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When you own a brewery every day is National Beer Day, but okay I’ll take the excuse

I’ve been away.

Only for five days, but still. It wears on one. Usually here I’d have grand tales of my adventures, but in an attempt to simplify our itinerary I didn’t push for any beer stops this time. I mostly ate jelly beans.

On the way home I thought about what to write about. I decided to go for a “beer at the end of the road” sort of theme, but then Twitter alerted me to it being “National Beer Day”, and so there we had it.

But still I have rules

See, at first you’d think today celebrated the real of Prohibition. And it does, sort of: the beginning of the end, at least. But instead of outright allowing all alcohol, the Cullen–Harrison Act — which went into effect on this day in 1933 — permitted the sale of beer under 3.2% alcohol by weight.

So: I would drink a beer, but it had to be under 3.2% alcohol by weight, or 4% alcohol by volume. This turned out to mostly limit me to various versions of “session IPAs”, which is to say “pale ales”, but while I like the style nothing really reached out and said “me! me!”

After debating my options for so long that I very nearly missed BreadHive’s window hours I picked up Butternuts’ Pork Slap Pale Ale. Sure I’ve had it before, and even written about it, and it had 0.1% more alcohol by volume than I wanted, but further dithering would have cost me my weekly sourdough. Don’t come between me and my carbs.

I taste the ginger more than I remember, which either means my palate has refined or drinking it at near-room-temperature makes a significant difference. I choose the one where I’m better.

I don’t like it quite as much as I used to, but the carbonation seems harsher, the bubbles bigger. I’m probably drinking it too warm. Or my son shook it too much in the car.

But then

I had a long trip. A fun one, but it started with a four and a half hour wait for a tow truck, an unplanned stop at a hotel which only yielded four hours of sleep, a locked bathroom preventing showers and, just for fun, a bit of vomit. Then three days in a house with four kids 5 and under. I deserved a second beer.

Too tired to care about proper glassware.

Too tired to care about proper glassware.

While the Pork Slap adhered to the 3.2 standard, I decided to also drink something that gleefully ignored it, flaunting how far we’ve come. Not that alcohol strength means quality or superiority. I just wanted something stiff. Stout.

I saw Spider Bite’s Boris the Spider on the shelf. Spider Bite! We’ve collaborated with them. And they made a Who reference. How could I say no to their imperial stout?

The first thing that springs into my mind: “quintessential”. Dark chocolate overwhelms, with coffee and hints of fruit, but a dull, bitter cocoa persists throughout.

Oh yes. This will do nicely. To sit and sip and watch Community and eat too much Chinese food because I am home.

Happy National Beer Day, everyone.