Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Old Salt Ale

I'd like to take a moment to further describe the story behind me drinking an Old Salt Ale that I mentioned yesterday. You see, it went like this:

I was on my way to Hudson, Mass. for a bidness trip. I had not been in Hudson since 1995 when I interviewed for a job with what was then Digital Equipment Corp. Oddly enough, the bidness trip I was on was to the same building in which I was interviewed then, only now my present company owns it. When I got to the airport, I discovered three other people from work were on the same flight as I: my boss, a guy named StackyB (no relation), and another guy I had heard of but never met. There were a bazillion people from my site traveling to Hudson, all for different reasons. There were at least four different meetings between our teams going on at the same time. But I digress.

After we got our luggage in Boston, the other folks decided we were going to stop at Legal Seafood in Framingham for dinner. So we went there. Everyone else had been there before, I think. After selecting my dinner from the dinner menu, my eyes drifted to the separate drink menu, as they are wont to do. It was loaded with all kinds of nasty-nasty sounding cocktails (how many different ways are there to ruin a martini with fruit juice, I wonder?) and one and only one beer: the aforementioned Old Salt Ale. I read the description. It claimed that it was brewed by the Harpoon Brewery, which is actually known for pretty good craft brews. It claimed that it was specially brewed to complement seafood, which I was planning to eat. Then it said, "served with or without salt on the rim and with a lemon wedge."

This was a red flag. I made some comment about that not sounding like a particularly manly beer, but as always happens with the FC crowd, this was met with a challenge to not be so uptight.

Oddly, for Colorado, not many folks at work seem to have even the most rudimentary understanding of the rules of manhood. Like finishing your beer. Like not drinking fruity drinks with umbrellas. Like drinking whiskey of any kind without mixing it with Dr. Thunder. I scanned the dinner menu, too, and no beers were listed there. I craned my neck to look around, and no beer taps were to be seen anywhere. So, given that I was with my boss and StackyB, both of whom I have to marginally impress in some way in order to keep the cash rolling in to support The Mrs. in the lavish lifestyle to which she has become accustomed, and given that I really really wanted a beers after flying in cattle class on United Airlines for 4 hours and then driving in a cheap rental car for an hour, I decided to not be so uptight. I took the plunge and ordered the Old Salt Ale with my dinner.

The waiter said, "Would you like that with salt on the rim?" I answered with a resounding, "No!" He said, "Have you ever tried it with salt around the rim? It's much better that way."

Now, I can put and two together as well as the next guy, in particular if it's almost 9pm and I haven't had my first beers yet. The waiter is telegraphing to me that this beer is crap-o-la without the salt. He was like a 20-ish year old dude and didn't look the least bit fru-fru, so I figured maybe he knew what he was talking about. I ordered up the salt. The other two guys also followed suit, since they didn't want to be out-adventured by me.

The only thing about this whole scenario that wasn't a mistake was getting the salt. I took the first swig with full salt. Yeeeargh, that's bad beer! I took another swig from the same spot, now cleared of salt from the first swig. York york york, that's even worse! Then I did something I never in my life expected to do.

I mentally figured out the optimum swig size for the beer. Too big, and I risked ralphing. To small, and I risked running out of salt before finishing the "beer." I weighted it a little towards the ralphing side of the risk matrix, as it seemed like that failure mode had a smaller downside than running out of salt. I put my plan into effect, and all came out well. No ralphing, and I had a little salt to spare at the end. I can't help myself; I'm an engineer. This is what I do.

As an aside, yesterday on the way back from lunch, we were discussing desserts. This is because one of the guys knew one of the managers at the restaurant at which we at, and the manager had come out at the end and given us each a coupon for free dessert. We didn't use the coupons as we had already paid up and were set to leave. But we were discussing what kinds of desserts the place had. It's one of the minor Italian chains, so naturally someone mentioned they had tiramisu. I noted how tiramisu was like a classic chick dessert, and then I did a mocking impression of a woman gushing over tiramisu.

At this point, MoodyT interjected that I had an awful lot of hangups about man vs. woman stuff, and he was starting to suspect I was probably secretly gay. Those of you who know MoodyT will appreciate the irony in this. But, it underscores how most of these guys out here have no idea about the rules of manhood, and they mistake an adherence to traditional manliness rules for closeted sexual confusion. The Democrats have gotten to these kids. It's a good thing I'm here now.

As a second aside, I got to witness some true talent on Wednesday night. Still in Hudson, I went out with a few of the guys - MoustachioP, Cavitation, and WoodyWoody - for food and drinks after a long, long day at work. Normally, I'd be the top of the food chain at this kind of event, but WoodyWoody put on a clinic. I was in awe of his superior skills. I interoffice mailed him a copy of "Modern Drunkard Magazine" as an homage when I returned to FC. (He's back in SC.) Cavitation put up a small battle, and MoustachioP never got much past the starting gate, so I think I came in a distant second.

Though I caution you, this is not a competition. Please, no wagering.


Nava said...

What puzzles me, (except for the last paragraph which is ciphered Greek to me) is why you had to finish that Salt Ale.
I thought that JimmyB (The JohnnyB's brother) is the only person in the world who never lets alcohol go down the drain, no matter how bad, corked or stale it is.

CherkyB said...

This is very easy to explain. You obviously married the wrong brother.

Anonymous said...

If I want to get Brian's goat all I need to do is walk near the sink with a drink in hand.

Nava said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nava said...

Well, there's more to The JohnnyB than drinking to the last drop.
And having a goat(?!?)

Anonymous said...

CherkyB, I have to apologize. I thought you ordered the Old Salt Ale cause you were just an idiot, not because it was the only beer in the place.

CherkyB - you haven't posted any pictures of your goat on the blog yet! Did you teach the goat that trick?