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Inspirational Reads

An Irish Saint and a Confession

March 17, 2009

I have already detailed the life and times of St. Patrick (or was it Saint Palladius?), so I won't rehash old posts, merely provide you with the link. However, do remember that today is the feast day of the Patron Saint of Ireland, which means lots of drunken revelry coupled with the phenomenon I like to call "Erin Goes Bra-less" along with countless sad motherfuckers stumbling around bars strapping on fake accents and asking the fair, drunken lasses "Pardon me, dear one, but do ye have any Irish in ye? Would ye care for some more?" God, horny drunks are so creative.

I, however, won't be participating in such activities. Not that I wouldn't mind bedding a fair Irish lass--oh, wait, I already have one...wan, fair complexion, red hair and a filthy mouth all included! No, this whole drinking thing isn't for me, not any more. Oh, don't worry, I'm not going to get all high-and-mighty on your sinners asses, no, not today. The reason for my teetotalism isn't out of some overdevelop sense of higher morals, it's strictly physiological.

It's with a heavy, sober heart that I come before you and admit: I've developed a wicked allergy to hops.

If you know me, you know that I love beer. Not the macro-swill that you pound down at a tailgate in order to be able to stomach the sad state of affairs Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham have put on the, I love craft brews. I've sampled well over a thousand beers in my day from 37 different states and 17 different countries (if you count Scotland and Wales as their own countries, that is). I even drove way the hell out of my way in order to stop off at a crappy microbrewery in West Virginia so that I could add one more beer and one more state to the list.

That microbrewery trip was the one where I finally had to start facing up to the truth that I had a problem. See, with the merest sip of a beer these days, my throat begins to close, my breathing becomes ragged, and my stomach lurches. The sad thing is, I used to absolutely love my beers with hops. I've had 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head shot through Randall the Enamel Animal where the hops was so powerful, it felt like I could pick them from my teeth. I've had a slightly chilled Stone IPA where I thought, "Hmmm...yes, that's about right", despite the fact that Stone's beers are typically offensively hopped (as much as I love hops, some beers are ruined by an overabundance of their oils). Research even says that hops could be good for the heart and most likely they would exhibit positive anti-oxidant levels in your blood (hops are antioxidants for beer, thus their use as preservatives). But none of this is for me. Not any more.

60 Minute IPA is what the Gods themselves drink.

I used to run my own beer blog where I was attempting to review beers, breweries and beer-based books. I even used a picture of a naked woman festooned with strategically-placed hops as the "mascot" of said blog, but as the hop allergy became worse, I had to suspend my work and, with a heavy heart, delete my beloved blog from the blogosphere. Even now, I'm tearing up a little.

So, my friends, while you're out in the bars wearing your plastic green bowlers, pretending to love Guinness and pinching the asses of those ladies who had the bad foresight not to wear green tonight, I ask you to down at least one pint and think of me. I'll be at home sipping on my Diet Dr. Pepper and watching Notre Dame piss away their first-round NIT game.

Regardless of my personal afflictions, let me wish you all a Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Also, happy birthday to my old drinking buddy Pat, aka Dr. Assy. Hopefully, he got a replacement laptop for the one that was stolen from his apartment and can read this once more.


Call Me Cate said...

I think this is one of the saddest posts I've ever read...

Thanks for stopping by!

Susan said...

I've been dealing with red wine causing me skin allergies - and I I seriously have my entire back patched up at this very damn moment for the week to test for other causes... PLEASE let it be wool, or perfume, or any type of food in the world but don't let it be my red wine!!!!!!!!!!!! PS... You a Duke fan??? My graduate school alma matar (and where I still live) Binghamton Univ. just made their first tournament bid ever and plays Duke Thursday night. WHOOOO HOOOOOO.

Sassy Britches said...

Ick, how sad. On a happy note, I did enjoy the picture of all your bottles lined up on the deck railing with the view behind it!

Gwen said...

Oh noes! This is terrible news! I'm so sorry.

I don't care for beer but I promise to raise a glass of Magners for you tonight!


Cora said...

Happy St Patrick's Day! And, hey, don't feel left out. I won't be drinking or pinching asses either. I'll be attemping to bake a green colored pizza for the kids. Mmm, appetizing, no? Blah.

Anna Russell said...

"If" you count Scotland as its own country? Oh, don't make me go tartan (whatever that means)!

This is so sad. I've had to deal with the same thing with red wine. One glass brings on a raging headache, any more than that and I'm about ready for the hospital. It's horrible.
Just switch drinks. It's not the same, but it's better than sobriety.

Chemgeek said...



Allergic to hops?!?!??!? Holy fuckin' friggin crap shit!!!!!

My dear friend. If I had only known I...I...I... I'm sorry, I don't have the words right now.

this is a bitter pill to swallow ('pun' intended).

DEAR GOD, WHY!!!!!!!!


On another note, I'm glad it's you and not me:)

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Call me Cate: Thanks for the support. Do you have a shoulder or a large pair of breasts I can dry my tears on?

@ Susan: Nope, not a Duke fan, but since I live in the same town as Duke, I know they're up against Binghamton. Also, I know two people who grew up in Binghamton. They went to Shendango Forks High School or whatever the hell word that is.

@ Sassy Britches: Sorry, those aren't my bottles. I have had every beer pictured, except for the second from the right. I do love Dogfish Head beers. That was just one of the better pictures of their bottles lined up that I could find.

@ Gwen: You're a saint, you know that?

@ Cora: Because I'm lazy, I didn't cook my usual Irish dinner this year. Plus, it's just me and the kids. Oh, and I'm also pissed about how my mother-in-law, when my wife called her to tell her about the effort and the meal I had cooked, said "Did he make soda bread, because if he didn't, what's the point?" *grumbles Irish-sounding curses under his breath*

@ Anna: Technically, Scotland still is under English control. I realize it has its own parliament and such, but the Stone of Scone still rests beneath the Throne. Oooooooo...rhymie. The last time I took a sip of even a mildly-hopped beer, I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. Anaphylaxis sucks.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Chemgeek: You're all heart, you know that? *sips his Diet Dr. Pepper*

You're right, it was a tough pill to swallow...but at least, by no longer drinking, I can still swallow. The sensation of one's throat going closed is not exactly...pleasant. Anaphylaxis sucks.

Scope said...

Do the Irish have another spirit that they are fond of to substitute? Wisk-something? If not, margaritas are traditionally green for St. Patty's.

words...words...words... said...

Thank you for all the pictures of Irish lasses! For me, St. Patrick's Day is all about the wearin' of the red if you know what I mean! *rimshot*

I love hops too, that's a tough break. Did you get to try Red Hook's ESB and IPA? They're phenomenal.

Frank said...

Now I feel like kind of a pussy to admit that I don't care too much for beer. I pretend to like Guinness, but apart from that, any heavy or dark beer just makes me gag...I like cheap, lite, domestic beer that goes down smooth as water and tastes like it too.

I'd say I was a failure to my Irish heritage, but...I don't have any Irish in me.

mike said...

I am more of a "macro" beer kind of guy. But I will go try some of this, because it sounds like you know what you're talking about, and someone who loves beer so much would not steer me wrong. What is the difference between 60 and 90 minute IPAs? (and don't say "30 minutes" smart ass.)

Kimizzy said...

I, too, am allergic to something in alcohol. Every time I drink it, I break out in handcuffs.

That's sorta why I just stay away from it altogether.

Anyway, feel your pain, although I'm sorta happy to be freed from booze, but that's getting too serious for this fun day.

Happy St. Patty's Day to you too!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Scope: I believe that other substitute would be "booze". And despair.

@ Words^3: If you have as much fun staring at them as I had looking for them, then, by all means, enjoy. Also, "wearing of the red" has just become my new euphemism when the wife comes home from work.

@ Frank: You're right; you're a pussy.

@ Mike: 30 minutes. See what I did there? Ha ha ha! Actually, they continually hop the beer for 60, 90 or 120 minutes, which means they're always dropping in fresh hops so that you get a richer, cleaner hops flavor in the beer. And, well, in theory you should get more hops flavor, but I've always found 60 Minute IPA to be a bit hoppier than 90 Minute.

@ Kimizzy: And, I'm guessing that's not the good kind of handcuffs, where a bit of the "wearing of the red" happens later.

Nej said...

I'm not a beer drinker, but I'll still say a silent prayer for you. The loss of a loved one is never easy.

Jidai said...

I won't be drinking much tonight, the wife doesn't like that.

Joe said...

So have you tried mixing anti-histamines and beer?...always a big help, I know.

Hap said...

That sucks. I live about a mile from a Budweiser plant and so if I'm really lucky the aroma (since I don't like beer much to start with) will waft in my direction. The possibility of it closing my throat in addition to being annoying would certainly not improve things.

Chemgeek said...

Tonight I am drinking beer for you while I watch Notre Dame in the NIT. See my blog for proof.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Oh mjenks, that sucks big time. I'm sorry.

You should make your new drink of choice Mike's Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice.
Other dudes will give you a pass because of your allergies and won't kick your ass because of it.

I think.

Dave Perrey said...

NOOOO!!!!! Say it ain't so. That is truly tragic.

But if you have any of that Dogfish Head IPA still lying around the house you need getting rid of, just let me know...

Soda and Candy said...

Oh you poor thing!

At least it's only beer and not booze in general that afflicts you thusly.

I used to be able to drink a decent amount back in the day but fell out of practice and now I can barely have a single alcoholic drink without my eyes feeling like they're going in opposite directions (I call it "goldfish swimming in different bowls")

Kimizzy said...

Either way, actually.

pistols at dawn said...

So sad indeed. I can only hope that I die before developing such an allergy.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

OH MY GAWD!!! Do you need me to send an emergency fix of xanax and Ho-ho's? While they aren't as good as the hops, they are a cheap substitute . WHat did the doctors say? Do we have the technology? Can we rebuilt it? Is there a pill or something? For the Love of GAWD, there has to be a way........
Of course, if not, I will be more than happy to throw myself on that pint of beer and take one for the gipper. Cause that's just the kind of blog-stalker-friend that I am.