Thursday, March 11, 2010

Saint Patrick

It was at somewhere in the second half of the 5th century when Saint Patrick died. 470 AD, maybe later, maybe sooner -- it's just not known. To be sure, though, it was a blast. Guinness fountains, Flogging Molly singalongs crooned in DiCaprio's Departed accent, Boondock Saints viewings, Bono without his glasses on reading Yeats, Joyce making 'chamber music' with assorteds. Whole tons of great stuff. Really. It's all on wikipedia. This was just a copy-paste.

In the spirit of Ireland's patron saint's day, we've compiled a little IRISH THEMED BEEROK to bolster the spirit. So it's all loric Irish wisdom and multitudinous Irish flavors from here on out for us: accept them, we say; swill them, get stupid on them.
First up: Finnegan's Wake by Jim Joyce (Penguin Classics, 16.80) and Whatever Shitty Terrible God-Hating Whiskey You Can Find. (Suggestions: Mohgul Monarch, Edradour Tokaji, Canadian Hunter, etc.) -- Now not just the enemy of viagra, we've actually found some some positive purpose for world's most awesome beverage. For once it doesn't involve firearms, chewing tobacco, or dead animals. Actually, its feat is that it's the only thing around that'll get drunk enough to get seriously involved with Joyce's nonsensical 'novel.' Can't Remember A Fucking Thing (C.R.A.F.T. Club)? Switters? White linen suits? Anyone? Try the pair only while blackout, says this redfaced beeroker. And if for some reason that's not working, then devote 50 years of your life to it.
Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Penguin, 12.00) and Harpoon Brewery's Celtic Ale (Boston, MA) -- A slimy, looping book -- and good for it too -- Doyle's most famous novel is written in a child's voice about his memories, his incidents, his changing world, and so on, beginning with a fire. In it, Paddy is funny, his thoughts are always poignant, and his tribulations, to our amusement and embarassment, are the same as ours once were. And yet his private world is also a brilliantly real and singular place, too as Doyle captures his homeland sweetly: accents, anxieties, all of it. Harpoon's Celtic works, I think, because despite its mild flavor (it is a drinking man's beer) it still does work on the palate. Tasty. Etc.

'The Sea' by John Banville (Vintage, 11.16) and Rogue's (Newport, OR) Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red -- Finally, John Banville's The Sea. It is a beautiful book. The story is predicable and yet the characters are not; how is it that that works? And prose. The prose is some of the best I've read. It rises and falls with consummate lyricism and explorative subleties. You will love it, guaranteed. As for what goes on: the novel introduces Max Morden, who is between two places, yet not totally lost in his life, as he copes with a number of painful traumas -- some recent, others ancient. To deal he goes to a seaside town where he spent a memorable holiday as a child. A novel ensues. THE BEER: Rogue hasn't always been my favorite purveyor of spirits, but recently I've had a few outstanding beers of theirs and changed my mind. St. Rogue Red was one of them. It's a feisty beer (just look at it!), but remains so so drinkable in comparison to other Red Ales of its caliber (and Red Ale is a traditional Irish beer); how is it that that works? Never shocking, always satisfying, St. Rogue Red evokes all the mysteries of its making without eschewing any quality or fundamental goodness.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER!: Edna O'Brien's Wild Decembers, JP Dunleavy's The Gingerman, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, anything by Beckett, Heaney or Yeats...etc. And as always SUGGEST YOUR OWN OR TRY THESE ONES OUT!

Um, yep, green shits, green piss, it's all coming.

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