Part 1 can be found here.
Around the fire were two couples, and they were drinking beers while listening to Led Zeppelin. Lots of Led Zeppelin; all night long. I was impressed. The wives did not talk much, but their husbands sure made up for it. Their names were Bobby and Jim, and they were both Vietnam War veterans. As a Canadian, this was a demographic that I was unlikely to ever encounter back home, so despite how much overlap there truly is in the Canadian and the American experience, this would certainly be a treat for me. They quickly got me involved in their game of blow darts, which involved shooting foot long darts out of a long pipe towards a target which was about twenty feet away. When I reasoned that my beer intake was starting to affect my aim, I bowed out of the competition. Jim would not be reigned in so easily though, and he began to flip throwing knives up into the air in an attempt to have them land point down in a target near his feet. Bobby admonished him that one day he might stab his own foot, and that got us onto the lovely topic of healthcare.
Who else but an army vet would camp in a camo tepee?
Corsendonk is one of the many defunct abbeys in Belgium that licenses out their name to a local brewery. My first experience with Corsendonk ended rather badly, when I consumed eight plastic cups of their blonde ale at a party somewhere in Antwerp province, Belgium, and then gave it all away to the toilet in my friend Simon’s grandmother’s house in ‘s-Gravenwezel. At the time, I thought it an odd place for a serious weasel, but upon reflection, I realize that I was very drunk the only time I ever visited ‘s-Gravenwezel… Oh well, on to the next Corsendonk beer!
Why I chose this angle for the photo is beyond me.
Date a boy who drinks. Date a boy who spends his money on fine alcohol instead of cars, who decorates his house with empty bottles instead of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit posters. Date a boy who has a list of beers he has tried, and a list of beers he aspires to try.
Checking his list.
Find a boy who drinks. Not one who drinks ten Budweiser every Friday night, but one who tries a new beer every time he visits the craft beer section of the specialty liquor store. He’s the one who spends half an hour browsing in the liquor store, only to buy one beer. You see that weird guy asking for his whisky neat, and then having to explain to the sports bar waitress what that means? He’s the one you want. He can’t resist analysing the nose of the cheap whisky he just ordered.
During May and June of 2014, I was employed as a tree planter in the southern interior of British Columbia. I quickly learned that while the occupation was not for me, the lifestyle wasn’t too bad the rest of the time, with ceaseless eating and substance (ab)use around the campfire being a rather pleasant way to spend one’s free time. We all tried many different varieties of beer, whisky, cigarettes etc. in a communal consumption designed to forget the pains of our labour. Every two weeks we would get two days off instead of one, always falling on a weekend, and during one of these longer breaks I decided to take a little trip down the Okanagan Valley into the Okanogan Valley, Washington State.
The Beautiful Okanogan Valley
On the twenty-second of December my family embarked upon our yearly viewing of the Caravan Farm Theatre’s Winter Play. This year’s play was “The Contest of the Winds”, a local Shuswap/Okanagan Indian band legend. I am no theatre critic, but like every other year I can confidently say that this was a play worth watching. The play was framed by scenes around a bonfire where it was narrated by a Native elder to a couple of youth who did not quite see eye to eye on the uses of technology. The middle parts were acted out in the woods, and the audience arrived at each scene via horse and buggy (unfortunately there was not enough snow at the time for sleighs like in past years). As usual there was a good number of humorous one liners, while the North Wind and the South Wind battled it out, with an eventual compromise being reached. This analogy was a good reminder for the youth, as it is for everyone, of the importance of striking a healthy balance; in this instance between relying on technology and doing things for oneself in the real world.
I don’t usually review bad beer. But sometimes beer that could be good turns out to be terrible. And other people need to be warned. So here goes.
I remember back when I was in Australia enjoying a couple of local brews that were on a level somewhat above the cheap and effective designation. My memory is incomplete though, because I simply remember breweries, not specific beers. So when the liquor stores in BC starting carrying six packs of Coopers Sparkling Ale for about the same price as many quality European imports, I reckoned that it would be worth a taste. During my Yuletide shopping trip I picked up a six pack. Who knew that after several social engagements it would still be unfinished…