PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Dust In The Wind

I’m sure you’re wondering how my brewing life is going these days, so let me tell you: it's going tremendously well! Did you know that I’ve been voted “homebrewer most likely to believe he’s going to brew commercially in an old barn?” And no, I don’t own a barn. (Yet!)

But I do own a Grainfather. If you don’t know what one is, would you believe that it’s a new, consumer-level brewing device that enables you to make fantastic beer just by sprinkling magic beer dust into fresh water, and then bottling? Hopefully not, as that would expose your gullibility. I’m told that the technology to concoct magic beer dust is still several years away. Needless to say, I’m working on my own version of magic beer dust in my beer laboratory. I think we can all agree that America can’t be made great again without a drinkable version of instant, powdered beer.

In the meantime, there is the Grainfather, a device that steeps grains to extract sugars and then boils the wort, all in one chamber, before pumping out the precious liquid gold through a chiller and into a fermenter. It’s practically like magic beer dust!

I suppose, actually, that the closest thing we humans have to magic beer dust is dry malt extract, which certainly is dusty, and, when mixed with fresh, clean Quabbin Reservoir water and inoculated with a dose of dry yeast, is magically transformed into beer.

(But the grainfather is still much better).

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Little Nipper

You’re at a meeting at 10 in the morning, and your colleague suddenly pulls out a flask and takes a haul. What do you do?

What does anyone do? None of you on staff in your combined 300+ years of office experience has ever encountered a co-worker flask-nipping in a meeting during normal work hours. Everyone looks at each other with consternation. Brows are knitted furiously. Is someone going to confront this guy about his drinking issues?

But no one has the guts. And so he keeps on doing it, even in meetings with The Big Boss, who is too nonplussed to know what to say. It goes on and on, with the co-worker drinking from his flask at all hours of the day, at his desk, at lunch, before heading home on his donkey-rickshaw (environmentally friendly, you think? Do you have any clue how much methane each mule and donkey produces each year?). He’s such a goofy dude that on those rare occasions when you all get a drink after work, a beer or two doesn’t seem to make him any looser than he seems during a regular day at the office. But generally speaking, beside his taking regular hauls off the flask and following up with flamboyant, Doc Holliday-esque tubercular coughing fits as he chokes down the liquid, the slugging doesn’t seem to negatively affect his performance. There are even clandestine sobriety tests, as office mates drop papers in front of him to see if he’ll stumble when helping to pick them up. He doesn’t.

The colleague dies one day and his desk is cleaned out, whereupon the flask, hidden in his bottom drawer, empty, is available to be analyzed. Advanced assays are run, whereupon it’s discovered that there is no sign of moonshine inside the flask, but instead ultra high-test French roast coffee (cold brew).

If you're willing to play the flask nipper, I'll outfit you with the means of surreptitiously recording people's reactions at your office job. It'll be a riot! Then, we'll project the recordings onto the west side of my house from dusk to dawn every day so that people walking down the street after dark will be treated to performance art.

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Observatory Ale

Whenever I look for a new place to move into, which I do pretty much every day, I always make sure there’s some extra space – a loft above the garage, an old barn, an observatory from which I can view the worlds beyond – that I might convert to a guest house.

Or an ale factory. Let’s be realistic: I know much more about beer than I know about guests. Shouldn’t I have room in my new place to spend time on something I’m intimately familiar with, like ale, instead of something I know little about, such as guests? Your answer, I suppose, depends on whether you would rather to be a guest of mine or drink my beer.

I know what you’re thinking: don’t you serve your beer to your guests? Yes I do. But frankly, I’d rather make them pay for it.

You see where I’m going with this. I need to schedule a smackdown between the marketing arms of my beer and guest operations to see which can create a more lucrative-sounding business plan. Once I take stock of that information, the rest will be easy. It’s not like properties with private observatories that can be converted to brew houses are so hard to find.

 

Come And Observe My Ale

Come Observe Me Making Ale

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Odd Stuff

The steaming bowl of scallops arrives amid oohs and aahs. Placed between the two patrons, with accompaniments of crusty bread and chopped up things, this is an easily shared appetizer. The scallops are the size of hockey pucks, kings of edible bivalves when set against wimpy little mussels and clams. “I’m glad we didn’t order the salad as well,” says one of the customers, nibbling. Yes, who would want all those extra calories?

Soon, a dilemma arises: the scallops number only three. An even number of puckish hunks of sea meat would have been easier to divide; now these two will have to arm wrestle for the remaining disk. Says one of patrons to the waiter, “Can we order another scallop?”

“Another order?” he suggests.

“No, another scallop. There are only 3 so we can’t split the dish evenly.”

The waiter’s face barely betrays his bemusement (or is befuddlement?). He complies with the request, though it’s easy to see that he’s thinking, “Christ, they weigh half a pound each. Can’t you just cut one of them in half?”

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The New Look, Feel, and Smell

Suddenly, just when you were finally getting comfortable with my website, I go and reorganize information into 3 columns instead of just two, add links to other sites (right hand column, scroll down a bit), and install a tag cloud (just below it) that's claims to be unused. Why?! “The next thing you know he’ll be running ads!” Read On

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Produce This Audio Play!

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