July 18th, 2011
Seems I’m something of an alcohol critic lately, or maybe just an alcohol reporter. Fine by me. I had the private wine tasting, the Wine, Women and Song show, and now a beer. The Mens Room Original Red by Elysian Brewing. We’ll get to the tasting in a bit, but first, if you’re unfamiliar with the story of this beer, here goes:
The Mens Room is the afternoon show on KISW (99.9 FM here in Seattle), and it’s basically just four guys talking about all the things four grown men will talk about in the absence of women, except of course for the fact that they’re on the radio. They have a good chemistry though, and thus a wide appeal. From what I gather, it’s a popular show. People like to listen to these guys go on, and they do, and they’re funny. When I’m driving home after work, I often find myself smiling at what one of them is saying as if I’m right there in the studio with them. I’ll catch myself at those times, look up to notice the slowness of the traffic I’m in, see the guy in the car next to me looking over and wondering what the hell is so funny in my car.
So they talk, and in the course of everything said during their four hour program, one thing comes up again and again … and again. Alcohol. They like to drink. I’ll repeat. They. Like. To. Drink. Men after my own heart for sure. One of the people who edited early versions of my book said of the main character, “Man, he’s drinking all the time.” That’s The Mens Room, but there are four of them which means four times the booze. So what do four guys who have a radio show and a fondness for beer do? Well, when they’re friends with the guys at Elysian Brewing, they get drunk with said friends and do what any of us beer lovers would do with such friends. They make the suggestion, “You know, we’d love to have our own beer.” The guys at Elysian just happend to like the idea so it was born out of a drunken moment, and, I imagine, an arm around a shoulder, some leaning in, “You know…” But it went through. It happened. The beer was made, and then the idea assumed a life of it’s own.
It was the audience, you see. I know it’s hard to imagine, but the people who like The Mens Room seem to have a fondness for beer too so it sold quickly. Originally Elysian made a pale ale, but when the idea started to take off, when the beers sold and the money started coming in, it was switched to the current amber brew. It wasn’t all just about beer though. It was about opportunity. The guys in The Mens Room saw a chance to give something to those less fortunate than them so it was decided that a portion of all the profits from the beer would go to help support the families of military vets through the VA Puget Sound Fisher House and Ft. Lewis Fisher House. Drinking beer was suddenly a charitable activity, enough so in fact that they were able to visit the Fisher House in May and give them a check for $94,000. That’s a lot of beer drinking.
Cheers indeed to that! And to the fact that for 2011 the projected total of donations is expected to reach $200,000. Hats off to both the Mens Room and Elysian brewing for doing a great thing.
So then, back to the tasting of The Mens Room Original Red.
Last saturday, I bought twelve bottles of it (22 ounces each) and went to visit some friends in a band called Out Like Pluto. They were shooting a video for one of their new songs and the theme was a house party so I showed up with beers to do my part, both for the video and the Fisher House. When I got there, the band was busy getting ready for the shoot so I sat in a corner and began working at the beers. People arrived. The video shoot began, and five bottles later I realized I’d developed a liking for the beer. I thought about it for a moment, five 22 ounce bottles. I tried to do the math but could only come to the conclusion that it was a lot more beer than five 12 ounce bottles.
As the night went on, I finished another three, was in a few video shots, and spoke to the woman who’d once called me The Writer Guy, and who did so again as a joke. I liked being called that. It meant there are those in this world who know me for writing rather than drinking. I explained about The Mens Room Original Red to her and to any who would listen. I put my arm around a few people, leaned in, “You know, they’re giving money to the Fisher House. It’s a good thing.” Eventually, I left forgetting both my coat and the remaining four Reds. In the morning, I got a text from the drummer. “Have your coat … drank the beers … thanks for the tip ”
Yes, drinking beer now really is a good thing, an important thing, and I’ll be sure to do my part.
Unfortunately, the band’s video is not done yet so I can’t include it here, but I quite like this other song of theirs and you can download it for free on their website.
Out Like Pluto – Are we There Yet?