Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Forester for the Trees

We’d been friends for 10 years when Harold told me he was dying.

Granted, Northern Virginia’s battered highways, repetitious stoplights, and erratic weather are tough on cars, but I didn’t expect Harold to give up so soon after we moved there. He kept bucking whenever we reached 60–70 miles per hour, and his check-engine light was on.

My thoughts weren’t: If this car dies, how the hell am I getting to work? Nor were they: How can I afford to fix this?

Rather, I thought: If this car dies, God damn I am going to miss it. Continue reading

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Case Studies

Part 1: Games at JMU Apartment, 8:15 PM

“Grenade, Paul!” Bill yells as he tosses a can of Natural Light across the floor. It bounces in front of Paul, who immediately jumps on it like a soldier sacrificing his life to protect his squad. He pulls the tab and chugs the spewing beer, swallowing half of it and drenching himself with the rest.

The game is called Grenades, and you just learned all of the rules. We’re pregaming (drinking before we go out) in our apartment’s common area. The room’s decorated with carpet stains, a plaid couch, and wrinkled posters from GoodFellas and The Godfather.  

We’ve been living together in Harrisonburg, Virginia for a year now, which means we’ve been drinking together for a year. Bill’s the only one in the room with a decent idea of what to do with his life: Despite blacking out nearly every weekend, he’s come up with a solid plan to enter the PR world. As for me and Paul, we’re floundering in vague directions—him towards politics, me towards writing.

But floundering is for weekdays; right now, it’s time to abuse beer of the eleven-dollars-per-case variety. Continue reading

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Beer Review: People’s Porter

Tonight, I picked up a six pack of People’s Porter.

people's porter

Beer Packaging: The case and bottle labels are dominated by the guy you see there. I’m sure he’s a parody of, or a tribute to, some political figure, but I’m too ignorant to get the reference, so to me he looks like a post-apocalyptic Boy Scout troop leader. Not necessarily a guy I’d want a beer from, but after the apocalypse, I’d probably take a drink from anyone.

A side note: I was too bashful to do it at first, but after two People’s Porters, I loosened up, refilled my glass, and mimicked the troop leader’s raise-glass-and-stare-proudly action. My beer immediately tripled its head and almost foamed over, and I felt like an alcoholic. Not advised.

Beer Style: People’s Porter is an English porter. According to BeerAdvocate, the Brits originated porters as “a blend of three different styles: an old ale (stale or soured), a new ale (brown or pale ale) and a weak one (mild ale).” To me, that sounds like you’d just end up with an incredibly average, middle-aged beer—perhaps one with a receding hairline and a worrisome 401k—but the process worked for some reason. Porters are good.

The Brewery: People’s Porter is a product of Foothills Brewing. They’re based in North Carolina, which is close enough to my dear Virginia that I won’t hold their inspirational-corporate-fusion website against them. Though it’s readable and functional, it looks like the lovechild of a motivational poster and a Buffalo Wild Wings menu.

People’s Porter in One Text: “It’s really light and drinkable. This stuff could get me in trouble.”

People’s Porter, Elaborated: It is really light and drinkable, with a plucky ABV of 5.8%. It’s much more poundable than most other porters I’ve had (or the majority of other craft beers I’ve tasted, for that matter). A friend of mine drank six in two hours, which likely wasn’t good for him, but it’s at least a testament to the beer’s lightness. But it still tastes like a porter, and a solid one at that. Recommended.

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Silence Is No Way to Argue

I was sitting on my couch, watching football, and drinking beer. Despite the immense pleasure those three activities give me, I had a problem.

My girlfriend, Rosie, was in the next room, silently wallowing on my bed. She’d been in there for most of the first wave of games and remained at her post well into the second. That was about four hours; she was in there under the guise of working on a letter, but instead she was gritting her teeth and staring at the ceiling.

For companionship in her absence, I called a friend, Meadows. We bitched about our respective teams for a bit. Eventually, Rosie’s anger came up. “What’d you do to piss her off?” Meadows asked.

“Oh, I reckon she’ll tell me in about 36 hours,” I said. She was giving me the silent treatment. And naturally, I didn’t know why. But I had some guesses. Continue reading