Have you ever tried a beer only to find out that it doesn’t live up to…
As a lover of beer…Correction, a lover of the best beer for any occasion, I find myself a little stumped to name the best beer during Texas Power Outage of 2021. If you ever find yourself in the ambiguous neverland of a Texas Power Outage, a land ruled by the comforting leadership of empaths, Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott, trust me, you’ll need access to some good beer to medicate the experience. But what are the best beers for this occasion? Barrel-Aged stouts? Wheat beers? Winter beers? Sours? IPA’s? What, pray tell, is the best beer for this moment? What exactly should you drink during a gas coal emergency?
Best Beer of Day 1
On Monday the snow fell. The temperatures dropped. The schools canceled. The excitement of winter grows within the anticipatory soul of my 16-year-old boy fantasizing about a snow day. A commodity as rare as the corpse flower. I reach into my beer fridge to find an appropriate celebratory beer, a beer that matches the growing sense of magic. The best beer for this winter wonderland/pre-Texas power outage, is Bourbon Barrel Temptress.
Bourbon Barrel Temptress was the beer that hooked me into craft beer, the beer that showed me possibility and imagination in beer making. A high alcohol beer that drinks smooth. This beer warms up as it goes down. Perfect while hope and enthusiasm is high. Barrel aged beer making has come along way since my first sip of BBT. There are better barrel aged beers that stain the craft beer landscape, but this is time for nostalgia. A time for remembering my first snow man. My first hot chocolate. My first snow-day, playing in drifts as pillowy as cotton candy and the thought of sharing this joy with my son. Bourbon Barrel Temptress is the best beer during day 1 of the Texas Power Outage of 2021.
Best Beer of Day 2
On Tuesday the power stops. The grids are failing. “Rolling blackouts” becomes common in our vernacular. Transponders are blowing. Cities go dark. Grocery shelves are empty. The temperature outside is 1 degree. The temperature inside is 38 degrees. The schoolboy’s sense of wonder is replaced with a shivering quest for a spot near the fireplace. The power has been out for 13 hours, on for 2, then off for another 10. The sense of wonder is also failing.
Its hard to hope when your bones are cold. Neighbors 5 blocks to the south are experience rolling power every 30 minutes. Neighbors 5 miles to the west have no power at all. Fear of statewide power collapse is the disaster scenario that festers within our reactive minds…our collective unconscious. I am not feeling nostalgic anymore. I am cold. I am angry. I am feeling an odd mix of entitlement and guilt. I reach for a beer, no need for a fridge, the living room is cool enough. I don’t care what I grab, I just grab.
The beer I find in my hand is a dark lager. Texikaner from Pegasus City Brewery, to be exact. This is not a moment for tasting notes. This is a moment for mindlessness. A moment to just soften the edge. It is oddly satisfying, given the circumstances. Not heavy. Enough coffee notes to engage my “hot-cup-of-joe” muscle memory, that is sorely needed at this temperature. Texikaner is the best beer for day 2 of the Texas power outage of 2021.
Best Beer of Day 3
On Wednesday the power is still out. Pipes are bursting. Electric companies are gouging. ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) becomes the evil empire politicians decide to funnel their fake outrate toward. Water boil alerts are spreading across the central part of the state. Boiling water is a neat trick when you have no power.
Flower pot heaters
We are starting to embrace our primitive side…our resourceful side. We craft make-shift heaters out of votive candles and terra cotta pots. A sense of accomplishment and resiliency begin to bloom from our frozen ingenuity. Nothing warms quite so much as shared accomplishment and pride. While electrical power is scarce and devices are irrelevant, I find my family and I are having more thoughtful conversations. We are learning about each other because there are no distractions that require our parceled attention. No social media instigations. We only have the person across from us and we find warmth in the engagement…the laughter…the stories.
I thought about that late that Wednesday as the power, as if on cue, re-entered my house. Making its presence known…loudly. Rudely interrupting my family’s time together. Crushing its cigarette out on my furniture. I watched my son bolt from the kitchen chair to his room, eager to lose himself again in his computer world. For some odd reason I begin to notice the clouded breaths of my wife and I, leave our lips and vanish into the air like crooked smiles and dreams.
This moment deserves the right beer. I crack open a 2017 Spon from Jester King to share with my wife, to honor the moments we had that day. This beer is homey. While our attentions are focused and the enjoyment of the company is high, we just sip on this Geueze inspired beer as an unorthodox communion to each other. It is the unspoken toast that recognizes our us-ness. Who we are together. Spon does more than quench our thirst it cries to our thirsty need for time together. This is the best beer for day 3 of the Texas power outage of 2021.
Best Beer of Day 4
On Thursday our power was still on. The exhaustion of MacGyvering our way through the week is catching up. Enjoying the warmth of a functioning heater. Enjoying homemade soup warmed on an electric stove. Thursday is movie day. I start by watching Cool Hand Luke, vicariously living through Paul Newman’s summers in lock-up. Even though it’s ice cold outside, I get so lost in the movie that I experience the summer heat. I reach for a light lager, in this case, Rollertown’s Light Lager. Crisp and refreshing. It is perfect for a pretend summer day in the middle of a massive winter storm.
Next up on the double feature is Fargo. I figure Fargo is a desolate wintery place deserving of a beer brewed from a desolate wintery place…Allagash White. You can taste the wintery landscape. Spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel, White ornamented the palate as harmony to the white images on the screen. Rollertown Light and Allagash White are the best beers for day 4 of the Texas power outage of 2021.
Almost as a gift, my family has enjoyed power since Thursday. We are much more fortunate than my friends in Houston and Austin. Many of my friends still are without power and many have no water. I check in with my friends and while they are grossly inconvenienced by the conditions, they are safe. Slowly the state is coming back online. Our state has let us down by ignoring the potential consequences of the state’s most predictable emergency. Among those consequences are the deaths of 10 people sacrificed at the altar of greed. The gains of this predictable pain are untaxable. But men consistently look for strange gods to trust; offering food to the god of gluttony to fatten an economy at the expense of human health. There is no best beer for this. There is no reason for this. There is no excuse for this.
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