“Summer Love” – Fiction by J. Wendell Miller

Drinking Bacchus - Guido Reni, circa 1623
Drinking Bacchus – Guido Reni, circa 1623

There’s still a few weekends left this summer, so if you plan on doing any binge-drinking you may want to consult the alcohol reviews in J. Wendell Miller‘s “Summer Love,” one of many educational pieces you can read in our Summer 2015 issue (available here, here, here, or here).

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Brewery: MillerCoors
Type of Beer: American Pale Lager
ABV: 4.7%
Sociability: High
Adrenaline Factor: Extreme

Review: Maybe the first beer you ever stole, this bitter American Pale Lager likely got your eleven year-old heart racing. You probably tried your best to keep your friends from seeing what you really thought about this effervescent pisswater, though you suspect they all hated the taste, too, hated the bitterness, the smell, the lingering sense of dread and the ultimate betrayal of not getting any of you even the slightest bit wasted. This is really good, your friend probably said after a long pull, but you’re a bad fucking liar, you would have silently countered. When you finished the last few drops, you might have stood in a line and chucked the empty cans over the fence in your friend’s backyard, only to be caught the next day, lectured on how disappointing your actions were.

Grade: B-

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Five Star Brandy

Distillery: Petri
ABV: 80 proof (40%)
Sociability: Medium
Family Hatred Factor: Very High
Ability to Water Down to Avoid Punishment: Very Low

Tasting Notes: This brandy features full-bodied notes of vanilla, raisin, and blackberry, though they are lost in the burn when taking pulls from the bottle. Be advised, this smooth brandy will often cause quarrels with family, in which the sounds of shouting will disappear beneath layers of sobs and fists slamming into cheek skin. Pairs well with water, but there’s a good chance fifteen year-old you will be grounded at length because of your poor judgment and brazen disrespect for authority. Years later, you will attempt to recreate the magic of your first taste of this low-quality brandy and the love of your life will kiss the stale vanilla notes, the flat cola chasers, and the crusted vomit on your lips before ultimately leaving you.

Grade: C+

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Bud Light

Brewery: Anheuser-Busch
Type of Beer: Light Lager
ABV: 4.2%
Sociability: Very High
Brotherhood Factor: High

Review: This crisp, refreshing, all-American light lager has a slightly salty finish due to the unsightly pollution of the water sources in and around St. Louis, or so you’ve been told. Not that you’ll taste the brew when it’s rushing into your mouth through a funnel and hose, but you may notice it in the frothy refuse you spew after your eighteenth go. You may also faintly remember the wail of the ambulance’s siren and the piercing glow of the red, white, and blue lights against the patriotic backsplash of Veteran’s Day 2008. What you won’t remember is why you got so drunk, but we can all assume it’s because of Brad—your new best friend and senior fraternity brother—and his very persuasive speech: If you weren’t such a pussy, you’d drink it, you little bitch.

Grade: B

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Yuengling Traditional Lager

Brewery: Yuengling Brewery
Type of Beer: American Amber Lager
ABV: 4.4%
Drinkability: Very High
Culturability Factor: High

Review: On a trip to Philadelphia to see Malcolm Middleton’s Waxing Gibbous tour, Yuengling is a must, according to Brad’s gay cousin, Paul. After drinking standard nationwide domestic beers with reckless abandon for the better part of fourteen months, this relatively thick caramel-colored lager fills the bladder quickly, resulting in frequent trips to the bathroom, where the piss-soaked floor sticks to your sandals. Consequently, the frequent trips to the bathroom caused by this deliciously classic lager are best managed by going with a partner, and the best way to block out the acrid smell of urine and stale cigarette smoke is by making conversation. Between sips of this rich, amber-colored brew, you will typically find something in common during conversation, and the conversation will inevitably turn toward experimentation. On the cab ride home, you will receive a black eye, a bloody nose, and a small everlasting scar above your left eye for calling Paul a faggot when Brad mentions how much the two of you have in common. You will think about calling Paul years later, when Jamie leaves, but you can never bring yourself to do it.

Grade: B+

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Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

Brewery: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Type of Beer: Wheat Ale
ABV: 4.9%
Great Outdoorsiness: Fair

Review: The color of sunshine and happiness, this genuine slice of the Northwoods will permeate your soul while celebrating your 21st birthday on a camping trip to the Alleghenies in the summer of 2011. You will notice around your third sip how much you love the way this smooth and drinkable wheat ale smells like Fruity Pebbles, and you will have remarked upon this fact to your friends several times over the course of the twelve bottles. With the case empty and your friends urging you to continue drinking, you’ll toss the empty box into the fire and demand to crack open the Patrón your fraternity brothers pitched in for you as a special gift. While expelling trace amounts of this ever-so-delicate ale, you will slip and fall, nearly going over the edge of the bluff on which you set up camp. Thinking yourself lucky, you can’t help but feel the delightfully fruity nose of this brew sours a bit as it passes through your urinary tract. The smell of alcohol-tainted urine will permeate your nostrils as you take shots of tequila.

Grade: B-

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Patrón Silver

Distillery: Patrón Tequila Products
ABV: 80 Proof (40%)
Drinkability: Very High
Deceptive Quality: Extreme

Tasting Notes: This 100% pure blue agave tequila is so smooth, you’ll barely taste it. This could potentially create a problem, as your closest friends will urge you to take more shots than you’re comfortable with, more shots than your stomach is comfortable with, and ultimately more shots than your liver can keep up with. Your toxic blood will course through your veins as you try to expel the smoothly delicious poison from your digestive tract, and the blood vessels in your eyes will burst from the force of your vomit. This amazing tequila with hints of dried pineapple will force bloody tears from your ducts right before the taste of post-shot lime reminds you one last time how great your life has been to this point, how much you love your fraternity brothers, and how pretty the colors of the Alleghenies are in summer just before the scorching Pennsylvania sun begins to dry out the verdant color of life.

Grade: A+

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DSC_4443 2J. WENDELL MILLER reads a lot of smut and listens to punk rock, but is really super nice (he’s from suburban Chicago, after all). He’s also a Marine Corps veteran, a beer and whisky connoisseur, and freelance photographer / cinematographer. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in 30 N.,Quail Bell Magazine, and Gargoyle Magazine. Some people call him Wendy.

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