Discover beer this Oktoberfest

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October 9, 2007

12:49 AM

Beer is good. It is quite possibly even very good, by which I mean drinking it is better than a great deal of other things, especially during Oktoberfest.

p. At some point in our lives, though, while staring into the limpid depths of our pong cups, we are struck with a realization. “This is not beer,” we admit forlornly. “This is watery piss.” We will be insulting watery piss, of course, but our disappointment will have surfaced. For some, it develops earlier, in others, later, and for the stalwart few (i.e. those headed for the mountains of Busch) it remains repressed forever.

p. In any case, for the majority of America’s drinking populous, the fact remains that chugging Natty Light is only marginally better than getting run over by a bus. Milwaukee’s Best is about on par with becoming a Greyhound pancake. And anything involving a 40 of Steel Reserve, though it’s technically not beer, is more or less like getting gored by a bull.

p. Unbeknownst to many, there is an alternative, a veritable land of milk and honey, of premium lagers and ales, abbey dubbels and German pilsners, a land far removed from the Bud Ices of the world: Europe.

p. If you’re 21 (despite disagreeing with it, I think I have to include that part), then steel yourself to do the following: discover beer. It is a dark and dangerous journey on which you are about to embark, one fraught at every turn with malt liquors, boxed wine and, from the fiery depths of Tartarus itself, Sparks, the alcoholic energy drink.

p. I have faith in you, intrepid adventurer, faith in your ability to resist these wily tricksters. And, unless I’m much mistaken, this should also constitute your most rewarding task all week.
But first, a note: you can thank Michael Jackson (no, not that one) for blazing the way back in the 1970s, when to drink without stigma was to be a fan of either wine or scotch. Almost single-handedly, he gave Joe Six-Pack some class; beer-making was a diverse craft with quality products. It was equally deserving of respect.

p. In his “World Guide to Beer,” Jackson cataloged and categorized styles and offerings around the globe. Wine connoisseurs had long discussed their cabernets and pinot noirs, but now beer drinkers could call their strong ales and stouts like they saw them. In the ‘World Guide’ they held a vocabulary. The Discovery Channel even gave Jackson his own show, “The Beer Hunter,” which may absolve it of the ugly sin that was “It’s Christopher Lowell!” Then again, maybe not.

p. Jackson died just a few weeks ago. It will be your job to carry on his memory.

p. Okay, so despite all of this build-up, this is going to be pretty easy. Just go to Food Lion and pick out a six-pack of something that looks interesting, preferably something you haven’t heard of before. Might I suggest Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Be forewarned, though. There will be a man there — he’s in every grocery store’s beer section — with five teeth and a lazy eye. “But it’s all got alcohol!” he will tell you. Do not listen to this man. He is crazy and drunk. He also enjoys Cowboys football.

p. Assuming you’re successful, you can head home and pour your winnings into a glass. (Putting real beer in a solo cup is an offense punishable by death.) Used this way, beer isn’t a drug, so take some time to enjoy it. If you feel like it, go to ratebeer.com later on. It’ll let you a know a little bit about what you’re drinking, what some other folks thought and will give you some suggestions for other things you might want to to try.

p. Good beer might be a little pricey, but then again, this is not Bud Light. It may be great tasting, but it’s also more filling, and since you’re not Clinton Portis, downing a six-pack after dinner isn’t a very realistic or desirable goal.

p. There’s a reason monks brew(ed) beer; it has nothing to do with pong or quarters (redemption, Brother Barnebas? Surely you jest!). Good beer is just that — good.

p. __Andrew Peters is a junior at the College.__

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