I don’t always drink beer . . . shit, yes I do. Dammit, I need to find a different way to approach this post. How about the fact that I’m writing this post at just shy of 8 am, having been up since 5 (courtesy of kid #3). I’m currently listening to the incessant bickering of kids #1 and #2. Fighting topics range from wanting alone time, to Lego battles that will invariably end with something smashed to pieces, to sword fights with wooden train tracks that they’ve now made into weapons (everything becomes a weapon somehow). In about 5 minutes, there will no doubt be hitting, courtesy of middle child, then tattle tailing courtesy of the oldest one (which is now so rampant that instead of a swear jar we’ve instituted a tattle jar). And after this battle subsides, I have to mentally prepare to coach pre-k soccer today, which is less soccer than it is red rover crossed with a rugby scrum. But after that is over, I will partake in my weekly ritual which is to crack open a beer outside. Then, hope that the baby has fallen asleep on the drive home so I can “monitor him” outside from a lounge chair. And when I do get to taste the sweet victory of surviving this brutal experience, I plan to enjoy one of these 5 brews.
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Our first family vacation was when son #1 was six months old and my sister got married in Mt. Shasta, well not so much the town of Mt. Shasta as the mountain beside it which featured a 45 minute death drive with no guard rail and snowcapped summits in June . . . where we were camping . . . with a fucking baby. Needless to say, the scenery and location were ideal . . .
After the wedding, we headed up the coast to Oregon, and my only requirement was that we visit the Rogue brewery and distillery because I needed some sweet dead guy ale and other brews straight from the source. And when the bartender came over to ask what I wanted, I went Pulp Fiction on his ass and said “give me a mother fucking dead guy ale”. It’s almost always in stock in my beer fridge. If not, I know I can just drive to my brother-in-law Tom’s house who always keeps some on hand for me.
I believe it’s called an approachable IPA. I mean seriously, is there a brewery that consistently churns out quality beers (that I can readily get) like Lagunitas does. This is the beer that started my hopsploration and before there was an actual beer called All Day IPA from a different brewery, this was the one for me. Not that I would recommend downing many of these in rapid succession, which is why breweries created session IPAs. But on taste alone, I could devour this. And just when I thought this beer couldn’t rank any higher, it started showing up at Costco. Dear Lord. Now we just need Costco to add beer tasting to the wondrous experience that is their sample heaven.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
I was in a frat in college. SigEp represent. Each family within our frat had a beer and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was my families’ brew of choice. At the time, when you’re drinking Natty Ice or the Beast or whatever other shit beer was on sale at Schnucks, Sierra Nevada was as craft as craft could get. Fast forward 15 years later and I read an article about the top 10 beers (see, I like lists) that combine ABV punch with calorie sensibility and what ranks as #1, that’s right, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. So in a sense, it’s almost like a beach body beer.
We lived in Philadelphia in an area called Manayunk- chairs marked your parking spot all winter if you dug your car out after a snowstorm, while summer was spent porch patrolling to people peep . . . or maybe you prefer doing that via train (looking at you Liz McLearn). On one such day, my neighbor, who hailed from Michigan, cracked open an Oberon for me and I sipped perfection in a bottle. Maybe it’s the label which is reminiscent of the artistic stylings of my sister in law Stacy, or the decent ABV at 5.8%, or just the amazingly refreshing taste that had me hooked, but pretty much that’s all I drank during that summer. Then we moved to Long Island where porch partying transitioned to beach boozing and Bell’s came with. By that time Oberon was available in 16 ounce cans. To paraphrase Snoop, I was rolling down the (beach) . . . sipping on cans of brews.
Wait, didn’t I just say top 5 beers and I’m putting a whole brewery on this? Cop out? Sure. But I have so many good memories of Hershey, from my annual pilgrimage there for Pete and C, to family vacations with our good friends the Melvins. Shit, our kid’s nickname is baby Hershey so there’s that. Moving on. At the epicenter of the Hershey experience is Troegs. Whether it’s hosting a dinner and my team getting busted for drinking wine in the bathroom or kicking off a conference in style with my homeboys Sean and Mark doing some light recon work, Troegs has been my go to place. Then there’s my favorite memory, which is the let’s leave the women and children at the hotel after a six hour drive to ostensibly provide food for everyone, only to return an hour later multiple beers deep with no food visit to Troegs (not recommended). Sipping on any beer from Troegs, from the Hopback Amber to the Nugget Nectar (best name ever) to my wife’s favorite, the Belgian Tripel LaGrave, is like taking a stroll down memory lane. So head to Hershey yourself where beer + chocolate + theme park = the whole family passed out by 9 after a perfect day.