Archive for September, 2008
Last night’s game was my last regular-season game of the year. I hope it won’t be my last game whatsoever of the year! It was an exciting game—but only for four innings. Brett Myers pitched poorly from the start, and the Phillies were lucky to give up only three runs through the first four innings. In fact, Myers—late of the minor leagues, where he surely belongs and will inevitably return next season—gave up an incredible 10 hits in four-and-a-third innings. Still, after four, the Braves and Phillies were tied, 3-3.
The fifth inning was the undoing of Myers and the Phillies. Myers walked one of the Braves and gave up a double to another, prompting manager Charlie Manuel to go to the bullpen. Soon enough, reliever Scott Eyre was giving up a three-run homer to Chipper Jones, the next holder of the League’s batting title. (Jones, still suffering from shoulder problems, didn’t come into the game until the fifth inning. To have a shoulder injury and be so powerful! He’s amazing, darn it.)
The Braves scored six runs in the decisive fifth inning, and the game was effectively over. The final score: 10-4.
After the top of the fifth, my attention—and the attention of 40,000 other Phillies fans—immediately turned to the scoreboard. We watched as the Mets squandered a grand slam by Carlos Delgado and then managed to lose the game altogether in the tenth inning.
It would be better, of course, if the Phillies—who held onto a one-and-a-half game lead over the Mets—forcefully took the Division title. But we’re not too proud to have the Mets hand the title to us, believe me.
Having neglected my all-important beer education for most of the summer, I knew I had to attend last night’s beer class by Tom Peters—the renowned owner of Monk’s Cafe, the premiere Belgian-beer destination in Philly (which is really saying something in this Belgium-crazy city)—at Tria Fermentation School. Peters wanted to show off sour flavors, and he brought nine examples. I’d tried four or five of them before, but it was still a real pleasure to be able to easily compare and contrast so many sour ales.
Of the nine, I’d say the biggest revelations were the Goudenband from Brouwerij Liefmans and Russian River’s Supplication. I hadn’t heard good things about Liefmans previously, but the Goudenband, a classic Belgian brown ale, was absolutely delightful. The “sweetest” beer of the evening, it was still sour enough and offered up some interesting wine and cherry notes. I’d have to describe the Supplication with similar terms—in that it’s made with sour cherries and aged in pinot noir barrels—but it struck me as a lot more wine-like than the Goudenband. Sour and delicious, that’s for sure.
On my next pilgrimage to The Beeryard in Wayne, the beer distributor of my dreams, I may be bringing a case of the Goudenband home with me. The Supplication isn’t generally available west of the Mississippi River, but I believe it can be had in the Philly area, too. Those crazy West Coast brewers have realized what a market we have here….
Of the beers I knew already last night, my favorites were the Cantillon Gueuze and Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen’s Kriek. The Cantillon is one of those beers I’d put on my desert-island list (i.e., what five beers will you take with you to the desert island along with the sexy, athletic nymphomaniac?). I liked the Kriek from 3 Fonteinen much better than I did a few months ago when the brewery’s Armand Debelder was in town for Philly Beer Week.
So I enjoyed myself last night. I have to say, though, that I’m sometimes a little bit uncomfortable with the way that beer snobs (and I say this with love, as a bona fide beer snob myself) fetishize some flavors, like sours, over others. I like sour flavors as much as anyone, but it ain’t heroic of me. If you listened to some of my classmates last night, you’d think that only the most gauche beer drinker in the world would enjoy sweet flavors. Well, hmph. Different types of flavors are just different types of flavors. Can’t we enjoy sour flavors, bitter flavors, and—hey—even sweet flavors sometimes, too?
P.S. I really enjoyed one of the cheeses provided by Tria last night—Beehive Cheese Company‘s Barely Buzzed, a cheddar cheese made nearly irresistible with a coffee rub. Put some of that in my fridge, ok?
I’m no poet, as you’ll soon see, but my last post—which mentioned the decline in firefly populations—caused me to remember a poem I’d written in grad school. And when I finally located the old folder with my grad school-era poems, I found two poems mentioning fireflies. (These were probably written in 1990 and 1991.)
Letter to My Sister
It is humid here, and hot.
At dusk, I sit on my balcony
to feel the occasional breeze.
I let my bare legs hang over the edge,
despite (my fear of) the height.
As it gets darker,
I bring out a Mexican beer or a Coke
to accompany the folk music
on my portable radio.
Every night, I sit
and await the shade of night
that best shows off the lightning bugs.
The fireflies make me think back
to Grandma Vera’s house,
where kin from far off would come
and gather near the front porch.
The kids from back east (or out west),
where there are apparently no lightning bugs,
would try to catch them in jars
to take back home.
having moved a thousand miles from you
and often feeling very lonely,
do I really appreciate the lightning bugs.
They connect this place to home,
and to you.
From the balcony,
I realize there are
fireflies. There haven’t been
It is too hot.
In four weeks,
I will be moving away
from this place and
from this balcony.
I do not even know
where I’m going.
But I know
I will never
know the fireflies
© 2008 Rivers Are Damp