Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Bagels, Beers, and the Butterfly

(Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts about the first meeting of three online friends.)

At age 37, I finally found a beer I like. More on that later.

The appetizing aroma of Moonshot’s Irish stew in the Crockpot welcomed us back from the Adrenaline Zone. Conversation wandered from our blogs to topics that we probably never will post on them. Despite the written nature of our relationships up to that point, repartee came naturally.

Simon in a daze of 40 sleepless hours and the rest of us tired, we played a hand of a Zombie card game and reported to our respective beds shortly after 11 o’clock.

The Bagels

Saturday morning I awoke at about 7 o’clock to sounds familiar to my weekends: a child after a good night’s sleep. Norah giggled and shrieked happily in the living room with Moonshot. The difference this time was that I, too, had slumbered sufficiently. (Note to self: do that more often.) I lay there flat on my back for at least 15 minutes, wondering what the day held for us.

Bunk for a Canadian

Simon slept here (click any pic to enlarge).

I wandered to the sun room and saw Simon sleeping soundly. Bright sun lit up his blankets, but a swath of shade covered his face. I quietly walked back through the kitchen to the dining area, where I had a clear view of Moonshot and Norah at play.

Norah rushed over to me. “Hi, Norah. Good morning,” I said. She smiled as her blue eyes peeked out through her bangs. She blurted out happy babytalk and scampered back to her mommy.

Arlo the Scottish Terrier barked and growled.

Obligatory Dog in Sunglasses Pic“Oh, he just now realized you weren’t Moksha,” Moonshot said. Of course, she didn’t say “Moksha,” because that would be weird.

A few moments later, Moksha walked through the front door bearing a box of fresh bagels from Panera Bread Company. We moved to the kitchen’s breakfast nook and got our fill of the delicious dough rings.

Simon wandered into the kitchen. “Did I hear someone mention chocolate chip?” he said. He has a thing for the tiny, sweet morsels.

Moksha rummaged around in the bagel box. It turned out the Grens had devoured all three of the chocolate chip bagels — except Norah, who still was busy licking the cream cheese off of hers. Our taunted token Canadian bravely soldiered on and we prepared for our next scheduled venture.

The Beers and the Butterfly

Although Anheuser-Busch (think Bud) is beer king in St. Louis, several microbreweries have established a strong following, thanks in part to the St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival. Dubbed “Brewfest” by locals, it offers up more than 60 varieties of beer, sampled from a 3-oz commemorative glass.

Moksha had made it a point to score tickets early, and not being a beer fan, I volunteered to be the designated driver.

We three kings of pale skin — “I’m the translucent man,” Moksha said — slathered on sunscreen during the ride downtown in Moksha’s Mini Cooper. For once, I wasn’t the only one, and it was a moment of unspoken kinship.

We parked and slogged through a muddy field to reach the beer tents. At about 65 degrees, the weather was perfect for huddling under canopy ceilings with hordes of drunken strangers.

Beer Drinkers and HellraisersI watched as Moksha and Simon started out drinking a full 3-oz glass of each beer. About halfway through the first tent, already feeling the effects and knowing another tent was coming, they switched to drinking half and then swapping glasses.

We saw butterfly girl somewhere near the end of the first tent. I tried to get a picture of her tattoo while Moksha and Simon struck a fake pose, but I couldn’t get close enough. We ended up talking to her and asking if I could take a picture. “Yes, but only the top part,” she said. A flower stem extended below the butterfly into the lower half of the young lady’s blouse.

This left us wondering, of course, what was down there.

Butterfly Girl

Her skin did not look like this; I ruined it in post-production.

Working our way down the table of taps, we tried to predict what kind of beer I might like. I sipped a few and grimaced at varying levels. “It’s the hops you don’t like,” Moksha declared.

“Okay,” I said.

“Here, try this one,” he said as he held out his glass full of a medium brown beer.

Blogfathers and Beer CrowdI wasn’t hopeful, but I tried it. It went down smooth, with not even a hint of bitterness, and none of what I have come to call “that beer taste.” I know what you’re thinking. Was it raspberry? Blackberry? Come on, what kind of fruity specialty beer did Mark like?

In fact, it was a Belgian Dubbel. After further research, I found that a dubble typically includes “dark candy sugar.” I’m a bit disillusioned that I had found yet another beverage I like that requires sweetener. It doesn’t taste sweet, however, so I’m okay with that.

It also figures that the beer I like is not the easiest to find, and that I probably won’t find it on draught anywhere in our area. Following is a clip of the three of us. Click the play button and wait a moment.

If you have problems playing this in the browser, then download it instead.

In the lager tent, Butterfly Girl and her all-male crew lit nearby. A woman who overheard us talking about the tattoo said, “Oh, do you want a picture of the whole thing? Here, we can ask her.”

One time as the freak with the camera was enough. “No, that’s okay. I’m good.” I took a long draw off my bottled water.

We hit the food tent, where we met up with Moksha’s brother and his friends. After eating, I saw that Goldstein had left behind his parking ticket and his Beerfest stub. “Hey, we need to find the unbearded Jew,” I said.

It’s moments like that I like being around drunk people. Moksha laughed and latched onto the moniker.

Back in tent number two, Butterfly Girl stopped as she walked by, obviously very drunk. As we tried to interpret her slurred speech, a bulky fellow approached and introduced himself as her brother-in-law. He complimented my D100, which he said he uses, and escorted Butterfly Girl back to her fold.

Pretzel ManAt closing time, Simon bought a pretzel big enough to feed a family for a week. As the food vendor worked to button up his wares, I commented that $5 was a lot for a small bag of chocolate chip cookies. We haggled down to $3, but I passed.

Moksha caught up with us as Simon bought a shirt and I bought a pen (they were out of the commemorative glasses). We slogged back through the field and I got behind the wheel of the Mini, directed by a slightly drunk American and flanked by a drunk, pretzel-bloated Canadian.

Coming up Monday: the most indoor fun I’ve had in decades, at a place found only in St. Louis.

7 Responses to Bagels, Beers, and the Butterfly

  1. You didn’t get a picture of the whole thing???? Oh Mark… I’m disappointed in you! The chance at a wonderful picture and you decline. I’m wondering exactly WHAT you thought it was going to be! *LOL*

    I’m envious… sounds like you guys had such a great time. *S*

    Have a great weekend… I’m on vacation as of 2:30pm today!!

  2. Being a beer non-lover as well, I should take a note to try that Belgian Dubbel.

    Thanks for taking us along through your weekend.

  3. A few corrections, Mark. First up, we had St Louis Bread Company bagels…not Panara. Granted, they’re exactly the same thing, but here in St Louis we call them by their real name, not the disguised name they chose so that folks wouldn’t know where they were from. We actually LIKE St Louis around here.

    Secondly, YOU may have been wondering what the rest of the tattoo was, but I saw it before the above picture was snapped. A winding stem with three more little butterflies. She just didn’t want to show the freaky guy with the camera ;)

    Oh, and the best Dubbel you’re likely to find is Salvator by the Paulaner Brewery. In case you go looking. And don’t be too dismayed over the sweetness of the Dubbel; they pack a helluva kick, boasting some of the highest alcohol content in the beer family. The extra sugar they put in is there mainly to feed the yeast so they produce more alcohol. Most of it is long gone before you take a sip.

    Looking forward to Monday. Who would have thought I would be so excited to see you share pictures from a “museum.” Oh sorry…is that a spoiler?

  4. Awesome.

    I’m getting to relive all of this over again. And like Moksha said while we were there, I had great intentions of blogging about it on my own, but really, with what you’re covering and the pictures and stuff, is there anything I could capture that you’re not? There’s my own personal impression and all that sentimental crap and stuff, I suppose. That would be uniquely me.

    I’m still cheesed at missing out on the chocolate chip bagel. Not that I came close to snatching it from Norah Lu’s hands or anything. She’d already licked it, and I DO have my standards, I’ll have you know. The blueberry was an acceptable alternative.

    I love being referred to as the token Canadian. I can feel the love from way up here. Where, in mid-May, it’s now 10 PM and still pretty darned light out. W00t!

    Beerfest was certainly one of the highlights of the trip, though not quite the spectacular experience that you will (apparently) write about on Monday. That museum was bloody awesome!! I especially liked the part where you dropped your wallet but you had to ask somebody else to pick it up because you were trapped ABOVE it behind inch-thick rebar and concrete in what could barely be described as a crawl space.

    Or is that also a spoiler?

    (Seriously, it’s like you invite this upon yourself. Stop it.)

  5. OK…now you’re talkin’! A beer fest. That’s up my alley.

    You’re going to have to find some of that beer man. I never thought I’d see the day that I’d pound a few beers with my younger bro!

  6. I have been told that the 2nd brew fest from 4-8 got a little crazy. Mud wrestling and nakedness ensued, but with 60 different beers, who am I to complain?

  7. Wow. We need a beerfest like that around here.

    Paulaner Salvator is the original Double Bock, but is it technically Belgian? Another good choice is Spaten Optimator.

    Or, if you’re really in a crazy mood, go for the Koningshoeven Quadruppel.

    Must have beer. And giant pretzel.



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