This weekend I attended Oktoberfest. I know it's still September. Whatever. This just happened to be when the Seattle neighborhood of Freemont was holding it's Oktoberfest. Anyway, it was my very first time attending an Oktoberfest celebration, so I felt like sharing it with you all.
Let me tell you a little about me and alcohol. I'm not a big drinker. I know it's ironic to hear from a guy who helped popularize the Vice Rating System, but I don't really enjoy altering my mental state. It comes from thinking too much. This is not a thing to have an ego about. It's a curse. When you can't stop judging and analyzing every little thing in the world, you tend to become either a pompous egotistical dickhole or an alcoholic. It's usually the later, because alcohol makes that constant inner monologue finally shut up. It's the perfect escape. In my case, I chose to face the over-analyzation and learn to control it without substances. This was no easy task, especially because I had a bad habit of thinking I knew what was best for people who were not me. My point is, I worked hard to be happy with who I am, and intoxication takes me away from that familiar and comfortable balance. This isn't to say I never get drunk, but I reserve it for very special occasions.
Let me tell you a little about me and beer. I love beer. Beer is a tasty and complicated beverage with personality that reflects upon the craftsmanship of the brewer. Beer is a cultured and time honored part of human history, and - in a world where most tasty beverages are sugary sweet - a refreshing change of pace. Beer is one of the most universal common grounds among men, and increasingly, women as well. Beer spans a range of tastes from sour to bitter, mellow to strong, and like snowflakes, no two brews are ever the same. Despite the fact that I really don't enjoy getting drunk, I have a deep passionate love for beer.
So, thanks to the girlfriend-of-a-friend working at Freemont Oktoberfest, me and fellow beer-lover Big Josh enjoyed free admission and a handful of beer tasting tokens. It was a magnificent time indeed. This being an occasion where intoxication was near unavoidable, we set out from Josh's house on foot to mosey on down to Freemont. Once there we waited inline until said friend surprised us with line-passing VIP tickets, which enabled us to dust all the suckers in line like Q at Six Flags.
We were given cute little plastic 4oz steins and had to purchase tokens. One token meant one fill. I knew I probably wouldn't use all 12 tokens that I acquired, but this being my first Oktoberfest, I didn't want to be unprepared. Big Josh secured 16 for himself, and we set off into the wild. We started with an India Pale Ale, which tend to be quite bitter. Seffinga once related IPAs to a beverage made with dish soap. We moved on to a much milder Ale, light, a bit on the sour side. I would say my favorites were the ales and porters. I was actually secure enough in my masculinity to even try a couple ciders as well, both sweet but also a rather good palette cleanser for the signature malt beverages we came for.
So all in all I had 10 drinks. I used nine of my own tokens and gave the last three away to people I deemed worthy. The first went to a gentlemen with a stunning beard. I mean dude, his beard was damn near Chuck Norris quality. The second went to the prettiest lady I could find. "I'm a taken guy," I confessed to the lovely stranger, "But I want you to have this on behalf of your anonymous hotness." For the third and final token, I began a search for the best dressed person present, but was totally thrown off the scent by a lady with an outstanding hat. It looked like a cross between the flying nun and a Canadian ear-flap hat. It was massive and awe inspiring, and I had no choice but to relinquish my last token to it's barer. With my tokens gone, Big Josh insisted that I take one of his for our final toast.
"But Jer," you might ask, "after drinking all that beer, won't you please tell us which were your favorites?" Well, I had to look up the on tap list to remember the names, but there were a few that proved themselves worthy of mention. The best label was certainly Deschutes Brewery, makers of "Black Butte Porter." I myself had their "Mirror Pond Pale Ale" while Big Josh had the porter, and we were both quite satisfied. The best dark beer I had was New Belgium Brewing Company's "1554 Enlightened Black Ale." One of those ever-so-manly ciders I enjoyed was Wyder's Raspberry Cider, which was sweet but not obnoxiously so, and was actually quite refreshing. Finally, the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery's "Rocktoberfest" was the one we chose as our closing quaff, and while it wasn't the messiah in beer form, it certainly left us on a happy note.
And so with warmth in our hearts, alcohol in our blood and fond memories in our... also hearts, we left Oktoberfest behind. On foot, because we're not retards.
It was the best day ever.