Working through the pain
One of the best techniques I've got for dealing with any sort of stress, pain, or responsibility is pretending that I'm too distracted by what's coming afterwards to pay any mind to my current situation. So even though there's a deluge of paperwork blocking all the fire exits from my office and a gauntlet of evening and weekend events that threaten to blot out my concept of the passage of time like a sensory deprivation tank, I'm going to soldier on and start making plans for when I finally blow this popsicle stand.
When I was a kid, my dad passed along his insight on how to properly land a devastating right hook, instructing me that the key was to not aim directly at your opponent, but behind your opponent so that you have a target to swing through to, thus fixing the amateur error of pulling your punch before you've done proper damage. Sadly, it's never quite panned out, as I've since spent all my good fistfights busily trying to get a good look at what's exactly behind my opponent's head, so that I can get a good bead on it. Regardless, it's the same theory at work, here, as I try to confound my brain from the "beginning of the a week that's really gonna suck just as much as the next two weeks after that" into thinking that today is actually Saturday, June 7th - the beginning of summer.
Here's some of what's on tap for the next few months, with all the requisite beer affiliations. Please let me know if there's anything I've carelessly omitted, any places you can recommend, etc., etc.!
* San Diego, late June - Ostensibly to introduce my daughter to Posiedon's henchman Shamu, it's a simple cover-up for my annual pilgrimage to the house of Tomme, Pizza Port in Solana Beach. Then we'll certainly make time to check out that stinky fish. After the stinky fish, I'll be ready to blend in with the (anticipated) crowd at the (anticipated) new Toronado in the picturesque 'hood of North Park.
* Flathead Lake, Montana, late July - I recently happened upon a column in New West where Montanan writer Bill Schneider is cataloging all the Big Sky breweries he can manage to visit. Montana was the first place that introduced me to both Fat Tire and Moose Drool in their pre-ubiquity days, so it holds a special place in my craft beer-lovin' heart. Granted, a visit to Flathead Lake Brewing (sorry we can't fill your growlers because we've run out of beer, again) was a grim reminder that not all craft beer is brewed equal, but Glacier Brewing in Polson had some promise. Now I just need to figure out how to launch an evening sortie across the pond to Tamarack Brewing for a little look-see-drink. Either that or I'm commandeering a plane to land on the strip at Lang Creek.
* The Poperinge Hop Festival, Belgium, mid-September - Admittedly, this is likely just a fantasy addition, one that I pencil into the calendar every three years. Personally, I'd like to think Mia would make an excellent satanic ladybug. If I can renegotiate my contract to get paid in Euros from now on, I think there's no holding us back this year.
Interspersed between those events like temporal palate cleansers will be beer. Lots of beer. There will be homebrewing and tastings and trips to great shops and even better bars and a brewery or two and maybe even some restaurants that serve food with their beer (including finally introducing Mia to the Tourist Club, pictured above). I've also got a summer resolution in place to reevaluate, rediscover, and hopefully re-enjoy some of the breweries that make up the great Western canon of craft beer, ones I've regretfully ignored over the past year or two in pursuit of what JJ has coined "novelty drinking" (better known in this house as "Benjamins for Belgians").
Lastly, there's plans in the works to put together an afternoon beer and food pairing in the City with an "American Wild Ale" theme, most likely in late July, date likely to be determined by our success in rounding up the proper bottle list. Let me know if you'd like to be updated on this inaugural Pfiff!-hosted event!
PS - The responses I've gotten to the last post have been truly cockle-warming. The point wasn't so much to massage my already corpulent, tender ego (that's currently the job of my daughter via her endless encore requests for "ABC" on the ukulele) but to discover what about this site was keeping you all around. Thanks for all the great feedback and kind comments!