Dear Beer Journal,
I have a crush.
Now, I probably shouldn’t be writing this down, because no one can ever, ever, ever, ever know about this crush, especially not all those bigmouths over at Harpoon, but I just can’t help myself. I think about my crush all the time, I wrote our initials in mustard when I got barley pretzels from Ovenly NYC yesterday, I fantasized about the names of our children (Sam, Adam, and our daughter, Porkslap), and I kept the “Rolling with the Homies” tape that was playing when we shared our first drink. Yes, Beer Journal, I’m in love with my liver. I’m not afraid to say it, I want to shout it from the top of the mountain depicted on the Coors Light cans, wherever that may be. I’m in love!!! If only keyboards could dot my exclamation points with hearts.
The problem is I think my liver will never love me again for what I’ve done to it tonight. Now, I do not have regular access to any MRI equipment so I can’t say for sure, but I am fairly certain that NY Craft Beer Week has turned my once perky, pink and shiny liver into something resembling a raisin. A California raisin, of course, like the ones that wear cool suits and sing lounge covers, but a bit more sweaty and washed up. A later years Ray Charles California raisin. I just don’t think my liver will ever know how much I love it. It will always hold it against me that I spent the last six days and six years drowning the poor thing in amber liquids comprised of pure pollen honey, organic essence of apricot nectar, and nail polish remover.
Tonight, I went to Brewer’s Choice, at which a collection of high end craft brews and the men and women who make them all came together to sip and binge at City Winery in SoHo. Fifteen brewers strutted their stuff while the poor souls surrounding these Gods sat at sampling tables and tried to get me to eat their gourmet pickles to line my stomach. I thought this would be a Brewer’s Thunderdome event—a competition to the death of Dionysian concoctions—but the only competition going on was who could wheedle their way to the corner where oysters were being shucked. I chose to remove myself from that competition and munched on a mini pork sausage and sweet onion mayonnaise on a challah roll instead.
I’ve been drinking beer for six days straight now, and I’ve begun to think that each of these events is really just a way of eliminating the weak. The first events were fun and had lots of pumpkin brews and fun, drunk people, but as we get further into the week, the beers have higher alcohol content and fellow drinkers look and speak like they were trained to take on malted barely by the keg. Last night’s Brewer’s Choice was not for the faint of heart, stomach or any other organ. I had a feeling that everyone at this event had been doing keg stands on Toasted Blue Point at their first communion. Even one of the local gourmet chefs was slicing bread that was made from beer, 10% of the dough being Six Point Sweet Action. It did the opposite of what I usually want bread to do when I’m drinking.
And then, I did it. I did the one thing my liver had asked me not to do ever again after New Year’s Eve 1998. When everyone else was flipping out about the oysters, sucking them down like human Roombas, I saw a brewer from Southampton Publick House turn away from the crowd, reach under the white tablecloth, and take out an unmarked large black bottle with black foil on the top. At first I assumed it was Andre, so I shoved my dirty little glass in his face and said “Can I have that?” He looked at me the way my dad looks at me when I ask for money to pay for my routine liposuction (this is New York, not Wisconsin, I can’t walk around with a craft beer belly). “This is a rare bottle, so just a little bit,” he said. He poured me a taste, and I saw that it was clearly not the lipgloss pink color of Andre, but took on a palette that matched the shine of Shakira’s hair. The smell of nutmeg and Giada De Laurentis filled my nostrils. I drank. The beer tasted like a chocolate-dipped Stella topped with Pinot sprinkles and drinking it gave me the same satisfaction of sneaking Manishevitz at Passover when I was still in Hebrew School. “This beer was made in wine casks,” said my friend as I forced him to pour another glass of Southampton Biere de Garde for me, lest I say something nasty about him on this very important journalistic piece. “So, good luck.” I’d sworn I’d never mix wine and beer again, but there I was, convincing my new friend to play Kings in the corner with my new favorite potion.
I’m not too sure what happened after that. I know I finished off the Ovenly barley pretzels and lost my phone among the casks of Amontillado below City Winery, but I don’t really care because the last thing I remember is tasting the wine/beer, and if that’s the last thing I remember before my liver leaves me for some other, younger body and causes me to die, well then cheers.
Oh journal who am I kidding? I love my liver, and I’ve been a really bad organ host to it. As I was making the Facebook event “Cask of Amontillado stole my phone Give me Your Numbers,” I took a deep breath and a cork wrapped in wire popped out of my nose. I guess I deserved that. It’s so mad at me, I just hope it will get over itself eventually and realize how much we need each other.
Plus, I refuse to be a member of the NY Craft Beer Weak. I have only one more event to go to, and it will quite possibly have the most hops and the most alcohol content of all NY Craft Beer Week events. On Sunday afternoon, day drinkers will unite at Brewer’s Bash at Eleven Madison Park. Tickets are $125, but the glory of being able to say you made it to the final party is well worth it. Maybe that’s when I’ll tell my liver how I feel.
Wish me luck!