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CBW Book Club: Three Sheets To The Wind

I had a brilliant idea (okay, Ethan had a brilliant idea): have our summer book club at Hydraulic Hearth. Beer garden! Nice weather!

I cursed Ethan for his terrible idea (okay, my idea) as I looked out at the torrential downpour. So much for a beer garden.

However, the rain cleared up almost immediately, and after a few split pizzas and a beer or two — CBW beers I hadn’t tried before, as Mssr. Turley had gone out on his own — things had dried out sufficiently to head outside.

We had the usual suspects in attendance: Mark, Scott and Dave. Alex had to miss it, but I supplemented by bringing my brother in law Michael who was in town at the time. We grabbed another beer and sat down to talk about Three Sheets To The Wind, Pete Brown’s tour of beer cultures around the world.

Who has a local?

Michae started us off with that question. Did any of us have a “local”, a pub or bar where (I’ll paraphrase) everyone knows your name.

None of us did. I have a corner bar near me, but have only gone in once, for a fish fry take out. Now that I think of it Sterling Place probably fit the bill, but that’s the Sterling-that-was: I haven’t had a chance to go to the Tap & Wurst yet, unfortunately.

Michael thought we needed more English pubs. As a recently former resident of Rochester he was familiar with The Old Toad, and wanted to see more of that everywhere else (although it would be pretty hard to beat their authenticity!).

On Oktoberfest

Mark wasn’t sure if the chapter on Pete Brown’s visit to Munich’s Oktoberfest made him really want to go himself or made him really not want to go. Personally, I had gone from “eh, whatever” to “bucket list” after reading Three Sheets. I’m not a big Bavarian guy, I don’t care about getting hammered, but it seems like one hell of an experience.

We began to discuss the Oktoberfests we had gone to in the past. I never have, but Dave managed to in, of all places, Disney World. He said that it was pretty fun, and I can see myself attending it myself if I was in the park during the event.

Scott told us a great story of a local event where he brought his own liter mug. I want a liter mug! I also want to go to an Oktoberfest this year, somewhere a bit closer than Germany.

Other scenes from around the world

Really, read the book. Every part of it is amazing. There were a few other scenes and anecdotes that stuck in our minds:

  • Nigerian Guinness, both in its provenance and the business model used: rather than profit off of and exploit the local population, Guinness allowed them to run it themselves.

  • The sort of hospitality he was shown in Japan, and how we’d like to visit ourselves even if we wouldn’t be shown around by CEOs.

  • And, of course, Australia’s Six o’Clock Swill, proof that prohibitionist strategies often have the opposite of the intended effect.

Seriously. Read the book for the Six o’Clock Swill.

Next time

We had read Pete Brown’s Hops & Glory. We had just finished Three Sheets To The Wind. I wasn’t going to say it, but luckily Scott did it for me: why not keep going?

So: on November 18, we’ll be reading Pete Brown’s Shakespeare’s Pub, the story of the pub that The Bard used to frequent. Or, if you order the UK edition like I did, we’ll be reading Shakespeare’s Local. Either way, I hope to see you there! (Exactly where “there” is remains to be seen, however)

The night draws to a close

We drifted on to other conversations, as we always do, chatting while covers of The Who played across the street in Larkin Square.

We had beer, we had the weather, and we had a great time. Until November, fellow readers.