By Day Bracey
Pittsburgh Current Craft Beer Writer
April 13, Noon: I’m still on my dry, grounded month. No weed or booze for 30 days. My brain won’t shut off. My dreams have gotten extremely vivid. Sleep doesn’t happen anymore in the traditional sense. It’s like I close my eyes and I’m in a different reality. When I open them, I’m back in ours. It’s hard to tell the two apart. Last night, I slept with Elizabeth Warren, and then she ran down her policies during pillow talk. She made some really good points about student loans and the need for sensible dragon legislation. She’s now my 2020 frontrunner.
April 13, 4 p.m.: I’m at Helicon Brewing for the Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers’ 29th annual home brewing competition, because I’m a masochist. There are 400+ brews from all across the East Coast and Canada competing for supremacy not only in their respective styles, but also overall best-in-show. Did you know TRASH is more than 30-years-old?! I didn’t know home brewing existed that long. I thought it was invented five years ago, around the time I first learned about it. Because, I assume nothing exists before I’m aware of it. Anywho, the water here is delicious. Fresh, icy, full of oxygen flavor with hints of hydrogen. Pairs well with the empanadas I bought out front. There is a wall full of rotating pinball machines, a beautiful front lawn, and a back patio for summer sitting. I discuss beer things with beer guys while the judges are beerily beering the beer beer.
April 13, 7 p.m: I lasted 13 days without weed. It occurred to me that my abstinence from the drug was doing no one any good, not me, the world, and certainly not my dealer. It’s more of a self-medication than a recreational drug at this point. And if I’m going to get through the month surrounded by drunkards, I’m going to need some assistance.
April 14, 3 p.m.: Revival Chili’s Jordan Robarge is in the Work Hard Pittsburgh studio to record with the Drinking Partners. He brings spicy chicken chili, spicier beef chili, and a smoky, sour ale from Jeff Bloom, Prince of Sours. I imagine they pair well together. His food truck focuses not only on great chili, but also giving second-chance opportunities and skill training to individuals who have repaid their debt to society in prison. Jordan recently bought the long-standing Nancy’s Diner in Wilkinsburg and kept the name to signify the continuation of community involvement and opportunity within, rather than tearing everything apart and sounding the bell of impending gentrification. The chili is deceptively hearty, and the spicy beef brings a sub-Mason-Dixon heat. Yanks and Yinzers beware.
April 20, 6 a.m.: I’m an adult. I no longer look at the calendar to determine the level of high I’m going to get. I refer to a clock. “What are you doing for 4.20, Day?” Typically working! Why aren’t you? How do you afford your habit at this age? Long gone are the days of skipping class to smoke copious amounts of $5 ganja doobs with the broskis, filling the room with thick smoke and loud Satan music. These days, we vape discreetly, when permissible, only after our work is done, and prep is completed for tomorrow’s chores.
April 20, 6:01am: I’m high.
April 20, 4:20pm: Higher.
April 20, 9 p.m.: Nick Jones, Master Brewer at Mindful, comes by the Night of EPIC Comedy at Arcade Comedy Theater to pour Tea Party, DIPA brewed with tea, and a Smoothcone, hoppy lager. The people can’t seem to get enough of it. I’m still enjoying my high.
April 20, 11 p.m.: I’m in the alley behind Arcade with the headliner from the show and some other friends taking hits from a dirty bowl, filling the alley with smoke while Satan music plays from cars as they pass. My mouth is super dry. I could really use a drink. Ten more days to go.
April 22, 4:22 p.m.: Highest.