The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Jeffrey Wiser, December 11, 2013

I’m a bomber kind of guy. 22 ounces is the perfect amount of beer. Plenty to get a good feel for the brew and enjoy the effects without going too far and remaining (relatively) functional. I’m also afraid of commitment when it comes to beer, which is the opposite of most other trends in my life. These days, with so many good beers out there, a six-pack is almost too much of the same for me.

Knowing this, prepare to enter my private hell.

Some friends of mine took a recent camping trip that was, honestly, the worst camping trip I’ve ever been on. We were set out to fly fish for steelhead on a river that is an old stomping ground but is a 10-hour drive from home. We arrived to find that the government shutdown (how quick we forget) had closed all campgrounds. Essentially, there was nowhere legal to stay and we had been planning the trip for 18 months, were loaded with provisions, had bought fishing licenses, and we’re super excited to hit the water and spend some time around the campfire.

So we did what anyone in that situation would do: we squatted.

We found a place that was somewhat hidden, was free of “No Trespassing” signs and set up shop. This was great, minus the no running water thing. Oh well, we made it work. That is, until a very nice man came and kicked us out.

My drinking plans were mainly focused on consuming scotch to pair with my cigars, so I admittedly skimped on the beer. I brought two 12-packs of PBR, expecting to be out in the woods for four and half days and sneak a can or two in my back pack to sip on throughout the day. 24 PBR’s seemed like plenty of ammo to have alongside my fifth of highlands scotch. As you’ve likely noticed, PBR is about as generic as it gets, but I didn’t buy it for the quality, I bought it for the quantity. Big mistake.

  • Appearance: a lot like your urine, which I consider to be a bad thing (2.5)
  • Smell: wheaty and sweet, but rather faint (2)
  • Taste: c'mon, really? You need to know what this tastes like? Ok, um, like water that's had a little beer poured into it (2)
  • Mouthfeel: thin and watery, lacks substance (2)
  • Overall: you get what you pay for (2)

We proceeded to get kicked off our (borrowed) land in short order and we had no choice but to head back for home. I had drank about four of my PBR’s by the time we left, meaning I carried 20 cans back home with me. When I stated above that a six-pack of quality beer is a burden, imagine having 20 cans of less than mediocre beer hanging over my head. As you can see, I’m still trying to dispose of it.

To maintain my sanity, I’ve sprinkled in a few good beers here and there. I’ve had a few Jubelales, tried a neat brew from Dogfish Head and paired my Thanksgiving feast with The Bruery’s excellent Saison Rue. I’m now down to the last three cans of PBR and I’m likely to celebrate when the final one is finished. While having all of this beer to drink hasn’t been horrible, it’s been pretty far from good.

And trust me, the gap between those adjectives is pretty wide. 

*Note: for those of you wondering how the fishing was, I give you the obligatory (poor) photo of the author with a quality steelhead caught on the fly.