Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day when single guys are sad that they’re single, and happy they don’t have to buy any expensive gifts. The day when men who are tied down are (presumably) grateful to have their special lady in their lives, and disgruntled that they have to fork out cash for sparkly stuff. Well I think that whole system can be improved with the introduction of… *drum roll* … BEER! into the equation. Here’s my suggestion: if you’re currently entangled, get your significant other a great bottle of beer (or even a few) along with your chocolates and flowers and whatnot. It’s more than likely that she’ll end up sharing, so you basically scored points and got to drink good beer while skipping the girl’s best friend stuff. Plus, happy tipsy Valentine’s Day has to be better than the alternative, right?
If you’re single, just go buy yourself a bunch of good beer and drink yourself into submission in your apartment. It’s OK to cry, nobody’s watching.
So, the Conundrum: What beer are you buying your ladyfriend for Valentine’s Day?
Also, I guess it’s just me who’s single. So I’ll go ahead and list my crying-myself-softly-to-sleep beers at the end.
COMMANDER PINT O. CHUG
Finally, a Conundrum
that’s worth answering that I can answer. I’m going to dodge the question a little bit and tell you what beer I’m ordering for the table at dinner. Clever as it would be, I’m pretty sure that buying beer as a gift would go down about as well as a yard glass of Ithaca Apricot Wheat (my least favorite craft beer).
The beer in my pretend conundrum has to meet a lot of criteria. One: it has to be classy enough that it doesn’t look like a cop-out from buying a nice bottle of wine, even if neither of us would particularly enjoy the bottle of wine. Two: it has to be a well-balanced beer; it can’t be overly hoppy because the Commandress doesn’t like really astringent beers; it can’t be overly malty because she’ll have a headache within 10 minutes from the sweetness. Three: ABV can’t be super-high — perhaps the reasons for this are obvious. Four: it has to have some complexity but be accessible by someone who doesn’t know much about beer. That will also give us something to talk about, as this is Valentine’s Day #10 and we’re out of ammo.
With these criteria in mind, I present to you the Commander’s* #1 Beer for Valentine’s Day: Lagunitas Lil’ Sumpin’ Wild Ale. It’s not as pedestrian as, say, Sierra Nevada or something I would ordinarily ask the Commandress to pick up at the store. It has a strong hop profile but is not at all overpowering or bitter. To the contrary, characteristic of the DIPA style, there is a sweetness to it that really balances out the hops. Quite unlike your average DIPA, the Lil’ Sumpin’ Wild is made with Westmalle yeast that gives it a great, complex flavor.
*Ed. note: Do not take advice on your love life from the Commander.
It’s one of my favorite beers, and the Commandress is already a fan. So I can’t miss with this one. (As opposed to the rest of Valentine’s Day, which if it ends like last year’s, will find me sitting on the couch with a couple bombers of Founder’s Devil-Dancer and Japanese-made midget porn.)
BROTHER BARLEY MCHOPS
I assume I have it easier than most since Wifey McHops and I both agreed many, many years ago that as far as holidays are concerned, Valentine’s Day was a steaming crock of shit. Why do we celebrate a holiday named after a Catholic saint that absolutely nobody knows anything about? Seriously…look him up. No one even knows WHICH St. Valentine the holiday supposedly commemorates.
I also have an advantage in that Wifey has become a fairly astute Alehead in her own right. I’ve written about how much more sophisticated her palate is than mine and how she often detects notes in both the nose and flavor of beers that my whiskey-numbed senses miss entirely. So I have a nice cornucopia of styles to choose from for this Conundrum.
Wifey enjoys Brown Ales and Stouts. She likes Scotch Ales and Oud Bruins. But if I had to pick one style of beer to present to her on that stupidest of holidays, I would select the sour, tart, delicious Flanders Red. And what better representation of the style than the legendary Duchesse De Bourgogne. The alizarin-hued brew is pungently tart, vinous, with sweet fruity notes and champagne-like carbonation. It’s wonderfully complex and refreshing. Plus, it’s named after the lovely 15th century Duchess, Mary of Burgundy. A beer named after a women who lived in an era of chivalry and troubadours? Sounds like the perfect V-Day brew to me.
And as an added bonus, I already have a four-pack in my beer fridge so I don’t have to actually go out and purchase anything. You know…just like every other Valentine’s Day. Romance, thy name is Barley.
The Alewife enjoys malty brews, romantic candle light dinners, and long walks on the beach. This year for Valentine’s Day she will be receiving a 4-pack of Bell’s Hopslam, a copy of “The Expendables” on Blu-ray, and the Call of Duty: Black Ops “Zombie Mode” Expansion Pack. Cause that’s how I roll.
CZAR VLADIBEER S. BOOTIN’
Borley, Valentine my father’s name and he is saint. I refer to times he is prayed to at my house in past during disciplines . He many times told me that to Vlad belong only birthday, and days wife is in bed with vallium headache. All other days (of month) are hers. So why this day do I must spend hard gotten money on fourteen carat dinner and flowers that smell like Anna Chapmans underwears? In this, we agree – if I could send this other Valentine for the waterboarding, I would order it.
Because I born in Odessa, I eat steak with cream every normals night, so on the Valentine day we will eating four pounds each of sushi tuna with gold flakes. Then of course I will go home and be humiliated as is our tradition. This not-as-high-class-as-it-pretends restaurant does not serve the herring so I will be not drinking vodka but instead Hitachino Nest White Ale. This is beer like many vodkas is make from ukranian wheat and tastes sour like memory of my grandmother. I ask for beluga be part of omakase menu (explains to me why I spend more for ignorant chef to choose what I eat?). What will the wife drink? She will taste champagne and cognac, as is her place.
HERR HUMULUS HORDEUM
I generally don’t put a lot of thought into Valentine’s Day, for reasons already stated by Barley. Also, I’m cheap. The miss and I will cook a nice dinner, hang out, drink some beer, and maybe watch a movie. I also might buy something I want and give it to her (last year’s valentine’s gift: a rice-cooker).
So this year’s valentine beer? A Great Divide Grand Cru. Why? It’s new, I like the brewery, and the local store just got some this week. Done and done.
DR. RIPPED VAN DRINKALE, III
Beerford, do you have any idea what my wife would do to me if I bought her beer for V day? She likes beer, mostly lighter styles, blondes, and wheat beers, but the thought of presenting her with anything in malted form, other than milkballs, is just insane. Don’t get me wrong, I buy my wife beer all the time. When I come home with wifey-beer though she thanks me because it’s a fun source of consumption, not because it’s a cool beer. I on the otherhand do backflips whenever someone brings a beer home for me. What I’m getting at here is that she doesn’t appreciate beer the way most of us do, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
So, out of the goodness of my heart, this Valentines day I will do the honorable thing and promise to consume as much beer as I can that’s already in the house. The wife hates clutter, the wife hates “Stuff”, so I’ll do her a solid and get rid of a bunch of that stuff. I’ll open the fridge and give her a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, a Watchusett Larry, and if she’s really good a 4-pack of Duvel. The best part is she doesn’t have to drink any of it, it’s all for me. This I owe to her, for all she’s done for me.
First, let me welcome Czar Vladibeer S. Bootin’ to the brotherhood of Aleheads. I’m actually not sure how he got here (the most plausible tale I’ve heard is that Slouch lost a bet over a vodka shooting contest similar to that Indiana Jones scene), but whatever the reason he’s now one of us. We’ll all just have to hope his English improves over time. Frankly, I’m not optimistic.
It’s fairly clear from the above responses that the Alewives have pretty much pre-dictated the beer-purchasing bylaws for their various households, so this conundrum may have been moderately self-censored by the Aleheads so as to not get themselves into any serious pre-holiday trouble. Nevertheless the boys did manage to offer a few interesting options. I’m sure they’d all join me in wishing all of you out there the best of luck in getting through this most perilous of nonsensical relationship holidays with your (pre)-matrimonial bonds intact.
As for me, at the moment I’ve got a fridge full of stouts with which to play, so I think I’m going to start the evening with a bomber of Pelican Tsunami Stout while watching The Road Warrior (to remind myself that life as a solitary bad ass is way more awesome than having a soul mate). I’ll probably move on to bomber #2 of Ninkasi Oatis Oatmeal Stout, followed by #3 of Pike Street XXXXX Stout. By that point it’s likely I’ll have switched over to watching Chocolat, and will be wrapped in a comforter sobbing a bit. I plan to finish the evening by working my way through a four pack of North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, though there’s a fairly good chance that I’ll switch to bourbon at some point so as to most effectively dampen the raw, searing pain in my soul stemming from the prospect of a life of infinite solitude. I expect this will end with me hugging the toilet for comfort (on a number of levels) at around 2:00 a.m. with This Mortal Coil’s It’ll End in Tears album playing on repeat. On the plus side, the pain of my hangover on Tuesday morning should pale in comparison to the emptiness.
Goddamn Valentine’s Day.