[Originally posted December 2010]


So last weekend I’m in Trader Joe’s, equal parts repulsed by all the tree-hugging hippie bullshit that vegans orgasm over, and equal parts intrigued to see if I can actually find something that’s wholesome yet tastes like real fucking food.

I walk in and go past the fridge full of gallons of milk that’s been gently lactated from cows who are bred to moo in melody and are serenaded by a string quartet (who are all vegans) every morning.

I’m blowing off the shelves of rare grains, shit like strange legumes from the Amazon which are harvested by seasonal hermits who only accept payment for their prized legumes in fish fillets (only the wholly sustainable types, mind you).

My God, what a wonderful and beautiful place this is.

And I look to the far corner, blink a couple of times – do my eyes deceive me?  Is that what I think it is?  Holy shit, it is.  It’s a whole wall full of beer.  Beer!  In a Trader Joe’s !!!  BEER!!  In MY Trader Joe’s!!!  Holy SHIIIIT!!!

Disclaimer: OK, it’s really not that big of a deal.  99% of the beers here the are same pricey, gooey microshit beers you find in better supermarkets that taste like bubblegum or cinnamon chocolate.  They taste like anything but good, proper beer.  But the big deal at that moment was that until that point in time – unlike pretty much every other Trader Joe’s in the country – my local TJ’s (fuck me) didn’t carry beer.  No beer.  Not even a frickin’ O’Doul’s.  Or whatever the hell the hippie-equivalent of an O’Doul’s is.  No one’s ever given me a satisfactory answer as to why they didn’t carry beers, but shit, that’s all in the past now, isn’t it.  THERE’S A WHOLE WALL OF THAT STUFF!!!!

I sprint toward the wall of beers.  I’m pretty sure my kid sitting in the shopping cart suffered some mild whiplash from this quick jaunt, but he’s little and at that age, aren’t they all soft and spongey anyway?  He’ll get over it.  And he better stop crying because it’s totally killing my joy here.

Disappointedly, I start to realize that most of the offerings here are indeed the bullshit creamsicle tasting microshit beers which fratholes who like the Dave Matthews Band drink because they think they’re big and clever.  Fuck you and you pricey sweet mud.

Then I came upon a section of beers I had never seen before.  Six packs, all in soft colors.  No aggressive lightning blue or striking silver cans as if to suggest that these are MANLY beers.  These looked like ginger ale or citrus soda.  And their names didn’t carry any of the bullshit pre-adolescent machismo you’ve come to expect in beers (“Steel Wheel!”, “Caged Brew!”, “Hot Carl!”).  Instead, these seemed to suggest a more relaxed, yet sanguine nature to them.  As if you’ve lost the will to live, and you’re just sitting there peacefully on your front porch waiting to die.

Those are the beers in the picture above.  ”Simpler Times Lager”.  ”Simpler Times Pilsner”.  ”Cerveza La Playa” (oooh, exotic – won’t find this in a Trader Joe’s in Arizona, I’ll bet).  And “Red Oval”.  And it has a fucking red oval on the can.  It might as well have been branded “Can O’ Beer”.  Look at that packaging design.  It’s so stripped down, so simple, so endearing, so… holy shit, these beers have something like 7% alcohol!!  Wolf in sheep’s clothing beer.  More like wolf in Bo Peep’s clothing.  It’s tranny wolf beer.


That’s what it cost for a six-pack of each variety.  I don’t even think twice, I grab one six-pack of each type and wheel the beer-filled cart and the still-whimpering child to the checkout and I’m outta there.  I’d say this little trip to TJ’s was mildly successful.

When I get home, wifey – bless her – stuffs all 24 cans of beer in the fridge.  It’s as if she read my mind: I couldn’t decide which one to try so I bought ‘em all, and she wasn’t going to make me choose which one to try first, I could try any of them at my whim and fancy, and there’d always be a cold one in the fridge.  She’s the best.

So about the week goes by, I don’t touch any of it because I inconveniently caught a filthy, disgusting head and chest cold.  I couldn’t stop dripping and sniffling and hacking long enough to even feel the desire for a beer.  Viruses are real bastards that way.

A few days on, I’m feeling about 90% today, not great, but not quite as shit as I was a few days ago.  Curry’s for dinner, so the only sensible beverage with a curry, as anyone with common sense knows, is a beer.  Or five.  I grabbed a Simpler Times Lager and took a hearty glug.  And nearly fucking hocked up my shrimp jalfrezi.


It was a touch bitter, with some notable fruits of turpentine, some mild fungoid accents, and commanding finish of Satan’s ball sweat.  This was easily one of the vilest things I’ve ever put in my mouth (shut up).  This was reprehensible.  I was thoroughly offended.  It actually made me tear up.  This is bullshit.  I waited all these years for Trader Joe’s to carry beer, and this is what I buy?!  WTF, Trader Joe’s.  WTF, me.  God, I can be such a douche.

To be fair, this was only one variety.  I still have 18 cans in three other varieties I haven’t sampled.  Who knows, they could be good.  And John Lennon might actually be resurrected in my breakfast oatmeal tomorrow after all the heartwarming Facebook status updates on the 30th anniversary of his death (you bunch of lemmings).

What the fuck am I gonna do with 23 cans of toxic swill?  I suppose I could bring it into my office, keep it my fridge, and “treat” the douchebags who annoy the shit out of me all the time.  Hell, they look like soda cans.  On a slow Friday, I could get wrecked right in my office and no one would suspect a thing with these cans littering my desk.  Calm down, there’s no such thing as a slow Friday for me.  And if I am gonna get wrecked at lunch, it’s gonna be at a pub with good proper beer – it’s the end of the week, and I’ve fucking earned it.  All the same, I could just keep it there and test myself to see just how desperate I’d have to be to crack one of these things open again.  How much would I have to loathe climbing into the car with five feet of snow outside to drive to the store to buy proper beer in order for me to sample a Red Oval.

God, I hope that day never comes.