As part of our mission here at Why Daddy Drinks to revel in the humorous lunacy that is fatherhood, and to promote the drinking of quality beverages, we bring you our weekly segment highlighting something that should be in your glass. This is The Drink Of The Weekend.
Summer is notable for many traditions. People take more vacations during the summer than at any time of the year, for instance. Yeah, the weather can be oppressively hot at times, especially if you live in the blast furnace of suburban Phoenix. And if you live in Florida…Well, why the hell are you making your home in a place with 1,000% humidity that has a manatee on its state license plates anyway? Even Lebron James could only take the Miami Heat’s millions and no state income tax for four years before fleeing back to Cleveland, of all places. Just leave Florida, now.
I live in Oakland, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s never going to be the Magic Kingdom.
We live in the shadows of snot-nosed elites of San Francisco, many of whom act like you’re asking them to drive to Kansas if you invite them over for dinner. Our potentially World Series-winning baseball team plays in a football stadium. The football team plays like it belongs in garbage dump. And the garbage dump costs $30.62 to throw away a bag of trash and is next to a gun range. Every year, Oakland manages to score a Top Five listing among the most-violent cities in America. And in a “This Could Only Happen In Florida”-style event we “elected” our current mayor through some insane process called “ranked choice voting”. How this worked was that the guy who got the most first-choice votes managed to lose to this woman who collected an assortment of people’s second-and-third choices on the last ballot. At least that’s how I think it happened. No one I know truly understands how this process worked. Honestly, it’s like we took some Florida Pills when it came to picking our city’s chief executive.
But, I have to give Oakland these props: Those amazing views of San Francisco that locals pay $1 million or more for? You get them in Oakland. And the weather is pretty damn nice, too. You never have to worry about shoveling your car out from a snowbank in winter, and it’s a Groundhog-Day like 75 degrees nearly every day of the summer.
Which makes it perfect for firing up the grill. And for drinking good beer while you cook out on your deck, like I do every weekend.
Sometimes, it’s simple enough just to throw a couple of hamburger patties on the barbecue for my wife and I. Then there are days when everyone wants something different, and I have also thawed out stuff and it’s either grill it or toss it out. And since I hate to waste food, and really don’t need an excuse to start a ninth-circle-of-hell cauldron of fire in my barbecue anyway, this past Saturday saw me filling the grill up to a point where you would have thought I was feeding the Seattle Seahawks Legion Of Boom secondary.
Two steaks, one ribeye and one filet. Five bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. A couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Three ears of sweet corn. And a bunch of sliced up pieces of onion and red bell pepper, too. There really was something for everyone.
As I usually do when I’m grilling, I took my iPad outside with me so I could watch something while my festival of barbecue cooked away. I must really be ready for football to start because I found myself watching a replay of the previous night’s Canadian Football League game between the B.C. Lions and the Calgary Stampeders on ESPN’s mobile app. The Seattle Seahawks season will start soon enough, but beggars can’t be choosy, and it was still football, even with 12 men on a side. All I needed was something to drink to make the evening complete.
And as is almost always the case when I’m working the grill, I went for beer. Sorry, Coors Light has no place on my palate. I needed something respectable, something with some kick to it. I needed an IPA.
Being the most-American American I know, I started with previous Drink Of The Weekend selection Brew Free Or Die IPA [7.0% ABV] from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewing Co. There is nothing at all wrong with Brew Free Or Die; hell, it even has a Mt. Rushmore image of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln on the can. America? Goddamn right, AMERICA!
But, after I finished one can, I wasn’t done grilling. And I wasn’t done drinking some good beer, either. I decided to mix it up and went into my stash of beers that I trafficked back from Tacoma on our recent summer trip to where I grew up.
I ended up going with a 22-oz. bottle from the Pride of Tacoma, Harmon Brewing Co’.s Rajah’s Royal IPA. I had never had the Rajah Royal IPA and, since I probably won’t make it back to Tacoma until next summer, it will be that long until I have it again. That’s the problem with these beers that are only brewed and sold in a specific region. Once you drink up the one bottle you have, you’re out of luck as far as finding some more at your local 7-Eleven.
But anyway…It was worth it. I have to say that as much as I like the Brew Free Or Die IPA, the Rajah Royal and it’s 7.6% ABV was enough to knock the four presidents off of Mt. Rushmore itself. Five different hops are brought together to make an IPA that the British High Commissioner back in colonial India would have been proud of. It’s the best IPA I’ve had since discovering Airways Brewing’s Sky Hag IPA a year ago.
I had to wait a year to get back to Tacoma to get some of that Sky Hag. Rajah’s Royal was so good that the more I think about it, a trip to Tacoma for a case of it might have to come sooner than next summer.