Thursday, November 7, 2013

** Beer

My dog, KC, is a one track minded animal.  To KC, ball = world and world = ball.  Food comes into play occasionally, but ball rules all.  Every morning, KC’s friendly dog smile and bootie wag is the first thing to greet me in the hallway, where she gets the mandatory rub down, good morning pep talk and fingernail skritchies.  Then, she snorts a few times while I head down the hall and over to “the petting spot” for cat number 1, Rum-Tum-Tugger.  KC has taken over some of Tugger’s “petting time” and brings ball to me to play every morning.  Her expression always says the same thing:  “Ball is EVERYTHING, please throw it, just throw it!!”  The other day, the manic look in her eye as she waits for me to “throw the ball, throw it, pleeeeeeze throw the ball!” reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is at the time.  Then, this morning, Jeff tells me about the new beer-flaw-testing-kit that had just arrived for use by the BJCP judges to be.  He is totally geeked out.  He has a manic look in his eye and is nearly hopping in anticipation and he asks me if I’d like to participate.  Um, sure.  What the hell are you bouncing for?  Then it hits me:  That’s it!
Ball is to KC what Beer is to Jeff.  I am not sure but I think I just bridged some kind of scientific gap or made some kind of amazing anthropology/canineology discovery.  I feel downright Pavlovian!

Excited by my new discovery, I run into the other room, get the ball and throw it for Jeff. He just looks at me like I’m crazy.  Perhaps I should’ve thrown a beer.

Maybe I shouldn't complain too much.  It’s all my fault, really, this whole beer thing.  I put his feet on the homebrew conveyor belt spiral of doom myself.  Many years ago, BB (before beer), he used to scoff at me when I drank Paulaner Hefeweizen and other so-called ‘snob’ beers.  Even Michelob was ‘fancy & expensive.’ Then, I bought him his first homebrew kit for Christmas.  I freakin’ bought him the equivalent of “ball” and saw the manic look for the first time when he unwrapped it.  His eyes had those little “spellcast” spirals in them as he read the instruction manual and, right as we watched, we lost him to beer, right there by the tree.  The kids have since gone on to explore their own lives but ours still rotate around one sudsy beverage:  Beer.

Jeff has now been a homebrewer for over 10 years.  During that time, he took over a lot of garage space and back patio space as he accumulated, hand built (“It’s ALIVE!!”) and upgraded his way to award after award.  When we moved to the Austin
area several years ago, Jeff and I joined a few other like-minded couples at the newly opened local bar, “The Dig Pub,” where we began a homebrewers club.  (We called it the Texas Carboys and it’s grown to a monstrous size in recent times.)  The beer craze is currently out of control and we are on the crest of that wave, riding it in to shore.  Always.

Carboys at Thirsty Planet
(Named Appropriately)
Jeff has recently become a nationally certified beer judge, a BJCP wonder-kid of the nth degree. (It’s kind of like being a wine judge but you don't need to dress up.)  We hang out with other BJCP judges and Jeff is helping to create more of them out of other friends in other homebrew clubs.  We’re befriending other Austin beer club people, many of whom wear Viking helmets to their beer events.  (Okay, gotta say, I Love that part.)  I create custom tap handles in my ceramic studio downstairs, Jeff has a brewery in our new home.  We have a pub upstairs, built in, which is used as our media room.  He home brews about 2-3 times per month, sometimes more, and we attend tons of beer related events:  Brewery openings, brewery anniversaries, homebrew competitions, beer club meetings, beer club picnics, bottle shares and beer pairings.  Jeff drinks 2 beers per night, as a rule.  Last weekend, he judged a competition and we played beer roulette with the leftover bottles of imperial (high alcohol) beers afterward, ending our Saturday night baying at the moon and our Sunday in front of the TV set, watching superhero movies and being “very tired for some reason.”  This weekend, we are doing a bottle share at one house on Friday evening, there is the AHA (American Homebrewer Assoc.) rally at Jester King (local brewery of sour beers) on Saturday, Wurst Fest is going on Saturday, as well, and we’re attending a beer dinner on Sunday, hosted by some classic kick-ass brewers who have an entire room dedicated to their awards.  (I’m not kidding.)  Beer has taken over our lives.  And, Jeff doesn't see any problem with that.

A month or so ago, Jeff and a friend got together to brew for a homebrew club competition.  They finished brewing for the day and decided to have a (what else?) beer in the pub while I’m on Facebook in the other room.  I jotted down the conversation going on between Jeff and Jon, almost word for word.  Here it is:

"Beer, beer, beer, beer and beer. But, beer, beer, beer, beer?? Beer! See, beer, beer, beer is beer. Ah, but what about beer? Beer, beer! Beeeeer. Computer, computer?? Computer, beer. Computer hardware beer, beer. Computer application, computer, computer. Yes, computer. Beer. Beer!"

Beer is world.  World is beer.  Somebody please come help me to escape.  But, can you pick up a six pack on the way, something dark and chocolaty, maybe a good Russian Imperial Stout?  I'm a little thirsty for some reason…..

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