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Found a Good Replacement Beer
Made some soup too.
Genealogy is for skull-measurers and Italians, but I do sometimes wish I knew more about my family’s middle-distant history. Alas, I did not develop this morbid curiosity until it was too late to ask anyone who might know. It seems certain the Gordon family tree is rooted in some fairly soggy soil, but perhaps it is also boggy, which is to say the evidence and anecdotes indicate a bedeviling Irishness somewhere back there, but I’ve been told Gordon is a Scottish name, which is interesting only if you want to contend that Irish is fundamentally different from Scottish, a notion I’ll entertain here for the sake of blogument.
One thing Ireland, Scotland, and Massachusett land have in common is bullshit weather, and this week has been even gloomier than most. The northeast got off pretty light in regards to the wave of icedeath cataclysms currently torturing the rest of the country, but it still sucks here, gray and sleety and too cold to have civilized beers in the parking lot behind the 7-Eleven. So I’m stuck inside, and inside is nice enough but I need to remind you that despite all the luxuries my WPA newslettering grant has afforded me—in-unit washer/dryer and a fridge that makes ice!—our apartment does not contain a door that leads to a room without a toilet. A “loft,” the real estate guy calls it; it’s a big loud concrete echo chamber.
Em’s on the phone all day, or really only a quarter of the day, but I never know which quarter it’ll be, making it hard to schedule my reading, writing, exercising, and cooking. I’m not a gifted practitioner of the concentratorial arts, so I get easily derailed if I’m reading or writing while she suddenly needs to optimize and stakehold. To resent these phone calls would be to resent the roof over my head, as Uncle Joe’s contribution only covers cable and beer, so I accept that it’s just what the deal is here and now (and for the last 11 months and at least the next six). It’s far better than the average body’s situation, and it sucks.
The reason my situation is better than most is that my misery is passive rather than active. I can’t do fun stuff because I can’t do much of anything, but at least I rarely have to do any explicitly awful stuff. I can get by just fine in idle, which sounds grim because it is, but it’s also better than trying to teach Zoom school to a depressed 9-year-old while also working full time from home, or driving a city bus while trying not to catch covid or spill your tumbler of blackberry brandy.
This holding pattern life is mostly too boring to discuss, but one element I find kinda interesting is the overlap between resilience and resignation. “Yes, I can get through this!” is sometimes hard to distinguish from “Hey, this camel’s been crippled for months, couple more straws across the back can’t hurt now.” I’m beginning to think it’s the exact same sentiment, differentiated only by which set of mental emojis you happen to deploy.
This occurred to me last night while I was chopping things to cook for dinner, which is my favorite sober part of the day because I can listen to music and feel useful, and because it means I get to eat soon and maybe drink shortly thereafter. I was mid-chop when I realized I wasn’t sure I had all the ingredients for the meal I was planning, which would be no big deal because the queen doesn’t come over for dinner most Tuesdays, except the intended meal was lentil soup and the potentially missing ingredient was lentils. But I didn’t bother to drop the knife and check, because I figured if we were out of lentils then I could grind up some chickpeas or pretzels or whatever, it’d be fine. That is how a can-do person thinks but also maybe a depressed one too. Turns out we had lentils.
In these dark, cold times it’s nice to drink a dark, bold beer, and I had a great one last Monday. A couple weeks back I noted that it’s easy to boycott Founders because of their racism but hard to boycott Founders because of the rest of the American brewing industry’s refusal to make a barrel-aged Scottish ale as good as Backwoods Bastard. This was a cry for help and graft* and my pal who works for Four Peaks Brewing in Arizona came through.
He sent me a couple bottles of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Kilt Lifter. Now I know what you're thinking. That beer sucks because the name sucks, why is every Scotch ale called Kilt Sniffer or Bagpipe Twister or whatever? You make a fair point. I too am tired of the crotch ale category. Another big argument against BBA Kilt Lifter is that Four Peaks is now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which isn’t a deal-breaker for me but it’s also not a real strong selling point. But now I must remind you of the redeeming factors of this beer, the first of which is that no one sold it to me, they just gave it to me for free. Another, more broadly applicable point in its favor is that this beer rules. You got your toffee and vanilla and caramel and all of that, along with the perfect amount of bourbon.
Today I recommend Four Peaks Bourbon Barrel-Aged Kilt Lifter, even if you have to pay for it like a common sucker, and also putting turmeric and cardamom in your lentil soup.
*Reminder on Worth a Shot bribery policy: heartily encouraged.