high school, one of the actresses, whom we'll call Serena, always brought in a Sonic slushy laced with bacardi 151. We always had a couple of sips to steel our nerves.

The year after I graduated, people had a few more sips, and the subsequent performance featured much slurring of words and forgotten lines. Our drama teacher was not pleased.

Of course, my ultimate girlie drink is the Mimosa, that blend of orange juice and champagne that comes pre-bottled, conveniently enough. I can down and entire bottle in 20 minutes, and have done so. Once, I downed a bottle and so did this other guy, and I had my first one night stand. Another time, I downed two bottles all by myself, and had my first hangover. I miss Mimosas these days, not having any convenient cast parties to chug a bottle at. However, I will always hold the memories dear to me, be they me and a fellow freshmen in the Intui-chair's bedroom or me with my head in my hands, staring at my hash browns and trying to figure out who had replaced my champagne with arsenic.

I've tried to branch out. In the north, I had cider, which is essentially beer without the taste of ass, and the hard liquor marketeers have conveniently provided me with Smirnoff ice. But I could never get to beer, ever. Once I tried a gourmet beer, but all I could say was, "This tastes like a fireplace, in kind of a good way. You can have it back now."

Hopefully, pumpkin ale will get me one step closer to drinking the proper Texas way. If not, I'll just give it to my friend and tell them to give me a call when they need help finishing off their white chocolate liquor. I've been know to blend it with raspberry vodka and drink it straight, because I'm hardcore like that.

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