Brews For The Blues

Been dumped? There’s a beer for that!

by Jason Foster

by Paul Klassen

In Valentine’s Day columns past, I’ve tried hard to show beer is a wondrous beverage that can bring couples together, spark romance and generally help start your world rockin’. And dammit, it’s all true! Yay beer!

But let’s be realistic: not all relationships work out.

So this year, I’m working on the assumption that all that effort and energy spent trying to find a beer-match made in heaven has failed. The relationship is over, kaput, kablooey. He or she has left, and you’re sitting at home with no one to share that bomber-sized bottle with.

What to do now?

Well first of all, put down that Walmart country CD (because it can never, ever be THAT bad). Second, pick up some brilliant beer to drown those sorrows and get you through the Five Stages Of Breakup.

1. DENIAL

At this point, you’re still holding out hope that she/he will come back and everything will be okay. Well, if you believe that, then you believe in flying monkeys — and that means you should be drinking Flying Monkeys’ Hoptical Illusion. It’s an amber ale with a surprisingly hoppy finish, and the complex flavour will keep you happily in the clouds while your ex packs up their stuff.

If you really need a buttress against the growing awareness that they’re gone and ain’t comin’ back, pick up a bottle of Loki. Paddock Wood’s formidable double IPA is named after the shape-shifting Norse god (and/or Marvel superhero) who keeps everyone confused about what’s really happening (sadly, there’s no photo of actor Tom Hiddleston on the bottle). That — and its 8.7 per cent alcohol content — will keep you in a haze that blocks the reality of the mess your life has become.

2. ANGER

Happily, denial can’t last forever. Eventually, you suddenly realize it was all their fault and you’ve been horribly wronged (even if it was your fault). So how about some Blood Alley Bitter, an English-style bitter by B.C.’s Russell Brewing? The bitterness is balanced by a soft caramel malt base — just enough to hide the taste of the bad blood brewing.

Or how about Barking Squirrel Lager? (C’mon, have you ever seen anything nastier than a seriously pissed off squirrel?) The squirrel on the label will seem to agree with your inner raging rodent, but the flavourful amber lager inside the bottle will help soothe the savage beast.

3. BARGAINING

Okay, so it’s hard to be perpetually angry. Now you desperately seek some way to get back together — promising to change, promising to compromise, promising even to love that friend they have that you hate. (How can they be so freakin’ pompous/ stupid/ elitist/ smarmy/ etc.?!) This is the perfect time for one of those beers you don’t really like but will drink, in the hope you finally find that elusive common ground. Stiegl Radler — half lager, half grapefruit juice — is the consummate compromise. It tastes frighteningly like Mountain Dew, but you’ll drink it in the hope that it symbolizes your new commitment to compromise.

If you’re really desperate, you could go for some Molson Wheat, because it’s not Bud Light but still doesn’t really taste like anything. At least it’s cloudy, which gives you something to cling to. Anything to save the relationship.

4. DEPRESSION

But we all know bargaining rarely works, don’t we? So welcome to your lowest ebb — a time when you might as well grab some Great Western CFL Beer because, let’s be honest, you’re going to spend the next few weeks sitting on the couch in your underwear watching sports. On the other hand, if your palate is not as depressed as you are, you could try Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde, because it really does feel like the end of the world. This complex, strong Belgian ale has enough flavour going on that it might momentarily distract you from the bleak reality that you’ll be single forever.

5. ACCEPTANCE

Finally, after many agonizing weeks (and long past the point where your friends were willing to put up with your mewling), reality sets in: he/she is never coming back, and maybe that’s even for the best. Time to move on with your life, get back out there and meet people, and try to re-establish a sense of self-worth!

Start with a Paddock Wood Red Hammer. It’s a bold, life-affirming sort of beer, but not too aggressive — the type of beer that gives you optimism that things will get better, but allows you to take it slow. And as things do get better, you can move on through St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Half Pints’ Little Scrapper IPA and finally Ommegang Rare Vos — a classy Belgian ale that proudly announces you’re once again at the top of your game.

Romantic partners may come and go but beer will always be there for you. Now go live your life, have a pint or two and find that next special someone. Maybe this time it’ll be a match made in beer heaven!

2014-02-06

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