Monday, September 24, 2007

A Successful Oktoberfest Is The Only Way To Usher In A Terrific Fall

Welcome to The Fall! My favorite season, if not only for the metaphorical connotations of the season and the word itself, but for all Fall brings. Last week, when it was summer, I was at Lowe's and they were putting up the fake Christmas trees and very real decorations -I kid you not. Spare us, please! Just let me have my Halloween, the holiday where you get to dress like an idiot, demand candy from people, and if they don't pay up, you threaten them with tomfoolery (and all this is encouraged in the kids!) Also, there's Thanksgiving, an excellent American holiday by all means, and then there's that first Fall cold snap and those leaves changing color, and the big clouds in the sky that give it some depth and dimension for once (we just don't get that often enough out here in SoCal.) And what about that week or so of warm, dry Santa Ana winds that whip through town blowing the leaves in an upward spiral and bringing the ghosts dancing out of the brush? When that happens, there will be fires and another heat spell and the professional weathermen will be all worked up "a heat wave in October!" as if they'd never seen it before. This past weekend's Storm of the Century was a no-show, which would have been disappointing if it wasn't so gosh-darned pretty outside, and I don't see why the professional weathermen couldn't have just said, "This weekend is going to be the most beautiful one we've had all summer! You'll be glad you live in Southern California and the mere thought that the bubble has burst in the mortgage industry and that you're paying too much for a square of property on this side of paradise won't even soft-shoe through the back of your mind!" Of course, had they even forecasted such a thing, it probably would've rained a torrent -but then that would have been news! Biggest September rainstorm in twenty years! So it goes.

My favorite season is always kicked off properly with Oktoberfest, a beer-drinker's holiday in the ranks of St. Patrick's Day and the 4th of July (and Christmas, and Labor Day, and well, all of 'em. Though I prefer wine on Thanksgiving.) Unfortunately, I've had my health on the shelf for the past few, so it's been something of a let down. When that happens, I usually just drink Mexican beer with lime, or a nice hefeweizen with a slice of lemon, so I can get the Vitamin C. Anyway, I love beer, and drink a hearty amount. Imagine my pleasure upon seeing that the Construction booth at the Harbor Days Festival last week was just a booth away from the Oceanside Ale Works Beer Garden! Wonderful!

I prefer good wine by any stretch of imagination, but good beer is much easier to come by (read: cheaper) so I stick with being a connoisseur of the latter. I'm always trying out new beers, and when I run out of ideas, I go back to some old favorites to see if they still taste the same. They often don't, as microbreweries tend to adjust their ingredients or water source or whatnot from year to year and it can often have a noticeable impact on the flavor. I read recently about "flavor wandering" in Budweiser (and I mean the perennial American-made Budweiser, not the real German stuff) and they have a beer cellar at the Budweiser headquarters that goes back like 40 years or something, so they can keep track of it. Aged Budweiser! Somehow, it just doesn't sound as good to me as a 40 year old bottle of cab.

Also, I can be bought with a good label (it's only beer, after all.) I noticed that Bass had a nice new label and a canned version, so I got a few of those the other day. Man alive! It was the best beer I've had in a long time. They have perfected the can of beer! This is good news! I guess there is a new technology where they can inject nitrogen into the can without the widget, so you get that perfect pour and creamy head plus the extra sip of beer that the widget once took up! Brilliant! And last week I had a few He'Brew, the Chosen Beer, because it was Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Pomegranate Ale was interesting, not too bad, but their regular old He'Brew had a surprising tang to it that I liked. Also they have some great ads. Check it out. You gotta hand it to those Jews, man. L'Chaim!

Spent Saturday afternoon shaving the cat, but spent Sunday afternoon at a swell suburban Oceanside birthday party. One of the neighbors has a now 4-year-old, and they rented a jumper and had cake and a pinata. The kids ran around on the grass, the women sat at one table, and the men at another, and it was the sweet angel of good living making the rounds again. It's such a pleasure to have friendly folks on your street, folks who like beer. We seem to get together every couple of months or so, these kids have birthdays, and it's a good-humored event. Everyone's friendly and we chat about the goings-on in the hood; what did you do to your house, what's wrong with those guys who live over there, did you hear there was a snake in their kitchen, that sort of thing... The kids run around on the grass and every adult conversation is cut short by one of the parents running off to fetch one of the little ones for this reason or that, and then it's talk about the schools, the cats, and then you walk home. An excellent Sunday afternoon. I tell ya, nothing to complain about is an excellent day.

And Mrs. Ditchman ran eight miles this morning and didn't think twice about it. And she's still sick! What a woman, that Mrs. Ditchman,
W H A T - A - W O M A N !

I'm a lucky man.