5.1% ABV from a can
Today, March Madness Thursday, is probably my favorite day of each calender year, assuming July 1st doesn’t all of the sudden become National Aaron/Scarlett Johansson/Megan Fox threesome day (observed).
From the second the brackets are announced on Sunday night and Jay Bilas starts calmly, rationally, and wisely arguing with a maniacal Dickie V while Digger picks his nose with a fluorescent pink magic marker, I am in the throes of anxious anticipation. Obsessively studying my team Syracuse’s route to the Final Four. Speculating on the minutiae of each and every of the 63 games yet to be played. Debating with friends about the merits of this team we never saw play and that team we never saw play. (“What?! You’re taking Texas A&M over BYU? You gotta be fucking kidding me! The Aggies will never stop…”–checks internet–“…6’7″ guard Lee Cummard and his 16.8 point per game.”)
As the week goes on, the tournament closer, the wait is maddening, the possibilities endless. This is the best time in the world to be a college basketball fan. Even a Binghamton supporter can probably convince themselves that somehow someway they could maybe win it all if everything falls into place. I will scrutinize my tournament pool picks countless times, making little tweaks here and there (“Hmmm…maybe Clemson is better than Michigan.”), talking myself into and out of Final Four picks, making sure the bracket isn’t too “chalk,” nor too obscure. Two #1 seeds in the Final Four is just a correct number to seem possible yet not ludicrous. And not win either. Never win ever. Let’s be honest, it’s all a crap shoot and a moron always wins the loot.*
The week goes on and I’m watching every single highlight show, reading every single breakdown of every single game on every single website and blog. Inhaling as much as I can about Syracuse’s chances. Blatantly ignoring the writers and analysts that don’t pick us (“He’s always HATED us! Asshole.”) and awarding MENSA memberships to those that do have the Orange going far (“I’ve always liked him. So intelligent and even-handed.”) I’m also barely eating or drinking, saving my body for the Thursday through Sunday gauntlet of gluttony and vice. That wasn’t that hard of a task this year as I was sick as a dog all week after completing a Big East tournament bender from the previous Wednesday through Saturday: four games, seven overtimes, all my greasy and fried meals ate in Madison Square Garden area bars, hundreds of beers consumed, and zero attractive UConn fans espied.
My unofficial Surly dealer, The Captain, scored me the Coffee Bender as he has likewise got me every single other glorious Surly I’ve ever had, including the original Bender which I adored. This version is that brew steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala. Pours dark and tastes more like a stout than a brown ale. Actually more like a rich iced coffee sans sugar and milk. And, with a fairly low ABV, you could probably convince someone that this is indeed one. (Aproposly, on this can, Surly’s usual motto of “Beer for a glass, from a can,” cutely becomes “Beer for a mug, from a can.”) Roasted, dry, and quite earthy. Delicious, though for coffee nuts only I would advise.
I’d go so far as to say this is the second best brown I’ve ever had after DFH’s Palo Santa Marron. I’m not sure if Surly makes quite enough total beers to be considered among the best breweries in America, but on a per capita basis they are certainly up there as I haven’t given one of their five releases I’ve tried any worse than an A-. I can only imagine that if and when they up production in both quantity and different styles that the great Minnesota brewery will rightfully be called one of the best beermakers around.
One final thing that is best about this March Madness Thursday is that Syracuse doesn’t play til tomorrow. So ain’t nothing bad that can happen to me for the next twenty-four hours!
For the record: I have The Cuse losing in the Elite 8 to UNC though I think Ty Lawson is more injured than Roy is letting on and they are ripe for an upset. The rest of my Final Four includes the indomitable Pitt, Slick Rick’s Louisville, and in the South I took a flyer on Mizzou. I don’t particularly like UConn or Memphis this year–could that be cause the Orange beat both of them?!–and see some oddball team coming from this region. Mizzou’s tempo control could conquer the South as UConn greatly misses Dyson and Memphis hasn’t played a big dog in months. I’m taking Pitt over the Cardinals in a title game I would never ever never watch.
*Unless it’s me of course. This is my year! I feel it!
**I pity you if are working today. You couldn’t call in sick? Come on, man!