Ah! those darkish wintry days La 4J of yeah yeah oh yeah! the Yorkshire pudding! the stuffing & sweet tater! tuna en casserole! corn niblets w / margarine! goosenberry Pop-Tarts! hot steamy mugs of hot buttered port! a bird! a bird! plucked of earthly feathers and roasted, its liver and gizzard braised in raisins and cel’ry, chestnuts and secret ingredes! decaf and kiwi fruit sherbet! pretzels and sherry! a feed! a feast! on dotted lines of holiday festivacity and etc!
Well skip it. Jack. You want such hogwaller, don’t come to US. We Meltzers have BEER at our gatherings. Beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer beer. And pizza.
Hate to seem like Sea World, but as always there’s a “theme” to our beering. Last year it was Belgian beer; the year before, New Zealand.
In 1958 (what a year!): the ales and stouts of Connecticut, all of which went belly up in the serial brewery fires (arsonist still at large) of May to Aug. ’63. This year, by popular vote, the honor falls to the fine export brews of Mexico.
From here, from there, from everywhere they come: Meltzers. My half-brother Unc from Saginaw. Sister Woona from Tarp, PA. Sonsdaughters E.Z., Aphida, Zane and Pluz from Duluth, Dubuque, Sioux City and New York, New York — the fabled Apple! — with spouses LuAnne, Ju-Boy, Osco and Beets. Grandchildren Ulf, Johann, Sess, Fuffy, VulVo, Porcelain and Groucha. Niece-nephews Bix, Beph, Jordano, Salada (the family “slut”), Uha, Digby and Pants. Cousins Bib, Peony, Theck, Beluga, Toetoe (a great plumber), Calico and Thubb. Plus assorted in-laws and shit.
And for the first time as a member in good standing—from out of the shadows! — now that my dear wife Cora has gone to her, ahem, reward: my longtime mistress Actress Irene Forrest. (Had to sneak her in — as “maid” — until this year.)
Not present: grandson Upto, whose dad last month shot my least favorite daughter, Eff, along with siblings Wug, Seabase, Buzzbo and Floonce. Upto, off at med school (the Univ. of Oslo), is to be excused for “avoiding family” this yuletide, but he did send his best: “Have one on me.” We will, Upto, we will.
“Meltzer,” by the by, is Middle Norwegian for consumer and ingester of bottled lager or pilsener product— we didn’t ask for it, none of us did. It is simply our Heritage, however these things happen, and precedes us, so to speak. (Did you know that “Clinton” is Olde English for he who farts in theatres during the wet season?) Okay!!
Okay: the presentation of the Categories. To be followed, in short order or long, by Research and Report. We Meltzers don’t just drink our beer — we live it. Or try to. (To the best of our ’bilities.) Zane, Ju-Boy and Thubb of this year’s Categories Committee — they’ve been at this for weeks — have got the list for us. Okay, fellas, present ’em.
1. Beer for watching sports. We get this every year, it’s gotten old. At least this time Fuffy has brought along his cache of sumo tapes. “Akebono versus Wakanohana, Kyushu Basho — a honey of a match.” Swell. So grab a couple 6-packs, take Sess and Porcelain out to the tool shed. (TV does not belong in a house.)
- Beer for cooking. That’s a new one; any takers? How ’bout Aphida (formerly married to James Beard)? Uha (enrolled at the Food Inst, of Del Mar)? Great, great...here’s a 6 of Negra Modelo...see what youse two can dish up.
- Beer for family fun. Whatever in hell that is. Hey, I’m only the patriarch here. Nobody wants to tackle this? Good — let’s drop it.
4.Beer for driving. A natural. We’ll all try our hand at it in due time, I reckon.
5.Beer for sobriety. Talk about fads! A good idea tho: weed out those beers so bad you won’t wanna drink ’em. A battery of Cousins led by Beluga quickly determines NONE APPLY.
- Beer for reading. “Me me me!” shout LuAnne and Vulvo, who disappear into upstairs bedrooms with War and Peace, The Soft Machine and sixers of Chihuahua and Superior.
- Beer for writing. Anyone for prose? Poetry? Pants swaggers forward, chugs a Dos Equis, tosses off a free-associational gem:
Corn hops malt barley rice wheat sand
molasses buttermilk blood bran flan flying
down to Rio
Rio by the sea-o;
in my hand is an axe
and I axe you once, twice:
“Who is Doggy Julian?”
- Beer for cardmaking. Make that beer and cardmaking — beer theme Xmas cards—and let’s give it to little Johann, still too young to personally partake of the stuff (our cutoff age this year is 7-1/2).
9. Beer for ideas. I’ll take that myself. A slug, two slugs—three four five—of Noche Bueno and I’m set...here ’tis. The solution to all the world’s ills, the first big giant step anyway, is to limit all TV commercials to a thousand dollars total production expense — strictly enforced. So nobody can sell you nothing you don’t want, don’t need, and “consumption” would not seem in and of itself so appealing. Nothing, not Cadillac, not Nike, not Diet Coke, would look ? any better than dogpoop at 4 AM on UHF — “Buy or rent a multipurpose folding ladder” — or the Home Shopping Network. A thousand bucks including actors, script, camera work, transportation, everything. It’s a felony if you go over (9 yrs. in federal pen).
- Beer for beer sake. A/k/a beer for drinking. Perhaps the most important of Categories. So important that we record all pertinent activities — the comparison tests, the Research, the analyzations and testimonials — dialogue a la Meltz — for multiple days if nec. (“the 7 days of Xmas” — or as long as the beer holds out). To be made available to bonafide beer societies FREE OF CHARGE. Beer inquiry at its very best — leave it to the Meltzers.
To the sofa by the tree! — get those camcorders rollin’ — let’s drink!!
DOS EQUIS, DOS EQ-UIS SPECIAL LAGER
OSCO: Having had a Dos Equis Special Lager and a regular in not too many minutes, I feel like they both must go down pretty easy.
PLUZ: Actually, though, they’ve gotten to be almost the same beer. I remember that when I was first drinking Dos Equis it used to be a bitter, dark beer. And there wasn’t any of this pale lager stuff. And now they’re almost the same, I don’t even know why they have them in a brown and a green bottle — they’re the same beer now.
O: Fuck ’em.
O: Corona is smooth, as always.
P: Well, it’s consistent these days. ’Cause I remember when Corona was first imported, you could get good Corona and bad Corona. Now they make so much of it it’s all mediocre Corona. Corona is Mexican Budweiser.
O: I think if you drink Corona after something else, like the way there’s something maybe, well, not exactly caustic about the taste even though it’s smooth, you don’t pick that up when you’re drinking it after something else. ’Cause you already have an approximation of that taste in your mouth from the other beers.
P: The alleged piss taste.
O: So it’s like a very smooth follow-up to heavier Mexican beers.
P: Not that Dos Equis is really heavy anymore.
P: I find it so far the most satisfying we’ve had.
O: It has its own being, its own essence. It has a kind of low-key light kind of sensibility that isn’t vis-a-vis anything else, it’s unto itself.
P: It’s a fullness, and it has a little point at the end of the taste, a kind of very quick finish, a quick decay.
O: It has a sweetness that doesn’t make you sick. I mean compared to any of the lightish beers in the world, it’s one of the good ones.
P: Yeah. It’s one I will often order in a restaurant when I just want, y’know, I don’t wanna be surprised, I just want solid beer.
O: In 1972, I was in L.A. to write a story on Jackson Browne for Rolling Stone, and I ended up at Lucy’s El Adobe with him and Warren Zevon, and they ordered Carta Blancas and I ordered a Dos Equis. And they looked at me funny — “Why don’t you try one of these?” No thanks. And I was just happy I could pronounce Dos Equis and order it, y’know, but “Oh, you’ll be sorry.”
P: When the Damned first came to Los Angeles Slash wrote about them, they went up to their hotel room and interviewed them. And it was very properly transliterated so that you got, like they’re sitting in bed drinking beers and Kickboy is talking to them and Dave Vanian or somebody says, “Oh — that — that DOSS ECKWISS — that’s proper piss.” And from then on I’ve always thought of “proper piss” when I’ve thought of Dos Equis, because I never knew whether in an English context that meant the beer was good or bad.
P: Unlike some people, I really do think the aluminum version of Tecate is better than the old steel version, which had that acridness, although there was a nice solidity to the can that made it almost seem like putting the lime on top was a good idea, but to me that was just an attempt to disguise the fact that the beer really tasted crappy. And I think they must’ve changed the beer too, because this beer is not bad.
O: It doesn’t taste as corrosive.
P: No, and that’s what comes from the can, I think, to a large extent.
O: Aluminum is supposed to be one of the causes of Alzheimer’s — so why not get it from beer?
P: I feel I’m getting all kinds of different things from beer — and grateful for them.
O: Tecate in the bottle tastes more intense.
P: Intense is relative. I think it tastes sudsier in the bottle, and smoother. I think I could drink more of it.
O: When I say the bottle seems more intense, there’s something nonmetallically intense that doesn’t seem to be a function of suds, but the liquid itself seems to have more bite to it, somehow.
P: See, I get the exact opposite impression. I get more bite from the canned version, and just a more pleasant aftertaste from the bottle.
O: Well, okay, here’s what I would say. That Tecate in the can has aftertaste as primary taste. I mean you’re already tasting something unwelcome immediately.
P: And then it hangs on. But you get more complexity from the bottled version. Probably because it’s not masked by the, uh — now I can’t remember which one I had first.
O: When I say more intense, I think it functions as beer without any of the taste shit in the way of its beerness.
P: It has more body.
P: Just like a blow to the body from a medium-range puncher with short arms. If he can get close enough to you that he can make you feel it.
O: Rocky Marciano with the bottle, Rocky Graziano with the can.
P: I think Bohemia is a damn good finishing beer, because it cuts through, it has an edge, it has a little bitterness, it has substantial body. I’ve sometimes ordered it with a meal, but it’s wasted on a meal, really. Bohemia is good for like a small cup of something, because it has a lot of variety, complexity, bite and stuff like that. It’s good for one bottle by itself, I don’t think you should buy a six-pack of Bohemia. I think you should drink it one bottle at a time. That’s not to say it’s better or worse as a utilitarian beer — Carta Blanca is better. With a meal of medium to large size, I would say don’t go to a second bottle of Bohemia. As a matter of fact, I would say Carta Blanca or Corona for your first beer while you’re eating, and as a second beer after you’re just about through have a Bohemia to round things out.
JORDANO: There’s a kind of lemony afterburst, or afterburp — afterbirth? And today it’s clear, but not always. I’ve sometimes had it and found it to have universes of debris in it. Or at least solar systems.
THECK: Well, isn’t the sun the source of all matter?
J: There are other puns I guess, but who’s got time? I’d say as a beer it’s okay, a B-minus. Could be a lot better, and also a lot worse. It doesn’t stack up against Dos Equis, which has a fuller taste, but they brew this too, so I guess they have a different clientele in mind. I know beeroholics who swear by it. It does seem less toxic than it used to be, or used to seem.
T: To me it’s a better lightish beer than a lot of ’em. I’m observing this while we’re drinking it by itself, though. I don’t know how it would fare in a head-to-head with Corona, say, or Carta Blanca.
J: What I’d like to see is a list of ingredients. You know the biggest lobby currently in Washington is the one whose job it is to keep ingredients off the beer labels. They’ve done a pretty good job, wouldn’t you say? Imagine if ice cream or canned mushroom soup were exempt from having to list it.
T: I think it tastes a little leathery, y’know somewhere towards the back of the mouth.
J: You mean like a shoe?
T: No, lighter than that. Like a tan car coat, say, as opposed to a black or a broWn motorcycle jacket. And if it’s shoes, more like soft deerskin. Or a glove. I wonder if it’s any of the same chemicals as tanning.
WOONA (sips, spits out): Junk. Ugh. Absolute junk.
E.Z.: How is it junk?
W: Awful. Junk is awful. Terrible. It’s lingering on my tongue.
E: But what’s the actual taste?
W: I don’t know. A total waste. Is that what beer tastes like?
E: How does it smell?
W: I can’t even smell it. It has no smell.
E: Unc, what would you say?
Unc (sniffing — can’t drink — he’s got the Parkinson’s): No! No! (He cries uncontrollably.)
CORONA (12 OZ.), CORONITA (7 OZ.)
VULVO: Well, they both look the same.
GROUCHA: Smell the same.
V: Same fast-dispersing head.
G: But do they taste the same?
V: They sort of do, but do they do?
G: They continue to, but as I continue drinking from the glass they seem to now look different in the bottle. Although it could just be the amount of blue in the label of the larger one, the Corona, makes the beer look darker.
V: And you know? Corona really seems to taste less delicious and delightful than it used to taste.
G: A more noticeable bitter element?
V: Biting as opposed to a bite?
G: Maybe they should bring back the piss. Only kidding.
V: Oh, it’s fine — what the hey.
NEXT MORNING, WARM
V: Great, just great.
G: Goes down easy easy easy.
V: The elixir of the gods — as it were.
BIX: It sort of has nothing.
BIB: Tastes like good American bad beer.
BIX: It tastes less like beer than any other light beer I’ve had, including Coors Light.
BIB: You know, this is actually the first light
beer I’ve had. Whenever I see “low calorie,” “no cholesterol,” “light,” I’m like Goebbels when he hears the word “culture” — I reach for my gun, I run in the opposite direction. So this is my first experience, and it’s certainly not as good as Heineken, which isn’t the worst thing, probably, to not be.
BEPH: I don’t think it’s completely terrible for light beer, but it’s one of those — it just tastes like a generic, modern, synthetic, imitation beer. They should call it imitation beer food.
BIB: Beerlike beverage.
BEPH: Beer with plastic overtones in the aftertaste.
BIX: The aftertaste of it is not beerlike.
BEPH: Exactly. And the head is a total giveaway, right, that it’s gonna be one of those fake beers.
’Cause it’s got billions of very uniformsized, tiny, y’know, like injected bubbles.
Not like bubbles that occur naturally in real beer.
wouldn’t wanna call it suds.
SALADA: It tastes like flat beer. From the bottle, already flat. Got some salt? (Adds salt.) Now that’s a head. (Drinks.) Tastes like salty flat beer! Like if you’re at the beach, in the ocean, and it gets in the can. But it would have to be sitting out there a long time first to get this flat.
BIB: I think it’s, well, okay — I don’t know if it’s light, I don’t know if it’s unlight, I have no idea — but it’s not as bad as Tecate Light. Should it be?
BIX: How could it be? (Shows him label.)
BIB: So I was right — it’s a decent beer.
BEPH: The bubbles are not all the same size, so this is probably in the vat for a week and not a day. (Drinks.) That’s beer — I could drink that. It’s, well, it’s very thin. It’s almost beer. A sincere attempt at a Heineken or a Becks style beer that’s only okay — it’s drinkable. It would be moderately thirst-quenching. It’s not offensive. And I do like the label, the little red mountain and the lightning bolt with the anchor — I assume these are beer ingredients behind the life preserver. I’m not sure what the origin — a German sailor might’ve been involved with the company a long time ago.
DIGBY: The first sip tastes like a dark beer. Now it just tastes like beer. It isn’t that dark. ZANE: They call it dark ale.
D: It isn’t anything like a dark ale. It’s a pretty light dark beer.
LUANNE: It evaporates faster than most dark beers. The taste doesn’t linger, doesn’t have the heaviness or the lingering flavorness of dark. It has a little bit of bite to start with, and then the flavor just evaporates — you forget about it.
Z: Yeah. Having sipped it for the last half-hour, from one moment to the next I can’t remember it. It passes very quickly — like a marijuana time-distortion thing. Where’d it go?
L: I get the impression that you wouldn’t intentionally choose to stay with it through time, you’d just move on to the next kind of beer — something you could build a relationship with.
Z: You could drink it by the shot.
L: The shot would be good. In terms of head, though, it’s a typical dark beer. It’s Guinness-like in the quick disappearance of head.
D: On second thought, it tastes like tomato juice.
UHA & APHIDA’S NEGRA MODELO BLACK BEAN SOUP
1/2 lb. black beans, soaked overnight
4 tbs. olive oil
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 or 5 Italian plum tomatoes, peeled,
2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. pasilla chili powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 bottle Negra Modelo
2 qts. water or chicken stock
2 tbs. minced cilantro
salt to taste
Saute onions, jalapeno pepper and garlic for a minute or two in oil. Add chili powder, cumin and cayenne, and saute for another few seconds (don’t burn spices). Add tomatoes and mash them into the mixture. Cook another minute or two. Add beer and stock and bring to a boil. Drain beans and add them to pot. Add 1 tb. of cilantro (reserve other tb. for garnish). Cook at a low boil for as long as it takes for beans to get tender. Time will vary from 1 -1/2 to 3 hours depending on the beans. Remove 1 cup of tender beans and run them through a food processor together with some liquid from the pot. Return the puree to pot and blend (this gives some body to the soup). Taste for seasoning (don’t add salt until end of cooking process or beans will be tough). Garnish with cilantro and more red onion, tomato and/or avocado if desired. Serves 4-6.
PACIFICO CLARA, CARTA BLANCA
RICHARD (myself): You seem to prefer Pacifico Clara to Carta Blanca. Why is that?
ACTRESS IRENE FORREST: I have a feeling that it was a predetermined prejudice. First of all, it has a better label, it’s got yellow and red — it’s nice. It feels more foreign, it looks more exotic. And look at the curvature of the bottle — everything about it is more appealing. But I don’t mind Carta Blanca, I don’t mind it at all — I think it’s just ordinary ’cause I have it all the time. Can I tell you the truth? I forget what they both taste like. Let me taste the Pacifico again...mmm. It’s very satisfying. It has that good wheaty taste. Or peaty I think they call it. Let me taste the other one...I still prefer Pacifico. It has a much more pungent smack. Carta Blanca is fine — if push came to shove, I could drink either. You know what...mmm...the Carta Blanca’s sweeter. I tend to like sweet, but I’d still go with Pacifico — it’s more tangy. The truth is, I get very affected by beer, so after a while it doesn’t matter what they taste like. That’s a side of beer, don’t you think, how it affects you? If your body can respond to it without too much trouble, 1 think that’s quite good.
BOTH BEERS MIXED IN ONE GLASS
I: It’s not a good idea to mix them, you never know what the chemical reaction of one beer on the other might be. But drinking the mixture this time seems fine. It’s not as good as each beer singly — it does dilute the taste. But it is okay. And the fizzy effect of — burpy — or some would call it belching — I was just thinking, because / don’t make those horrible sounds, but I do have that sense of it coming back up through my throat.
That’s one of the things I like about beer, is when you’re sitting there and then it comes back, and you get to have it again without drinking it. I also like the smell of beer when you throw it out in the sink — perhaps you fell asleep and you didn’t finish the bottle, so in the morning you throw it down the drain.
CHIHUAHUA VS. CARTA BLANCA
I: I like the Chihuahua better, which you would never imagine — liking a beer named Chihuahua. I don’t like scrawny little silly, stupid dogs particularly. I don’t know if they’re stupid, but they’re not appealing. But I like it, it actually seems to have a little more bite to it — as a dog should, ha — a little more flair.
R: I think they’re almost indistinguishable. Chihuahua is less sweet. There’s a little more sweetness to the Carta Blanca.
I: You know what? 1 was passing by and I smelled the Chihuahua and it gave me a very good feeling. Carta Blanca doesn’t have as pungent a smell. I’ll taste it again...you know something? Now the Carta Blanca is having more of a ting or something.
R: A tang?
I: A tingle. So I guess once you’ve had enough of each it doesn’t matter. I wish we were drinking wine instead of beer.
BOHEMIA VS. TECATE
I: Bohemia looks darker, Tecate looks greener. But that might be because there’s a colored napkin behind it. I’ll taste the Bohemia...yum yum...it’s excellent. Tecate...well...the Tecate is sweeter. Bohemia is more bitter.
R: I just think Tecate tastes like wishy washy beer. Bohemia just has more range of taste.
I: Let me taste them both again...okay. The Bohemia is beer, the Tecate is nothing. It’s just very light, it’s good enough but it’s not really beer. It’s like a light tea, a beer tea. You put water in the leaves and then you get kind of a hint of the flavor — that’s what this is. It’s watery.
R: And Bohemia is like coffee?
I: Bohemia has a pungent, more of, it’s good, it’s stronger.
R: Have you had too much to drink?
I: Well, isn’t that the way to ascertain if beer is any good? The buzz, right? I think the buzz comes from the Bohemia, not the Tecate.
MODELO ESPECIAL VS. TECATE
R: Which looks darker to you?
I: Modelo Especial. I like to say it. With a name like that, it must be special. By the way, who’s going to wash all the glasses? ’Cause I won’t do it. As opposed to drinking out of paper cups. Okay, I’ll taste each one...mmm...yes. Unfortunately, you can never, it’s not fair. Because I drank the Modelo Especial first, and 1 think your first taste of beer — if you haven’t had beer in many hours — is always better. It’s always the best taste. And I tasted the Tecate second, and it tasted second best.
R: Here’s what you do — rinse your mouth with...
I: No, it’s not a question of rinsing. It’s a question of the enjoyment of, no, I’ve already been polluted. And I like it better anyway. I think it’s a much more full taste, and I was drinking it like a thirsty tree. Y’know, a tree that’s thirsty for liquid.
R: Why don’t you drink some Tecate with the approximate thirst to see how you feel about it?
I: Okay...it’s too thin. It doesn’t have as thick a taste. I do like a thicker beer.
R: Why don’t you just stir some honey in with it?
I: No, you drink it as it comes.
R: How is drinking Tecate after eating pizza? Is it good with food?
I: It’s excellent. I must say one thing for beer, whether it’s Tecate or another beer or what. It quenches your thirst. Which is a good thing to have as a property for a drink. And the Tecate, I think ’cause it’s thin, does quench your thirst very well.
R: There’s no such thing as a thick beer.
I: Yes there is. If you took a poll you’d see.
R: To me these beers are almost identical. There’s a little more body to the Modelo, but by body I don’t mean it’s thicker, I mean it’s got more structure to it.
I: There’s more weight to it.
R: Well, whatever you wanna say.
I: I think there’s more difference between Modelo and Tecate than between Bohemia and Tecate. Those, they’re more subtle. These I think are very much different.
R: I disagree. I think Bohemia is very-much different from Tecate, and Modelo is not very different.
I: What makes you an authority?
R: So why do you think there’s more difference here?
I: They taste different. I would say Modelo is a testy beer — which Tecate is not. It has a very satisfying taste, in fact I would like some more...mmm. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s more smooth without being inconsequential. Possibly it’s the best Mexican beer.
R: I would compare ’em to different whiskeys. Modelo is a single-malt Scotch, Tecate is blended Scotch.
I: Well, I was sure the first was Tecate, so obviously the other would have to be Modelo. But when I tasted it, the supposed Modelo, I couldn’t tell at all which was which. They tasted exactly the same, no, maybe the second one was Modelo. Because it did have a bit of a tangier — but maybe it activated the pepper from the pizza.
R: So why’d you think the first was Tecate?
I: When I drank it, it went down without much ceremony. It didn’t make a big deal on the way down the way some beers, they have more of a hello taste. And the first beer did not say hello. The second did, but not as much as I thought it might. I’m not saying I overrated it, but the difference is more subtle than one would have expected — from my initial response.
R: Well, Irene, the first was Tecate, the second Modelo — unless I confused them.
I: No, I think that’s correct. But it’s not as much of a difference as one would have thought.
BOHEMIA VS. MODELO ESPECIAL
I: Well, I’m not much of a connoisseur, but the second one is better.
R: The second one is better? Usually you tell me the first one is better.
I: You must’ve switched it.
R: No I didn’t. The first is Bohemia and the second is Modelo.
I: I won’t necessarily call it better, but it’s a sharper taste.
R: First you said it was better, now it’s only sharper?
I: Well, just in terms of the excitement factor. I’m saying there was definitely a resounding result.
R: Resounding result?
I: I mean there was like a bite. It did stuff to you. Just tastewise, whereas the other one was bland.
R: I like the Bohemia better. I think it’s got a more, uh, complete range of taste, an organized medley of taste — whereas the Modelo seems like about two or three different tastes in different directions.
I: Well, the directions don’t bother me.
R: The Modelo does taste good, but it’s sort of more like an American beer — like Miller or something, Ballantine, y’know, an East Coast beer. Schmidt’s. Rheingold.
I: No, I think it’s much more, uh, I wanna say it’s got more of an edge than those beers. It’s more, it’s like they tried harder or something.
R: I think somebody dropped a rubber band in, it tastes like a rubber band.
R: So Dos Equis is not as good as Modelo. What about Dos Equis Special Lager? It’s dishwater?
I: No, it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it. I wouldn’t say it’s crummy.
R: Is it better than Tecate?
I: Probably Tecate is better. It has a nicer sound to it.
R: So in other words you’re saying you don’t know what Dos Equis Special Lager is better than, but you’re saying it’s fine.
I: I’m saying it’s fine. It’s not terrible. I have no memory for beer. If this were chocolate, I could tell you. I don’t know if you wanna know this, Richard, but none of these beers compare to English beers.
R: But how ’bout compared to U.S. beers?
I: Probably they’re better than U.S. beers. All of them are. But I suspect with beers it has more to do with what you were doing than what you were drinking at the time that makes it memorable. Like, is it a special evening?
R: Excuse me, Irene. First you tell me that Modelo is memorable. Now you’re telling me...
I: I don’t remember the taste of it — I just suspect that it’s better than these. Just from the idea of it.
R: What’s the idea of Modelo?
I: It just was exciting — I’d never heard of it before. It’s based on that. Can I tell you the truth, Richard? If you wanna get down to it, there’s really just two kinds of Mexican beers. There’s the kind that tastes a little bit more bitter, a little more hearty. And then there’s the kind that goes down more easily and has less taste. And they all seem to belong to one of the two categories. And of these two, the Dos Equis is more bitter, and the Dos Equis Special Lager is the easier one.
...VS. CARTA BLANCA
I: You know something, I think this is the best one. Unfortunately. ’Cause it’s just an ordinary beer. I mean you see it around all the time. And I’ve had more to drink, so I don’t know if...
R: Compare it to the Dos Equis Special Lager.
I: No need. The Special Lager is just nothing. It has much less of a bite, though I wouldn’t quite call it bland. But you know what? Before we go on, I just must tell you that this is THREE GLASSES that have to be washed tonight! As opposed to two, which I could accept.
R: Okay, compare the Carta Blanca to Dos' Equis regular.
I: Mmm...very good...Carta Blanca’s the best. I would stand behind Carta Blanca. It’s the first one that’s given me any sense of, you know, where I have conviction about it. Its taste is very good — it’s round. It’s got a very round combination of tart and sweet. But I just feel compelled to comment on the ludicrosity of putting words to an experience that’s purely sensual or sensorial -— or nourishment that’s only, or biological satiation — and to put...y’know, part of this is just stupid. To have to put detailed kind of poetry and analytical descriptions to something that’s primal is in a way a distraction.
R: So would you sit around sipping Carta Blanca all afternoon?
I: Okay, that’s a more valid question. Of these three, I guess I would pick Carta Blanca.
R: You’d drink it all afternoon?
I: Well, that would be nice.
R: And how about Modelo?
I: I don’t remember Modelo. I just remember that I liked it.
R: So you’ve now put it completely out of your mind. And half an hour ago you told me Modelo was the best.
I: But I didn’t remember it when I said that.
R: Nor do you prob’ly remember you said Carta Blanca was ordinary.
I: Did I say that? Well this time it’s just wonderful.
...And to all a good night. ■