Every year I scour my annual credit card statement looking for hidden items my tax preparer might be interested in. You never know. I’m forgetful. I may have suffered an involuntary donation. Or had a dependent child all this time. Or went blind. Or maybe the cat can be depreciated. She’s not getting any younger.
What really struck me this year is that if my credit card is any reflection on my discretionary spending–and that’s pretty much what it is–all I did with my pension was (1) piss it away and (2) turn it into shit. That’s right. I didn’t buy any things. No new furniture. No clothes. No car. No gadgets. Dave got some shoes but that’s to keep him from wearing his feet down to little ankle stumps. He walks a ton. Nope: everything we bought we either pissed away or it turned to shit.
Grocery stores. Restaurants. Brewpubs. And repeat.
We love great food and great beer. And we happen to be in about the best town in the world for it. I will re-use Kleenex and save seeds and stick extenders on my pencils but my wallet shoots wide open for really nice food and beer. I like that it employs my fellow citizens too. Our money goes sideways and around and around, and not to Jeff Bezos.
Beer has been really good here for about thirty years. With your first swallow you can tell that your beer is instantly embarking on a search-and-destroy mission to locate and eliminate pockets of unhappiness. There are many people who think this is a bad thing. They say, in fact, that alcohol has many untoward effects such as shriveling your brain, enblobbening your liver, shredding your stomach lining, making your heart all stretchy, pitching a tent in your pancreas, and ruining your relationships. And all of this is even egregiouser if you’re a small female. But they’re basing this on nothing more than rigorous scientific inquiry, exhaustive longitudinal studies, and peer-reviewed medical research, whereas I hold that it is entirely possible I am the “exception that proves the rule”–a sound principle that I know is scientific because it has the word “prove” in it.
Besides, it’s not all about the buzz. I don’t drink Budweiser–I’m not an animal.
We were quite taken with Bridgeport IPA when it came out in the 1980s. In fact, it seemed to solve almost everything. Bridgeport was a pioneer that put hoppy beers on the map and won a bunch of international awards with them, too. They were kind of the Big Daddy that got it all going. But then smaller breweries started up. Roots Brewery was a revelation: their organic IPA solved problems I didn’t even have yet. Then one day we showed up at their pub and the place had just folded up. No warning. It was awful.
But soon after came the Burnside Brewery, which made tremendous beer AND food (smoked trout deviled eggs with flying-fish roe and dill vinaigrette? Come on.) AND was located in the exact right spot to get refreshment on a twelve-mile city hike and still leave a nice contemplative hour for walking home. If we only wanted to go a couple miles we could pop into Alameda Brewing. And of course even if a place doesn’t brew its own beer it still maintains a zillion taps for people like us–there are probably seven such establishments within three blocks of our home.
But cue the shark music. You know those stories where a bunch of people are stuck on a moving train and one by one they either (1) disappear or (2) get really nervous? We’re getting really nervous.
Burnside Brewery just up and closed, lock, stock, and deviled eggs. Their employees were as surprised as anyone. They’ve still got a silo of beer out front. Alameda Brewery just shut down. And now Big Daddy Bridgeport is closing too. Suddenly this town is awash in unemployed barkeeps.
I’m mentally prepared for invasions of climate migrants. The collapse of fisheries. The insect die-off. The end of air travel. Extinction. It’s not easy, but in the face of all this I am able to keep breathing in and out because of a few key tricks of perspective: (1) the insignificance of our globe in the universe, and (2) my own imminent demise. I can keep my cool.
But it’s going to be a lot harder without beer.
Do these places close because you and Dave don't drink enough beer? You need to step up your game! Walk more, drink more! C'mon you two! Get with it!
That cannot possibly be the reason.
I, too, drink way more than I should, especially considering I am a petite female. I use it to quell anxiety. Why should I see a doctor about it, who would only prescribe drugs — which would cost a LOT more than alcohol and not give me a buzz? It seems to be part of our puritanical American paradigm that doesn't seem to exist in say, France or Italy, that drinking is bad and pharmaceuticals good. Since both options are hard on the liver and cause side effects, I'll opt for the one that's more fun.
Come on over, sister.
My dear, beloved, refined Granny, known to occasionally have a tiny, elegant serving of fine sherry of an evening, served, of course, in a beautiful, etched sherry glass and brought on a tray, once said, "It's a shame beer tastes so bitter, as it looks so pretty in a glass." I believe this was her way of suggesting we not slug it from the bottle, as we were doing. I still think of her when, ordering a beer in a bar, I always ask for a frosted glass or mug. I mean, standards must be kept.
I haven't drunk a beer from a bottle in years. I even make my guests use a glass. It hurts otherwise.
You need to do some in depth research here and find out why these places are closing. Are the premises leased and they can no longer afford the rent? Is there a problem sourcing the ingredients needed for beer? Surely not. are they being swamped by cheaper beers from China? Are people switching to fancy wines or cocktails ready made in juice boxes?
I'm still waiting for answers. Big Daddy Bridgeport evidently couldn't make it with all the smaller breweries taking their share. Roots and Alameda, I don't know. Burnside Brewery was LOCKED OUT for not paying rent, but rumor has it the landlord is hot to sell his lot, which is seven blocks from the river and thus to downtown, and worth millions if made into crappy condos like every other block around there.
Or getting locked out of distribution by the big-named guys?
The old big-named guys are losing share to the smaller breweries! I don't know if there's a Bud to be had in town.
I'm not a great beer drinker. And, at some point, long ago, the English component of my blood said it would, when I attained legal boozing age, reject that brew in favour of European lager.But if you think it could help I can come to Portland and give 'em a helping hand.
We'll keep your room open.
You get an annual credit card statement??? I couldn't really concentrate after reading that.
Well, yes, I could, but since I prefer my beer once or twice a year, straight from the bottle, big factory brand only available in Canada, my experience is pretty much the opposite of everything you hold dear, and not fit for comment 😀
I don't GET an annual credit card statement. I fetch it myself from the online archives! And you're still okay–there's plenty more stuff I hold dear.
emblobbinging … I love this coined word.
You don’t even mention all the enthusiastic home brewers. I have two acquaintances that brew, one keeps eight taps going. St. Patt’s Party tonight!