When I was 19, I went to a bar. I'm not proud of it, but I did. What I'm even more ashamed of was that while there, before I could order my Harpoon Oktoberfest, a woman in a short red dress came up to me and asked if I wanted some free Molson Canadian beer. It was one of those dresses that come in the packaged Halloween costumes from brands like "Leg Avenue" and "Babydoll Temptress." I think her particular outfit had been a nurse costume, because there was still a cross above the Molson Canadian patch she had sewn on the breast.
Now, as tasty as the spicy nectar of Harpoon Oktoberfest is, what honest person, using a fake identification, gives up a free beer? Beer should be a right, not a privilege, anyway. I worked very hard for my money (selling Adderall to engineering majors), so I deserved to be rewarded, even if the reward tasted like foot.
Nurse Molson told me if I paid for just one Molson Canadian I could get free beer all night, PLUS I would get a souvenir glass to drink it in. "And Billy over there will engrave it." She motioned toward a guy with a beveling gun in the corner of the bar. He waved, his dreadlocks whipping around his face in the wind from the bar's only fan.
Naturally, I drank free beer all night, and had Billy engrave my full name in capital cursive letters onto the glass. When the bouncer noticed that the name on the glass did not match the name on my fake ID, or when I threw up on his shoes, I was kicked out.
Memories. Anyway, right now I don't feel so good. Last night, I decided to change up my NY Craft Beer Week routine, get away from the traditional booze binges that the festival has offered, and go for something more educational. I chose to attend Pretty Things vs. Funky Cheeses, a beer and cheese pairing education session at d.b.a. bar in Williamsburg.
I expected there to be a giant table full of cheese and a few coolers full of beer, kind of like my high school graduation party, so you can imagine how surprised I was to sit down with an actual plate in front of me while cheesemonger Martin Johnson from New York's cheese nerd association The Joy of Cheese told me and a small group of hipsters wearing clothes bought at full price from Urban Outfitters about all the cheeses Brooklyn has to offer. Did you know, journal, that it takes almost eight gallons of milk just to make one wheel of cheese? Interesting, right? Well, hold on to that conversation starter because I don't have any more fun facts. Each of the Pretty Things beers I had were at least 10% alcohol content, and before long, I couldn't tell what was sheep and what was goat and what was cat.
My favorite pairing was a goat's milk cheese from France called Tomme D'Acquitaine washed down with the Pretty Things star light pilsner American Darling. The combination tasted like an alcoholic cheese milkshake, which, admit it, sounds really good.
Yorkshire-born brewess Martha Holley-Paquette, owner of Pretty Things brewery in Cambridge, MA, walked us through her beercheese philosophy, saying, "cheese and beer actually come from the same place, goats eat grass and beer is made from grass." In the light of day this statement seems... confusing, but I've noticed a thing or two about these craft brewers. They aren't like the girls in the nurse Halloween costume that pour Molsen Canadian. They don't need guys named Billy with bevel guns in the corner. They don't have to try too hard to sell anything, because they just want people to be happy and drunk rather than puking on a bouncer's shoes. They're a chill folk who aren't douchey enough to be into wine, and I'm down with that.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the same people that I see shaking their hips and bouncing in place at Public Assembly were the crowd that paid $30 to partake in a consumption that would educate them about what to serve at their next fedora and sundress picnic. Also, this proves my theory that hipsters love things that make them gassy.
Tonight, I'll likely be attending another pairing food with booze event called The Ultimate Brewmaster's Degustation at Mas Farmhouse. Tickets are $180 and still going strong. I hear they are serving the beer Brass Monkey, which means that despite what I just said about the dignity of craft beer, I might be puking on someone's shoes.
Wish me luck.