Everyone except the cheap-beer-bellied TSA agent snickered when I exited the examination dungeon, winked at the crowd in line and declared, “Thanks for the happy ending!” How do we commiserate over humiliations like being fondled by one of Janet NaGropeItano’s minions? (Yes, Napolitano has minions and it’s easy to picture her sprawled out, legs akimbo, in her Barcalounger, remote clutched in a meaty fist, watching wrestling on TV while dribbling Schlitz down her chin, isn’t it? Yes, it is. Sadly.) Stop! Drive that horrible image from your mind! Back to the question!
The good news is that even the airport bars now stock craft beers. Yes! 8am is a bit early for a beer, so I settle for orange juice with a bartender and fellow passengers who tell their own stories of TSA thuggings. Quite remarkable that the bartender shared his observant distrust of these agents in a concerned, whispered conspiratorial tone. This does not bode well for a country founded on principles of individual freedoms. Landing in Phoenix at lunchtime brings hope for malty meditations.
Friendly TSA here echo stories of Philly and speak openly of some TSA who raise their swollen colossus each morning from their mother’s basement sofa thinking their swill-stained badge makes them centurian overlords of the masses. Disturbingly comforted by Arizonans who confide their belief that the very worst of their TSA brethren are concentrated in Philly, I make my way to a forgettable sterile tavern in concourse D that offers an interesting choice to pair with the expectedly bland chicken-cheese-mystery goo sandwich: Pyramid Hefeweizen, whose label proudly identifies itself as a denizen of Seattle, Berkeley and Portland. My conservative tastes find the surprisingly liberal quantity of 1 pint, 6 ounces rather appealing, despite my immediate (and quickly subdued) curiosity of how much I’ll be charged. ($7.46 it turns out.)
The Pyramid pours a light orange, yeastily unfiltered into a generous tulip-shaped glass, announcing its arrival with a solid half-inch of head delightfully holding up under the rim, though with little lacing. There’s a slight hint of citrus on the nose, likely stifled by over-refrigeration. The taste is mellow, as is the mouthfeel, distinctively American in its hefeweizen lineage. Malt and wheat swirl over the taste buds, offering a most balanced experience. In this time of harrowing innocent Americans with failed methods to detect terrorists like hiring too many lardish dolts to molest children and elderly women in public places and relying on failed technologies as opposed to investing in proven professional techniques used by El Al airlines, it’s gratifying to experience professionalism in any endeavor, especially brewing. Keep America Strong! Keep the government out of brewing and feed more beer to bureaucrats!
Don’t stay thirsty, my friends, Slake It!
Today’s unusually snarky column was inspired by a Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale and a commonly unpleasant Philly TSA Experience.