the cure for what ales you

I don’t drink. My husband generally has one beer per day, with dinner. Now, when I say “beer,” you probably visualize something like Bud Light — or what we here in the Taylor household refer to as “horse pee in a bottle.” My husband prefers beer that I think of as being dark, thick, and chewy: porter or stout.

Porter: Opaque, thick, and rich in malt and hops

(Whenever we go out to eat and he tries a new porter or stout (or ale, if the restaurant is beer-challenged), we have a little ritual we go through that the kids enjoy: I take a sip, make a face, and say, “Yes, that IS beer.”)

Although I don’t personally partake, I do enjoy shopping for the porters and stouts to have at home. Fortunately enough, the nearest liquor store happens to have a large selection of microbrews. I’ve read that many people choose a bottle of wine based on the drawing of a cute animal, bird, or fish on the label; well, I choose beer based on the cleverness of the name, the originality of the carton artwork, and the humor of the text.

For example, yesterday I chose Mocha Porter (made by Rogue Ales) and Milk Stout (made by the Left Hand Brewing Company).

As I was getting ready to check out, I noticed a shopping cart full of festive cartons and bottles; the sign on the cart said, “All Christmas beers 1/2 price!” Upon further inspection, I found a holiday-decorated four-pack of oversize bottles (1 pt + 9 oz!) from Shelton Brothers (an English brewer), labeled as “The perfect gift for someone who has been very, very, very naughty”:

Seriously, who could resist? The text on the carton and the bottles is hysterical. For example, here’s what it says about Lump of Coal Dark Winter Stout:

Looking forward to a depressing holiday? Here is liquid consolation. This 8% bittersweet chocolate stout is the best you could hope for in these dark times. Actually, come to think of it, considering how bad you’ve been, this little coal-black gem is more than you deserve for Christmas this year.

Santa’s Butt Winter Porter has even been in the news lately: Maine had banned it, stating that the label was too likely to attract children (and what, exactly, are kids doing in liquor stores in Maine?). The state also banned a couple of other Shelton brews because the labels showed (gasp!) bare breasts. However, the bans have been rescinded, leading to such memorable headlines as “Maine OKs beer labels of ‘Santa’s Butt,’ breastsand “Santa’s Butt can rest on beer shelves.”

But I digress. Some other cool brews I’ve bought for home consumption include Gonzo Imperial Porter (Flying Dog), Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (Great Lakes Brewing), and Old Engine Oil (Harviestoun Brewery).

Clever cartons and artistic labels — that’s plenty intoxicating for me. 🙂

7 responses to “the cure for what ales you

  1. We find it very difficult to get a good porter in our area, which is strange because it’s a major metropolis. Even the large big-box-beer stores carry anything *but* porter. Most of those I’ve never seen on the shelves.

  2. Odd that a big city wouldn’t offer more variety. A liquor store could probably order some for you; if you try a special order some time, my husband recommends the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Gonzo Imperial Porter as his favorite two.

  3. the labels are hilarious. i keep guiness in my fridge for the occasion of making “guiness punch” which i’ve been drinking since i was a kid. coming from jamaican parents, it’s a drink typically served with sunday dinner. take guiness, mix it with sweetened condensed milk (until desired sweetness is achieved), at a little vanilla and nutmeg and voila!

  4. Blu, I’m afraid my husband would be unappreciative of Guiness punch. However, it might transform all that dark bitterness into something I could bear to sip!

  5. I miss beer. These sound wonderful to me 🙂

    Does your hubby go to Rich O’s? They make their own draft root beer too. Maybe we could do dinner there sometime 🙂

  6. I know exactly how you feel. I once bought a bottle of Old Fart wine – simply because I thought the name of the wine and the label were very funny.

    It turned out to be quite good. Sometimes shopping purely based on label and name can be rewarding.

  7. Rich O’s is awesome! Forget the beer — I want the PIZZA. 🙂

    S, the Old Fart wine sounds delightful. In looking for its web site, I happened across Fat Bastard wines (; I love the name and the hippo on the label! That sort of marketing will work on me every time.

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