First the good news. After only a couple days of moderate eating since my return from California, my accumulated weight gain is less than five pounds.
The bad news is that later today I am scheduled to meet with my doctor. Together, we will finally go over the blood test results I’ve been avoiding, and I will learn how my cholesterol levels are doing.
That could potentially mean not just a shift back to a more draconian diet, but also it may require some kind of regular, moderate exercise. I’m not sure which one of those I find to be more onerous. So naturally, on my last day of living in uninformed bliss, I decided to grab one last deep fried buffalo hamburger from Swifty’s.
When I eat that thing (ordered rare) all is good with the world, and I truly enter a state of bliss. Seriously. I can feel waves of happiness cascade over me. This isn’t a metaphor. I get a strong physical sensation of joy (somewhere behind my eyes).
But this isn’t about the bruger. I’ve already gushed about that. This is about the beer. And what must be the heartbreak of beer lovers everywhere. What I’m confused about is why I don’t hear about it more.
Now partially I blame this from just coming back from several days with my friend Doc. He sends things back. All the time. Sometimes, just for fun. And his lovely wife J (who I just learned likes to be mentioned in these posts) married him anyway.
I hate sending things back. Somewhere in the archive of almost 1,000 posts I’ve surely mentioned this. But sometimes something is just unpleasant and you need to deal with it. Hanging out with someone like Doc helps give you the confidence to pull a move like this when it’s needed. Because it’s never fun, and you never know how your complaint will be received.
But the beer I ordered to accompany my beloved burger was bad.
Over the past several months I’ve been paying a lot more attention to beer. I’ve been sniffing, tasting, observing heads, contemplating lacing, and considering how many shades of brown exist in the universe. Luckily, I’ve yet to become a beer snob. I’m really just a competent novice. But I do feel like I’ve got a good handle on what beer should taste like.
The Brooklyn Summer Ale seemed like a good pick at the time. It was on tap, I was sitting outside, and I was going to be eating a spicy deep fried burger with more fries on the side. I wanted something a bit light and refreshing, with maybe a bit of citrus I’ve come to expect in summer ales.
What I got was something dull and flat with a musty aftertaste. It wasn’t bright or clean, and it brought no pleasure. This wasn’t about picking the wrong beer, nor was it about clashing with the food. I had my first sips before I even ordered the burger, so my taste buds were still in good shape.
So after I placed my food order with the waiter. I told him, “I don’t think this beer tastes the way it should, I’d like to have a Southern Tier IPA instead.” To the waiter’s credit, he took back the bad beer without hesitation, brought out the new beer, and everything was right with the world.
As a relative neophyte in the beer world, I’m wondering how often things like this happen. I know that ordering glasses of wine is a minefield, and I’m starting to think beer may be very similar in this regard too. I know that some kegs can sit around a little bit too long and beer lines don’t always get the maintenance and cleaning they require. But there may be other potential pitfalls to look out for when ordering beer in bars.
Beer geeks, I’m eager to hear from you on this.
By the way, my choice of the IPA wasn’t accidental. I figured that a beer based on a formula built for heartiness at sea, would probably be a good bet for other potentially arduous conditions on land. This logic served me well, and it may inform future beer choices when drinking out at places that don’t cater to the beer cognoscenti.