By Day Bracey
Pittsburgh Current Craft Beer Writer
April 1, Midnight: I’m on a dry month. I started these dry months last year as a response to the increased alcohol consumption I’ve experienced as a result of becoming more entwined with the brew industry. Most self aware alcoholics take a break in January, to mitigate the wear and tear holiday boozing has on the body. But in addition to tolerating my family, I need my hooch to extend the four hours of sunshine we’re allotted during those dreadful winter months. Imagine the sun going down at 1pm on a 23 degree day and only having corny shit like yoga or children’s laughter to get you by. I’ll pass.
I’ve also seen a lot of people turning to booze to get through the quarantine. Nothing wrong with this, but alcohol is a social drug for me. The one thing going for my liver is my lack of alcohol at home and reluctance to drink alone. It would be nice to leave the quarantine healthier than I entered it. I mean, isn’t that the point in all of this? To slow down hospital traffic?
April 2, Noon: No. It was not an April Fool’s joke. I’m really doing a dry quarantine month. In other news, Fresh Fest was named 2nd best brew fest in America by USA Today! Thanks to all the people who voted and whoever invented incognito mode.
April 2, 9 p.m.: All lead up events for the festival have been rona’d, so we put together a Zoom happy hour hangout, Fresh Fest Mash! We tapped DJ Arie Cole to spin some tunes and invited folks to hangout and share stories while drinking safely from home. The longer I live a hermitted existence, the more I see the benefits therein. I imagine I’m not the only one. Maybe we should permanently add digital content and hangouts to supplement our services as a society? Can’t make it to the next Drinking Partners comedy show because your 2017 pullout game was weak? No worries! Just log on and laugh out while your kids are asleep, dreaming of ways to drain your bank account!
April 3-19: What the fuck, 2020…
April 20, 4.20p: How do we get back to the Berenstein Bears timeline?
April 30, 2 p.m.: I’m almost at the end of what feels like 3 years of sobriety. I fully understand the need to drink through this and am ready to let alcohol wisk me away into the land of “Fuck it.” The beer geeks have been raving about recent releases from Four Points in Charleroi, & I’m eager to get out of the house for a joy ride. I hop online and order a 4 pack of 400, a juicy IPA featuring Vic Secret and Lotus hops with notes of pineapple, passionfruit, and creamsicle. An hour later I pull up to Fourth Street BBQ, next to the brewery, to claim my prize. I bump (figuratively) into Adam Boura (brewer) and Dave Barbe (owner) while I’m there. We have a covid friendly chat, masked up and six feet apart, about life, love, and the coronavirus. It’s very weird seeing people I’m not related to for an extended period of time. I mean, this conversation is cool, but is this even legal? Of course nothing feels legal when you’re doing it through a mask. And I passed a lot of American flags on the way here, so I shouldn’t overstay my welcome. Don’t want any casual strollers to confuse this friendly exchange for a robbery attempt. I grab a quick pic and make a speedy getaway to the next stop.
April 30, 5 p.m.: I’m at East End Brewery in Larimer. Andrea Shockling, tap tender and comics artist, is busy as ever. She gives me the rundown of what’s in stock through a mask and thick sheet of hanging plastic. I order Windgap, a pineapple and mango milkshake IPA in their Neighborhood series, Homewood Reserve, a chocolatey barrel aged stout at only 6.7% ABV, and get a bonus Resilience pale ale, a nationwide collab with Sierra Nevada to aid those affected by the Cali forest fires. Four more orders come and go while I’m there, and I learn that shit is terrible everywhere, but people are drinking in record amounts. So, you shouldn’t worry about your favorite brewery going under any time soon. If you want to help the industry, I’m sure there’s some money in your beer budget to throw at the many crowdfunds supporting furloughed service workers. I mean, it’s not like you’ve been tipping much lately.
May 1, Midnight: I’ve got sunshine in a cloudy IPA. It’s corona outside, but I’ve got the month of May…