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The Buzz

A Beerfly's view. If you see anything here that seems crazy, click here.

Fresh Buzz

Vintage Buzz

2004 Buzz

May '04: Shedding Tiers

April '04: Keg Party

March '04: Ultra Madness

February '04: Case Law

January '04: Best of 2003

2003 Buzz

January '03: Taxes

February '03: Coffee

March '03: St. Patrick's

April '03: Liquor Taxes

May '03: Extreme Beer?

June '03: Screw 'Em!

July '03: RIP, Corner Bar

August '03: Subtlety

Sept. '03: Pay For It!

Oct. '03: Shots at Saveur

Nov. '03: Say Anything

Dec. '03: Wine good!



June, 2004

Spot The Moron!

Summertime is here. Yeah, yeah, and the living is easy. Good God, Iím writing in song cues. Letís try this again...

Itís Memorial Day weekend as I write this (thatís better), and summerís here, either officially or unofficially; I heard both on NPR today. Last year about this time I encouraged you to do your stupid, cowardly, mainstream-beer-drinking friends a big favor and stop buying light beer for them when they come to your house. If itís your picnic, why spend your perfectly good beer money on that stuff? Theyíre eating your potato salad, they can damned well drink your beer. Morons. Cowards.

Well, guess who the moron is this summer? Itís you, buddy. Yeah, you, the guy buying all those choice bottles of local porter, west coast IPA, German weissbier, maybe even a growler of kŲlsch...youíre the moron. Youíve got three or four coolers packed with ice and really cool bottles of really cool beers, maybe you even scored some cans of the excellent Daleís Pale Ale or Old Chub (and I heartily encourage you to do so if you havenít). Ya dope.

Do I have to spell it out for you? D-R-A-F-T!!! What did you spend on those four coolers full of bottles? Donít even like to think about it, do you. If you bought four cases of middle-of-the-road craft brewed beer youíre in for $120, and if you really mixed things up, maybe got some Belgians, youíre even higher. Maybe $200? Sheesh. A half of something really good costs under $100, thatís the equivalent of more than seven cases of 12 oz. bottles!

Get draft for your picnic, you dope. Draft beer really is cheaper. You pay a deposit, sure, but you get it back, itís a deposit. You may have to pay a rental for a tap, but think a bit: you can buy a tap for about $35, and youíve paid for it the first time you buy draft instead of bottles. And you pretty much only need a Sankey tap these days, not the "twin-prong" Hoff-Stevens.

But screw cheap, letís talk about easy. Spend fifteen bucks on a tub, stop at the beer store and order something good, pick it up, buy a tap and 60 lbs. of ice with the money you saved by not being a dope, then go home and tap that bad boy. Done! And you are now cooler than Brad Pitt skinny-dipping at the North Pole, serving outstandingly good draft beer at your picnic. Hell, you could even go sixtels and have two different draft beers. Buddy, you are practically a bar.

And the best part comes the day after. Look: no mountains of stinking bottles or cans, no growlers to wash, no broken glass. All you have to do is slap the glasses in the dishwasher, dump the tub and hang it up for next time, run the empty keg back to the beer store so you can collect your deposit, and youíre done. What the hell is so hard about that?

You got any geekly arguments? Like about how you want more variety at your events? Buddy, itís a picnic, a barbecue, itís not a geek event. People are going to be talking about the weather, or sports, or clothes, or the kids being out of school, not the wonderful beer selection you found. Say you got a keg of Bellís Amber, or Deschutes Black Butte Porter, or Blue & Gray Fred Red, or Tabernash Weiss, or Berkshire Steel Rail Pale, or Stoudtís there going to be a problem? Are any of those not good enough? If itís a problem, like I said, get two sixtels. Or do like a friend of mine did: get a pin of real ale, condition it, pour by gravity. Youíre a legend.

Keg too heavy? Get a friend to help carry it.

Ice and tub too much hassle? What? They let you put on a picnic? If you canít handle ice and a tub, why not check into the retirement home now?

Afraid you might not be able to finish off a keg, donít want to waste beer? Insist on sixtels. Many small brewers use them now, some places will custom-keg whatever beer you want in them if you ask nicely Ė or grovel amusingly. Tap early, pace yourselves, eat, and youíll be fine. Besides, if you pump it up properly at the end of the day, it will last till the next day. No longer, though.

Another thought. Do you recycle in your neighborhood? Do you really believe in it? Then you cannot do better than buy draft beer. Growlers are the only thing even close to the environmental friendliness of kegs. Kegs are stainless steel with minimal moving parts and have a service life of 35 to 45 years. They are the ultimate in recyclable containers. Point this out to your guests, or better yet, make a whimsical sign to this effect and post it by the keg. People will feel even better. Drink up and save the freaking planet!

Are you thinking about it now? You really should. Because draft beer is delicious, and summertime is here, and the drinking is easy...and youíre not really a moron, are you?


Copyright © 2008 Lew Bryson. All rights reserved. 
Fee required for reprints in any commercial media.
Revised: February 24, 2005