Dignified Drinking or “How I Shotgunned a Miller Highlife Camo Tallboy at my 4th of July Party”

Planning the perfect summer holiday party takes a lot of thought and consideration to balance the traditional patriotic food – always dead animals on the grill – and festive beverages. This year we had a few neighbors over and served the most American beverage we could think of: beer. Not just any beer, but ‘Merican beer from a variety of producers. We had a selection of microbrews from both Texas and Oregon on hand. Some delicious stuff, but I’m not going to give you my tasting notes on any of them.

Nope. I’m here to share the best part of the afternoon. Shotgunning a Miller Highlife tallboy in a camoflauge styled can. Now that’s class.

I have no idea the origins of this binge drinking method. I assume it was invented by some frat boy. I do know the purpose. Instant buzz. Do you remember the first time you did it? Was it in high school or college? I remember trying to teach a friend, Robbie, in high school how to do it in the mall parking lot right after work. Robbie spilled the better part of three beers down his shirt before we were interupted by the local law enforcement. We quickly tried to kick the empties under my car, but that was no use as the cop car spotlight illuminated everything going on. It turns out the cop was the dad of a kid that we played soccer against at a rival high school. We started talking about the game and his son, and he let us off without so much as a ticket. Luck.

When’s the last time you shotgunned a beer? I’m can do it pretty quickly, but was never the fastest. My friend LFBIII always beat me in high school and college. How fast can you do it? Looking at the counter on this video, I sucked down 16ozs of golden bliss in 8 seconds. Can you top that? Post your best time here and let me know what you are drinking.


Reliving the Honeymoon

Dead soldier

My beautiful wife and I got married in the vineyards of Gold Hill Winery in Coloma, California. A fantastic setting to begin our life together. We decided to go back to wine country to celebrate our 10th anniversary and visited wineries in Napa, Alexander and Anderson Valleys.

We absolutely love the quiet ease of the Anderson Valley wineries, the friendly charm of the people and the gorgeous landscape. It reminds us a bit of the Willamette Valley in Oregon – great wine without the congestion of throngs of tourists like in Napa. We had rented a lovely house on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific in Irish Beach, just south of Mendocino, so the trip over to Anderson was convenient. Lost in the romance of the moment, we made a rookie mistake – and mind you we are not wine tasting rookies. We joined the wine club at the last winery we visited at the end of a long day of sampling fantastic wine.

Husch Vineyards has a charming little tasting room in a rustic converted pony barn. The grounds have the graciousness of an antebellum plantation guarded by majestic, centuries old redwood giants. The wine tasted fantastic. We went through the entire roster and into the library wines. All of them delicious.

Doesn’t all wine taste better after you’ve already had 15 glasses?

Not long after we got home, we received our first club shipment from Husch. A nice enough selection of reasonably priced wines. Last night we popped opened one of the gems, a 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir. Here are the winery’s tasting notes. This wine was like a big budget Nicholas Cage film. It had promise. I approached it with the anticipation that a known star deserves. But, it was a Nicolas Cage flick. Shoddy acting, weak plot and thin entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t live up to expectation.

Instead of velvet, the mouth feel was thin. I wanted a glass full of bright cherries, but got aged fruit. In place of a vanilla kiss of French oak, it brushed me with smokey coal.

This bottle retails for $35. My advice, take that cake and go buy 2 delicious Spanish reds for $17 each instead. If you are ever in Northern California, make the effort to visit the wineries in Anderson Valley, and don’t miss Husch. You’ll love it in person.

Brazil vs. Netherlands

Brazilian and Dutch fans celebrate together after the Netherlands victory
Paying respect to the national anthem before the match

A sea of yellow and orange jerseys swells in Fado Irish pub getting ready for the 9am start of the match pitting Brasil against Netherlands in the World Cup. A quick scan of the tables at 8:30 and most people are drinking coffee and water so far. Only a few pints and bloody marys.

As the game kicks in, the drinks start coming out en masse. Bloodies, mimosas, pints and pints and pints. Brazil takes an early 1-0 lead, but both teams look strong in the first half. I’m joining the crowd with a bloody. It’s spicy magic is loosening the grips of the vicious hangover brought on by my beer binge last night. Gentle vibrations tingle the angry nerves to sleep. The alcohol dances with its contrarian cousin, caffeine, to give me that precious morning buzz that can’t quite be matched any other time of the day.

Remember when you were a teenager just starting to drink? Remember how you could actually feel the effects of alcohol as it started to take control? That sweet numbness that tickled your cheeks and lips? What happened to that? Why is it the – now sober, now drunk paradigm is in effect now that we are older? Why can’t we appreciate the creeping in between stages as much as we did when we were kids? Well, the coffee, vodka, beer buzz in the morning gives an approximation. A lovely, delicious approximation of youth.

Here’s what Fado puts in a bloody mary:

  • Well vodka – no surprise
  • Mister P’s bloody mary mix – never heard of it
  • HP sauce – cause it’s an Irish pub, and the Brits love that shit
  • Tabasco – standard
  • Guinness – again, Irish pub and a nice touch
  • Miscellaneous spices that you would expect
  • Garnished with a lime and an olive

Tasty. Down right respectable.

Second half of the match was a vicious fight. The Dutch dominated and ultimately prevailed. Brazil had to finish with a man down onna accounta a red card gettin thrown. The Netherlands deserved this one. They looked fantastic.

The crowd here is insane! The entire match was raucous. Absolutely packed pub almost equally split between orange and yellow. (As an aside, Brazilian women are frickin gorgeous.)  Vuvuzelas blaring, screaming, chanting, singing, jumping, high-fives, hugs. Public camaraderie. We’re sharing this moment in an exuberant, joyful way. Fans on both signs respectfully cheering and enjoying the battle. No animosity, just the pure pleasure that sport brings. Well, alcohol fueled  to boot. At the end of stoppage time the Brazilian fans embraced the Dutch with flags wrapped around shoulders. Conga lines sprouted and Jack and the Beanstock vined through the pub. Absolute jubilation.

Here it is. My prediction – Netherlands vs. Germany in the final. Germany wins 3-2. Yep. I said it. Mark it down.

As lovely as the bloody was, I had to move on to Smithwick. A fine Irish ale. I’ll keep these going until the Ghana v. Uruguay match at 1:30. God bless the World Cup. God bless the fans tht make this soooooo fun. God bless the drink the lubricates the soul and sings along with our happiness for competition. Long live sport. Long live drink.

What do you drink watchin the World Cup?

Bar night waiting for the band

Some nights are grown up and responsible. Those nights specialize in deep conversations and thoughtful exploration of sophisticated wine. Tonight is not one of those nights.

Tonight is a boys night out at the hipster bars in Austin. Cheap beep, burgers and Indie bands dictate the agenda.

Started the night with a Miller High Life tall boy at Shangri La. Some Brooklyn Lager helped us segue to Harpoon IPA at the Brixton. Back to Brooklyn on tap at the Jakelope. Next up, we’re goin to see The Non at The Mohawk.

Not sure what we’ll drink next, but guarantee it will be less nuanced than a nice Cotes du Rhone.

Feelin Tinto Fino

Properly decanted and ready for action
Subject show prior to consumption


Lately I’ve been itchin for a taste for Spain, so I grabbed a few bottles of Dehesa la Granja 2001 to scratch that itch. This fine juice comes from the vineyard Alejandro Fernandez  in the Ribera del Duero region. Our man Alejandro has been in business since 1972, and is well known for some of his other labels – Tinto Pesquera, Condado de Haza  and El Vinculo. He makes his wines exclusively from the Tempranillo grape, which I’m partial to. 

The pop of the cork released a dusty raspberry bramble scent. The rusty brick brown wine had kicked off a bit of sediment, so I decanted it so I didn’t have to chew it. 

Even though its only 9 years old, my buddy Dehesa is already showing signs of maturity. Tasty enough, but missing a little of the roundness and pizzaz I was looking for. Tasted more like the inside of a wallet than I want. I don’t think I’ll leave the other bottles lyin around too much longer. So, I popped a second bottle later on to see if it was holding up better than the first. 

This one, classic Tinto Fino. Medium bodied, with the lively step of a flamenco dancer springing forth to smash berries with wooden shoes on my tongue. Can’t blame ’em, the flavors. After being cooped up in a barrel for two years before being bottled, then all that time sittin in that glass jail for seven more, ya gotten expect the flavors to burst forth. Then the tannins and oak restrained a few of the more susceptible fruit flavors with leather straps, forcing them to linger for a long finish. This I like. I like it a lot.

This is a great wine to pair with a meal. Lamb, venison, duck, pizza would all benefit from a visit by old Dehesa. I didn’t bother though. Food seemed like too much effort. This wine had me fully occupied on a Wednesday night.

You might have a tough time finding the ’01 vintage, but I encourage you to go out and grab a bottle of the year you find. It retails for about $25 and is widely distributed. Go get ya some.

Water with a kick

On Saturday my friend G and his darling wife were over to watch the US World Cup match. Darling wife has recently discovered the joys of Bud Light Lime, so she had a sixer in hand. G is roundly amused by her beer selection and decided it was something he ought to try.

He poured a glass to examine the lovely pale straw color, the whisper of a head and the fruity nose. Next to it he pour a glass of LaCroix lime sparkling water. He enouraged me to take a taste test.

They are remarkably similar, but the LaCroix is slightly more crisp. G’s point? Bud Light Lime tastes like lime flavored sparkling water. Point made.

Does that mean I’m going to turn my nose up at it? Hell no. That just means that when I want some water with a little touch of alcoholy goodness, I’ll consider a Bud Light Lime. So what if you can’t taste any hops or anything that resembles beer. Its refreshing.

Will I buy it? Probably not. At 7 bucks a six, I’d rather get real beer. Will you buy it?

What are you drinking?