Monday, February 6, 2017

Sitting in drafts, unpublished for more than five years now.

Ok. I have something to tell you. This is not easy for me, I'm vain and eager to maintain a facade that inspires confidence and remains beyond reproach. Yet, I feel we've traveled together this far, I should be utterly, unequivocally honest with you. Earnestly so. Imagine that I'm holding your hands, staring earnestly into your eyes, and a tear is welling up at the corner of my eye. The left one, the one that doesn't twitch or squint of its own accord.

I had to call a brief time-out on the hiatus on beer, use my safety, my life-line if you will, only for extraordinary circumstances that I already almost regret caving in to, and frankly caving to so quickly.

Montreal. Mont Réal, or Mount Royal if you're nasty. Off the plane, checked into the hotel, and strolling Rue St. Catherine looking for some eats before Otis has a meltdown once he realizes we're in a different time zone and thus he's up way the hell past his bedtime.

And then we see her, sense more than hear her siren song from the street, Les 3 Brasseurs, a mere shopping street brewery by appearance, and yet I can feel their tug on my pallet, can see the men in the canoe drifting past the mook while a Pegasus leaps a church on hallows eve, can smell the hops and barley, and I suddenly know surely enough to testify before heaving masses that the simple knowledge of such a place would bring men to tears, and that hearing such sweet sultry serenades would dash my already paltry willpower up against the rocks of a venue that felt sampler, glass, pint, and pitcher far too limited a selection of serving sizes for beer crafted locally with proofs that qualify more as wines and meads than beers.

So yes, I folded, I failed to convince my crew to strap me to the mast that I might go wildly yet safely insane on the lullaby of the passing temptation, wobble onward to healthier fare, like some salad or a jar of flax. No, I caved like a tired bat and shortly thereafter held in my hand the Mjölnir of pedestrian pints, the massive mug of Montreal juice, full well with the knowledge that moments later I would feel sad, pot-bellied, empty, and alone. Because I made the rules, and I saw fit, or unfit, as to violate them.

So yes, OK. You're both right and right to look at me that way. I understand why you're looking for your jacket and shoes. I messed up, I cheated on you, on your expectations of me, and I want you to be the first to know about it. Please feel free to judge away. And good luck finding your panties.

That really was a remarkable pint. And a remarkable moment in time, my son and wife chatting and all of us sitting in a place together that none of us have been in before, or may ever be in again. Sure, that's heavy handed and melodramatic, and yep, that's how passionate I actually am about beer and my family, about finding the best beers and the best occasions for drinking them. The truly noteworthy pints take more than simply the skill of the brewmaster, it takes on the context of the entire occasion. A skilled brewmaster can craft an excellent beer, however only truly wonderful and unexpected contrivance of the very fates can conspire to create truly meaningful, lasting impression wherein a beer transcends just being gut builder pop with a proof and becomes something actually memorable.

That said, I still feel I have cheated, and that I have let you down. So next week when I return to Vancouver I will begin to make amends. I will run enough laps to burn off what calories that mighty pint was worth, and I will run that amount again twice weekly for the remaining weeks until the next Ides. I will not cheat and use wheels, or a car, or jet wings, or magic spells, or an invisible dragon, or one of those Rascal things regardless what color it might happen to be.

I need to write more. Check.

I need to be a kinder, gentler, healthier, responsible baby's daddy. Working on it.

And I need to appreciate everything like it might be my last thing, all the time, though ideally without breaking promises or cheating on anyone, especially you.

And that's the way it is, this Thursday night in a motel room in Montreal, Otis finally asleep in his hotel provided crib, Lindz is winding down on the spacious couch while French language entertainment leaks from the hotel TV.  I hope you'll forgive me, as I may never forgive myself. Ides to Ides is about more that beer, and if I let myself spread my legs for every exotic pint that sings the siren song, especially when I'm travelling to places famous for their brewmasters like Montreal, well, all I'm really doing is cheapening the project, because another point to all this is rebuilding a healthy excitement about and respect for beer, as an art, a craft, a legacy with history and richness of culture.

Tonight I became swept up with something special, and I'll cherish the memory of it, and I'll have too because they wouldn't let me buy the mug and I didn't have the balls to steal it. Maybe tomorrow... Anyway, I need to stick to the plan from now on, and if it means passing on some of the best beers on God's Ale Earth, so be it, all the more excuse to return to Montreal next year.

Hope you'll see your way clear to forgive me!


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