A Timely Post Regarding Airing of Grievances

J.R. Shirt, January 07, 2016

I realize Festivus was weeks ago, and I meant to write this back then, but with two kids, wrapping presents, baking cookies, and nonstop holiday travel to visit family, I did not get much past jotting down a few notes on a legal pad.

Even more egregious, I've been planning this post since late April of 2015. That's when I drank Airing of Grievances, the Russian Imperial Stout by Une Année, a Belgian inspired brewery in Chicago. Back then I thought, “Ooooooh, I like this beer, I like the name, I like Seinfeld, I have grievances, I should write about this.”

I took out the small, faux-leather journal Wife got me for Christmas 2014, took down some tasting notes, and promptly back-burnered the idea. Two weeks later, Child No. 2 arrived and production at the Beer On My Shirt offices dramatically declined. Ideas on the back burner coagulated into a fudge-like substance and the front burners just never seemed to get turned on with any regularity.

To be clear, “front burners” is not a sexual metaphor, although I'm sure if you have two or more kids you might be able to draw some parallels.

This segues nicely into my grievances, some of which (read: all), are Wife-related, mostly because she is the only adult person I see with any regularity. Also, she has good sense of humor. Also, I told her I was doing this a few weeks prior to Festivus. So, either she has been waiting patiently to read this or has forgotten about it entirely.

This month marks 9 years of Wife and I living together. It would seem more momentous if I had said 10 years, but that would be a lie and I want this post to be nothing but the truth. Regardless, it is only after 9 wonderful years of blissfully collecting empirical evidence that I am confident I can present the following grievances with impunity:

I can say with a high degree of certainty that Wife has little understanding of how a dishwasher actually works. That, or she holds little regard for maximizing its effectiveness. Lucky for me, this does not dissuade her from using the appliance, but the decisions she makes while loading it are completely mind boggling. I'm curious what non-Euclidean geometry she is assuming is at work once that door is shut. Curious in the way one might be curious about what being stabbed feels like.

Let's remain in the kitchen for another moment while we discuss Wife's love of bagels. So deep is her love of the these boiled and baked rings of dough, that rarely a day goes by that she doesn't slice one open as part of her morning routine. However, what does not seem to be part of her morning routine is cleaning up the resulting crumbs. Whether on a cutting board or over the counter in front of the toaster oven, crumbs abound!

“Crumbs abound!” I say, during another feeble attempt to clean up the countertop.

“Where?” Wife says. “Show me the crumbs! I do not see any crumbs!”

“There are crumbs!” I say. “Big crumbs, little crumbs!”

“There are no big crumbs,” she says, “there are no little crumbs, there are only crumbs!”

“Exactly!” I say.

“Well, I don't see them.”

And that's it. She doesn't see them. They don't exist. Some people see spiders crawling all over their body. I see bagel crumbs all over the kitchen counter. Apparently, that is my psychosis. And I live with it every day.

Moving on to bathroom grievances, how is it that a woman as intelligent and wonderful as my Wife can be completely incapable of positioning the shower curtain in such a way that the water stays in the shower (and not all over the bathroom floor)? What does she do in there that causes such a deluge on a near daily basis?

And don't say “shave her legs”, just don't go there. I do all kinds of strange stuff in there, too, with similar positions, and manage not to produce the Great Flood of 1927.

Listen, I get it, everybody breaks a levee now and again, and by no means am I trying to insinuate that I am better than my spouse because I keep the bathroom floor dry. Because I am not. She is clearly the better half. It's not close. But I swear to you, the next time I find myself at a dinner party and someone brings up mysteries, either of the literary or unsolved television variety, I am sure as hell going to bring up the case of Wife and The Shower Curtain and nobody is leaving until we figure it out.

Okay, one last grievance, and then I'll tell you about Une Année's Airing of Grievances, I promise.

Let's go back to the kitchen for just a moment: What the shit is with all these Tupperware and Pyrex lids! Not a single one matches any of our containers. Is this what happens at these Tupperware parties? Are the free gifts just random lids?

Sometimes before I open the cabinet that houses all the lids, I close my eyes and say a short prayer that I will find a lid that fits, or that when I open the cabinet, may it be filled with 100 striking cobras and the expectation that I put away the leftovers will be drastically reduced.

Airing of Grievances (2014), Une Année Brewery

Appearance = 4.25/5

Dark, dark brown. Two, maybe three, fingers off the pour of very light, tan head. Pour looks thin for a Russian Imperial Stout. Really nice lacing down the glass.

Smell = 3.5/5

Slightly sweet, but mostly a roasted aroma. Some coffee and hints of chocolate and smaller hints of something like fruity toffee.

Taste = 3.5/5

Less sweet than the initial impression from the aroma. Nicely bitter from the dark, roasted malt flavors. Dark chocolate with a fruit sweetness – but in a nice way. Perhaps the flavors are a little thin or too subtle for the style.

Feel = 4.25/5

Great semi-dry feel, on the lighter end of the spectrum for the style, but the drink-ability and feel of it really is the most interesting aspect. It lets some of those subtle, yeasty flavors really shine.

Overall = 3.75/5

The ester sweetness does start build just a bit but the dryness and roasted bitterness makes it okay. The high ABV (10.6%) doesn't start to seem real until that sweetness creeps up to a certain level as you work towards the bottom of the glass. An interesting beer that I wanted to love because of the name but couldn't get there. 

Follow JR Shirt on Twitter and Untappd @beeronmyshirt. Many thanks to the fine folks of @beertasteslike for facilitating this beer being in my fridge back in April of 2015