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Blue Star



By Scott Sullivan


Good Taste

By popular request I am seeking a new career. It will be hard parting with the pay and prestige, but an editor’s life’s not easy. Humanity happens 24/7. People think you should know things you rather wouldn’t.

Why go back to school when I’ve trained for years, without knowing, to be a professional beer taster? Many are called, few chosen. But I’ve paid tuition in learning centers ranging from high-end to The Tiny Giant.

The Giant specialized in “The Grand Slam”: smokes, porn, rotgut and lotto tickets. Everything guys need. Quaff a $10 case of Meister Brau and the next morning you would be a case. Some lesson. I’ve paid my dues; now it’s time I am paid my due.

Enter BrewDog, a Scottish brewery that has blessed scholars everywhere with Elvis Juice, Punk IPA and Pulp Patriot. Not as cool as Saugatuck Brewing Co.’s Dramanatrixxx or Darker Than Your Soul, but the Scottish firm offers Pawternity, a paid week off when workers adopt a dog.

Who knew a year ago, when my wife adopted a husky that killed her bunny and mustache parakeet, then returned him; the next pup she adopted, expecting he would grow into a Rottweiler/German shepherd mix, hence much gentler, wouldn’t? The only sane answer: Keep him and add a pit bull.

I need at least a week off after this. Plus the more beer, the better. He’s nice pup, actually. Three days, no deaths so far.

“The regular family isn’t everyone’s thing,” says BrewDog’s Miranda Dietz. Boy, does she have us pegged. “We have to make sure we’re nurturing people’s family, whether furry or human ones,” she says.

With Pawternity I would have more time to stay home, scoop poop, blot up pee, and break up new-dog-arrival fights, plus fret the coronavirus, watch the Democratic presidential debates and engage in other enriching activities work so far has precluded.

“How soon can I come back?” I’d beg BrewDog. “Please!”

Our old dog welcomed the new one much as the Dems did Mike Bloomberg, the $60-billion man, to their rostrum.

“Squawk! Chirp-Chirp! Pilot! Pepper!” I head from the other room.

“Could you turn the debate down?” I asked my wife.

“That’s not the Dems,” she said. “That’s my new mustache parakeet.”

Damn, I’d thought one of them finally was making sense. Finally one of them seemed to be making sense. “When do the Republican debates start?” I asked.

“There are none. Unless you count ‘Yes, Donald. Anything you say, Donald.’”

Now the Dems seem poised to run a socialist against President Trump, moderates like me can wail we’ve been disenfranchised. Or we’ve disenfranchised ourselves. “The best lack all conviction,” Yeats wrote in “The Second Coming” 100 years ago, “while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

How’s life in Scotland? BrewDog has based U.S. operations in Ohio, but better China than Buckeye Land.

“Why are you so angry?” my wife asked.

“Trying to summon passionate intensity.”

“About politics?”

“Good point,” I said. “It’s pointless. My hopes for politics were so long ago overloaded there’s no rekindling them. Try this to explain what can’t be: ‘Now is the winter of our discontent.’”

“Speak for yourself, Shakespeare. Every winter is that way. It will be spring in two weeks.”

“April is the cruelest month …”

“T.S. Eliot won’t help you either. When it’s spring you can walk the dogs more.”

This inspired me to seek Pulp Patriots — not BrewDog’s “powerhouse of an American double IPA … Swear allegiance!” — but editors who gush about how much they love their country, at least on paper.

I am one, but a bitter, double-hopped version. What I and peers swear allegiance to is a process that questions all sides and discards none of them. Sometimes a sweet lager tastes good too.