Saturday, March 6, 2010

Some Guy’s Adventures through the Pint Glass, Part 2

Day two: Give me liberty, or give me drinks

The Research Department here at Bowling in the Dark recently completed an exhaustive cross-cultural national survey, compiling detailed information about average Americans’ familiarity with their nation’s history. We’ve learned that despite a significant emphasis on American history at all levels of public schooling, most Americans’ grasp of their own national origins can be disappointingly spotty.

For example, the following are some of the better-informed answers we received regarding a short list of prominent figures from the American Revolution:

George Washington: believed to have chopped down a cherry tree and then thrown it across the Potomac River, President Washington prevaricated before a Congressional inquiry into the subject, stating that “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘cherry’ is.”

Thomas Jefferson: In-depth research has shown that Thomas Jefferson may have slept with one of his slaves. A tiny community of pedantic nitpickers1 said something about Jefferson writing something or other, holding some sort of office, and maybe hanging out with, like, French people or something, but honestly, we couldn’t find any real Americans who actually gave a crap. As the director of the Thomas Jefferson Institute explained, “Dude, he was having sex. That’s fucking awesome.”

John Paul Jones: Sea captain, scourge of the British Navy, and Led Zeppelin bassist, 1775–1980. Remarkably well-preserved for a 263-year-old.2 When ordered by the captain of the HMS Serapis to keep the noise down, he famously replied, “I have not yet turned on my amp!”

Benjamin Franklin: a famous colonial inventor, writer, publisher, statesman, and amateur kite-flyer, Franklin was the first to prove the theory that, when electrocuted, the average American shits his pants in a most undignified manner. To hide his shame, Franklin moved to France, where became famous for wearing a fur cap.

Nathan Hale: Gave one single measly life to his country, and has spent the last two hundred fifty years dining out on it. “I regret that I blah blah blah something, something, whatever.” Why don’t you just shut up and pay your own bar tab once in a while, you big fat freeloader.

Abraham Lincoln: Despite being born more than three decades after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln is warmly remembered as a hero of the American Revolution. An experienced attorney and a splendid orator, Lincoln first gained renown for his spirited presidential debates against the 2'4" Stephen Douglas. The towering Lincoln, with a confident grasp of the issues at hand, a wealth of knowledge at his command, and a charmingly rustic delivery characteristic of his rural upbringing, crushed the diminutive Douglas in their final debate with a single blow from his massive, gnarled fist.

John Adams: Star of the movie musical 1776, this often-marginalized hero of the republic was reintroduced to the American public and a whole new generation of awestruck schoolchildren as the voice of a talking car.

Samuel Adams: the Beer Guy. Yep, that’s right, probably the most recognizable hero from the American Revolution—except, of course, for the dude that had sex—is Samuel Adams, the guy that makes that beer. Rather than delve into the complex and probably disappointing reasons why this is the case, or get into a tirade about the state of the American educational system,3 let’s just recognize this for what it is—a really convenient segue into discussing today’s beer selection:

Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat, Boston Beer Company, Boston, Massachusetts (or possibly Cincinnati, Ohio).

While I rarely refuse a wheat beer if one is offered to me, I don’t usually go out of my way to order them. I don’t generally mind the flavor, but something about their murkiness is off-putting. A clear drink (such as last installment’s Carlsberg) is trustworthy: you can tell there’s no disgusting little floaties in it. And a stout—Guinness, for example—is fine too, because frankly it could be filled with a handful of hammered little tadpoles swimming every which way, and I wouldn’t have any idea. So that’s fine. A wheat beer, on the other hand, seems actually designed to be hazy—as if it’s taunting me—and I’m not a big fan of that.4

Sam Adams’ Coastal Wheat did indeed come out of the bottle a touch cloudy, though not as much as I’d expected. I sensed a slightly fruity odor, and sure enough, a quick glance at the label confirmed that this is a “Wheat Ale brewed with Lemon Peel.” The label fails to explain, however, why the beer is brewed with the shittiest part of the lemon, the part that nobody ever, ever eats. I suspect that the Redcoats took all the genuinely edible parts of our colonial lemons, leaving stout patriots like Adams to throw whatever scraps they could find into their beer. We’re lucky the Boston Beer Company chose this recipe; research indicates that Samuel Adams had also developed brews that made use of fish heads, newsprint, and tea leaves dredged back out of Boston Harbor.

That said, though, Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat is a pretty good beer. It’s a refreshing break after a long day of whatever the hell it is I do all day. While I may not go out of my way to buy it for myself any time soon—in part because I still have almost 90% of the Mystery Case left—I certainly wouldn’t turn one down if it were offered to me.

Some Guy’s abitrary but indisputably accurate rating for Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat: Two (2) lanterns hanging in the steeple of the Old North Church.

For more of Some Guy’s Adventures through the Pint Glass, check here: Day 1  Day 2  Day 3  Day 4  Day 5  Day 6

1. I think they described themselves as “historians,” whatever the hell that means.
2. He must be Haitian.
3. Or the possibility that I may have simply made up one or two of the above facts about our founding fathers, and the American public’s beliefs about them. It’s also possible that I made up the survey . . . and also our Research Department.
4. I drink pulp-free orange juice, too, which at least means I’m consistent. I don’t see any reason why you’d need or want to know what kind of orange juice I drink, though, which is why I’ve put it here in the footnotes. Don’t tell me you actually waste time reading the footnotes.


  1. Your telling me non of this was researched? WTF?

  2. Research is hard, so I just borrowed a fact sheet from Dan Rather and 60 Minutes.