I suppose I must be in a moderate mood tonight, because, in the midst of my month as a Republican, I feel like writing about something so uniting, so inspirationally nonpartisan that I almost want to go find a liberal to hug.
I'm talking about beer, of course.
Now, ever since my parents let me start having a beer or two with dinner (age 13 or so), I've had an affinity for that special fermented blend of malted grain, yeast and hops. Sure, I love a martini from time to time, and my travels in France certainly gave me an appreciation for wine. Naturally, I'll drain a bottle of cough syrup when I get desperate, but, given a choice, I'm usually reaching into the fridge for a ice-cold bottle of beer.
That said, not all beers are created equal. I learned that almost 11 years ago when I traveled to Austria for a study abroad program. Already looking forward to an endlessly flowing stream of world-class beer, my friend Brad, a grizzled veteran of one Austrian study abroad campaign, revealed my ignorance. Just wait, he said, until you try Edelweiss.
I cringed, remembering a terrible experience I had when I was 16. Not interested, I politely informed him, but Brad was persistent. I only became mildly intrigued when he told me that Edelweiss was more than a high altitude flower; it was his favorite brand of Hefeweizen.
Hefe who? A quick German lesson revealed that Hefe means yeast and Weizen is wheat. Hefeweizen is an unfiltered wheat beer that has a cloudy appearance and a distinctive, almost fruity flavor. Well, that sounded reasonable enough for me. Why not give it a whirl?
I was not led astray.
From the very first sip I was hooked. In that moment the sky seemed to open up. White light pierced the heavens. Golden trumpets sounded, clarion calls heralding a procession of cherubs, naked and wielding wheat beer-filled cornucopias.
For 1o weeks I got while the gettin' was good, but back Stateside I've yet to find its equal. Not that I haven't tried, mind you. Verily I have risked the health of my liver and kidneys, sacrificed billions of brain cells, even had run-ins with the law and, once, a fellow named "Twist."
I realize now that my quest was too narrow minded, too framed within the context of an exhilarating first trip to Europe. I should not have been seeking Edelweiss' match all this time, for the holy grail has no rival. So, I'm starting anew, sampling great beers from around the globe, and I'm doing it for you, McBoners. I'll be rating them all for posterity--ales, stouts and lagers, a beer journal of sorts. No beers shall be excluded, except the perversion of low-carb varieties.
Ratings shall be based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to: taste, aroma, color, head, price and label. All factors will be tabulated in the supercomputer that is my brain and presented in the simple but highly accurate McBone Optimized Rating Format, or McBORF for short.
I'm not expecting to find another Edelweiss this time, but maybe, just maybe, I'll stumble upon that Twist guy again.