Here’s an opportunity to rid ourselves of the mantle of pandem-onium. Memorial Day weekend is a mini holiday for the family and an extended weekend party combining BBQ with family games and brewskis with one major question this year. Will masks burn as efficiently as charcoal? Can a steak reach optimum tenderness fired by cloth? Will burning your mask be a cathartic release?

Is there anything better than the age-old custom of throwing some beef on a fire while you soak up some suds? Beer is not a fancy drink. It doesn’t have an umbrella or come in a tall thin glass with perfectly cut slice of lemon balanced on the rim.

Comprised of Water, malt, hops and yeast, beer has been impairing the skill of people for thousands of years. There are regional beers and national beers. Now breweries make seasonal brews like light summer ales which can get you just as sloshed. After you down a couple you kind of forget about the fact that artisans fastidiously crafted it for your premium top shelf experience as you careen back and forth from grill to almost falling in the pool.

Either our palate has developed as beer drinkers or the marketers are having a field day by the fact that the Sam Adams Brewery is pairing a special cut of steak with their beers. As they mention in their website, ‘The upfront malt flavor matches the caramelized flavors in the steak perfectly, while the hops lift some of the heaviness.’ Who wrote that piece of drivel? While the hops lift some of the heaviness could mean that as you drink, you feel light-headed? That’s what we want!

The lighter you get and the feel of floating through the yard fills your head with thoughts of hops dancing their way into a giant oast, magically transforming into the liquid you love. But the ‘hops lift some of the Heaviness’…where did they get this language, from a tasting descriptor for a snooty French wine?

Does the description sway your purchase, or do you just want the alcohol content? If you believe the charming yet complex depth of this bottle leads to an approachable young fruity and yet aggressively robust structure. It is toasty yet thin; round and sassy yet reticent to reveal to the palate its opulent yet mellow and oaky tannins while blah blah blah. Would you love to have been a fly on the wall when the ideas flowed forth?

Hey, would you pass the pickled eggs?

Coming to America from Europe are specialty beers like smoked beer, herb/spice beer and fruit and vegetable beer. Pardon me but I want a drink, not my vitamin supplement. There’s organic beer, which is not made with insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. Doesn’t the alcohol kill that stuff anyway?

Some beer has really gone upscale…… until it turns to gas. There’s nothing like a hint of raspberry wheat and a back mouth taste of winter barley topped off by the feeling one gets as an excess of gas builds up and heads north through the alimentary canal. Not unlike a barge making its ponderous way through the gates of the Erie Canal, this gas buildup craves life on the outside.

Oh, anyone can burp, but in that heady moment a true aficionado wants more. Therein lies a great, for the most part, untapped art known as burp talking. More easily understood than the Navaho code talkers of WW II, it does a beer drinker proud and could evoke gales of laughter from everyone with a true sophomoric sense of humor. It lends itself to words with a preponderance of vowels which, I’m told, are easier to get out.

This may have gotten its start in a Long Island college pub owned by a man named Ralph Zolie when bored students would belch out the name ‘Ralph’ to order another round.  If one could belch the word ‘Ralph’ you moved with the ‘in crowd’. It was a kind of undergrad status symbol and I’m told that some frat houses made pledges burp the Greek alphabet backwards.

As graduates made their way around the country, people who knew Ralph spread the gaseous word. I guess you could call it Pop (Top) Culture Have a great family weekend!



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