Saturday, May 27, 2000

Beer Snob

I'm a beer snob. I admit it. Unlike many of my peers whose introduction to beer was sneaking their dad's Coors Light, I started drinking beer at age 22. After visiting my parents in England, I realized that the only thing I'd get when ordering a soda in a pub was a warm thimbleful of Coke. That wasn't going to do, so I had to learn how to drink beer. Real beer. English beer.

I enlisted the assistance of my friends, some of whom were more helpful than others. Some said that it was best to start with bad beer, since that has less taste, and as you're starting, you don't like the taste of beer. Bah. I didn't get into this to drink bad beer; I wanted to drink good beer. With the help of The Globe, I started to drink Bass. Where my parents lived in Yorkshire, Old Peculier was the local drink. Most outsiders thought it was too dark and too strong, so of course I had to adopt it. It remains a favorite to this date.

Last night, four of us went out to The Brickskeller in DC. They claim to have 800 beers, and I believe them. It was a real beer snob's delight. I had a bottle of Straffe Hendrik to remind me of my recent trip to Belgium. Actually, since the bottle is 750 ml and 8.5% alcohol, my memory was sort of fuzzy at the end. Then a bottle of Keo to remind me of my '94 trip to Cyprus. Then a bottle of Old Peculier, of course, to remind me of England. Then a bottle of Dock Street Illuminator to...well, it's beer and it tastes good, damn it. I won't refuse the occasional Budweiser, but it's nice to go to a place where "we have all kinds of beers" doesn't mean "Bud, Bud Light, Miller, Miller Light, Michelob, Michelob Light..."

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Primary Colors

"Governor Jack Stanton seduced me..."
The novel by Joe Klein ("Anonymous") is a thinly disguised re-telling of the 1992 Democratic Presidential least the first part of it. This book gave me the most insight into the Clintons' behavior since I learned that they once claimed a tax deduction for used underwear donated to the Salvation Army. Governor Jack Stanton (aka Bill Clinton) stumbles his way through the primary campaign with a combination of dumb luck, bad behavior, policy smarts and, above all, overwhelming sincerity.

I think some on the right see the sincerity as "fake", but in my opinion, one of the maddening things about the Clintons is that they think they're right. Every dodge they take, every time they seem to be shoveling another load of horse manure on the American public...I really think they believe that what's best for them is best for the country.

Anyway, like I said, the book gets a little odd at the end with some dramatic turns that unfortunately never happened in real life (well, it would have been more entertaining that way). I had earlier seen the movie, which is very faithful to the book. I recommend experiencing one of them.

Sunday, May 21, 2000

Images of Brugge

I've posted pictures from my trip. Enjoy.