"My sister went to Columbia..." boasted our friendly neighbor to my wife, who pretended to be adequately impressed, while I fired up the grill and appeared to make myself busy placing the folding chairs neatly on the patio. It was 65 degrees on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It would have been plain evil to sit inside in the comfort of the living room and search for Kevin Spacey in the second season of the "House of Cards". In this weather I preferred sitting outside in the sun, wearing goggles, sipping beer and listening to Ritche Blackmores Rainbow "One day in the year of the fox, came a time remembered well..."
I gulped down the whole bottle of 'Loose Cannon" while turning over the spicy chicken wings on the grill. This was a refreshingly nice gold colored fragrant beer which has a nickname of Hop3. I looked at the Heavy Seas bottle in respect and saluted the brewer in my mind. One would think it is supposed to be gulped down in 3 swigs, but later I figured that Hop3 means it is triple hopped. Hops are used in the brewing process for seasoning of the beer, and they put the "bitter" in the beer. This is an American IPA style beer. One wonders what American IPA stands for...I was told that this was more flavorful than the English IPA.
"Bapi, the trampoline has mud on it..." my 13 year old son was trying to install the 12 feet wide trampoline in the yard together with his equally naughty friend. They were waiting for weeks to climb on it. It had been gathering dust since last year. I wanted to get rid of it and had twice thought of calling the township to collect it as garbage. My friendly neighbor advised me to sell it on an "as-is" basis on eBay. But now I ran to help the kids to first stabilize the poles before they
started jumping on it. An hour later it was all fixed and firm on the ground. Then came the power wash. Washing all its dirt and sins away into posterity. It was invitingly squeaky clean now. All of a sudden, every kid in the neighborhood wanted to jump on our trampoline.
I gulped down another whole bottle of "Loose Cannon". Cool sala. Guess what, IPA stands for India Pale Ale. This is a strong, heavily hopped beer that was originally brewed in Britain to withstand long sea voyages to far-flung outposts of the British Empire. India Pale Ale developed in England around 1840 and became quite popular. Apparently the East India Company traders transported these beers to India. The beers benefited in taste from the long voyages that often lasted 18 months or more. In the late 19th century brewers dropped the term "India" and simply called the beer "Pale Ale".
"Yeah...next Saturday at our place" chirped one of our neighbors, as she reminded my wife of the chinese auction at her place. How could anyone buy so many handbags, I thought to myself.
After another bottle of "Loose Cannon" a chilling realization overtook me. I realized that beer is the ultimate social lubricant, especially when enjoyed sitting in the sun. Also amazing is the chequered and varied history of beer and the "culture" that it brings to the table. Take the Dos Equis for instance, a beer that a friend had introduced to me. This was first brewed in 1897 to commemorate the arrival of the new century, and the bottles are marked for 20 ("XX"). Dos Equis is Spanish for "two X".
As I savor the taste, fragrance and appearance of my beer, while writing this, I cannot help but remark that if "x" is the unknown, I dare not go any further into the "unknown beerdom" than Dos Equis.