7.6% ABV from a brown-bagged bottle
Ah, the “road soda.” Beer for the drunk on-the-go. Wrap that sucker in a paper bag and all of the sudden it’s invisible to the world and you’re not culpable. What was that Bunny Colvin said on Season 3 of The Wire, “There’s never been a paper bag for drugs. Until now.” He was referring to his creation of an ad hoc drug-selling zone malapropriously nicknamed “Hamsterdam” in which street thugs were free to sling rock without any consequences from Baltimore’s po-lease. Of course, this is a brilliant plan and all sorts of major crimes plummet in Baltimore. Nevertheless, and as expected, the stupid city government doesn’t actually care about improving the city but, rather, in lording over people, so they force Bunny to retire and put an end to the Hamsterdam experiment. Soon Baltimore is back to the its status quo shithole existence.
Luckily, with rare exception and despite Mayor Bloomberg’s occasionally terrible ideas, New York refuses to be a nanny state. In a way, New York City is a more upscale Hamsterdam. Crimes that don’t harm other people–smoking weed, drinking in public, jaywalking, not wearing helmets, pissing on bums, fucking hookers, getting an Asian rub ‘n’ tug–are de facto legal here as police and the government turn the other cheek. And rightly so. I’m a grown man, why should I feel like I’m committing a crime by simply sipping a beer as I stroll down the street on a relaxing Saturday night?
Is there any dumber, more draconian law in America than it being illegal to publicly drink? Is there any other law that more shows how out of touch politicians are in thinking they can rule us with a mighty iron fist while attempting to make the world a better place (ha ha) than by not allowing a 29-year-old man to calmly sip a drink on a street corner? Yeah, probably. But not being allowed to publicly drink irks me a whole lot more than having to wear a seatbelt in the front seat of a car.
We dined at the decent RUB on Saturday night and afterward we wanted to hit the revamped Frying Pan, an old boat docked in the Hudson near Chelsea where you can get drunk on terrible, terribly overpriced, and terribly small beers while ogling prudish bitches on Girls Night Outs or simply while absentmindedly staring across the river wondering if you could ever truly handle commuting from Jersey (so close, but yet…so far!).
Even though RUB is on 7th Avenue, the hike all the way to the complete westside of the island is remarkably long and pretty much only accessible by foot. We would need a road soda to sate us on our voyage. We hopped into the nearby Whole Foods to grab a pop. My drinking buddy, a public tippling neophyte and a very straight-laced and honorable citizen, was a bit scared about boozing on the sidewalks of Manhattan. He has a wife and a good job and I think fears of ending up in the Sing Sing slammer and losing it all waltzed through his mind. I assuaged his fears that nothing would happen, but I don’t think he was truly at ease until we passed through the Chelsea Projects en route and saw pretty much every single building resident outside BBQing and getting loaded* as cops nearby on horseback just monitored the scene. Not concerned by any means, not trying to stop the technically “illegal” fun, just making sure everything was cool, like they were at a parade or something.
I must admit that most of the projects denizens were getting shit-canned on cheap malt liquors, while I selected a yuppified California microbrew I’d been wanting to try every since I first saw it on the shelf. Perhaps not the most thematically appropriately beer to brown bag, but I’m not gonna slum it just for accuracy’s sake. The Sirius was creamy, though not so creamy that it tasted like anything other than a normal ale. Pretty hoppy I guess, with a decent finish. I was shocked as just seconds ago I looked up the ABV of this. Boy is it masked well. I would have guessed this to be in the 4.8 to 5.2% range or so as it had absolutely no bite. Decent and I’d have it some more if it was handed to me at a party or orgy, but I doubt I’ll ever buy it again. It’s kinda boring and unremarkable but it did get the job done for the 15 minute voyage. Then again, it’s hard to fully analyze a beer while you’re walking over bums on an overly dark 24th street trying to reach your destination.
*Yo, don’t accuse me of racism with my seemingly stereotypical observation. Projects life looks awesome. I WISH I could score an invite to a PJs BBQ: booze, ribs, weed, lasciviously dressed women, dominoes, and hoops. Sign. Me. Up.