As some of you know, I am a writer of sorts on a completely amateur level (meaning, I don't get paid, and never will). My writing consists entirely of drinking a beer, writing my thoughts down on that beer, and posting those thoughts to this website, a project of a friend of mine and I going on 13 years now. 13 years, and 1330 beers later (with about 6 of us doing all the writing...approximately 900 of those are mine).
On a rare occasion, a brewer or a beer marketing firm stumbles across our website, and decides this would be a cheap and easy way of marketing their product, so they contact us and offer up a free sample. We've had some pretty good brewers send us their beer, which always amazes me because we write reviews like this:
Mow the lawn on the hottest day of the year in flannel pajamas. When done, pour the sweat from your nutsack into a bottle, slap a label on it, and as Emeril would say, "BAM!" You have Bud Light.
Honestly, if I was marketing a beer, I don't think I would want to run the risk, even if I knew I had a flawless product, of letting my product get into the hands of someone so immature they would use the word "nutsack" in a beer review. Or, there are our reviews for Iron City Lager. I disliked that beer so much, I asked an Australian for advice on insults.
Now, for every review that dances across the thin line of Satire and Libel, there is one that inspires sycophantic praise that would simply make you feel embarrassed for me. So, maybe those are, by some freak chance, the ones these marketers are seeing. And, when they do, they somehow feel compelled to send me the best kind of beer on earth: Free Beer.
Unbeknownst to me, my friend that does all the production work on the website had been in touch with one such marketer, and he had given her my address as well when she offered to send us beer. So, it was with great surprise when I opened my front door to go out to get the morning newspaper and saw this box sitting outside (we often enter our house through our garage, so the box arrived the night before without our knowledge). I brought the box inside and took a boxcutter to the tape, praying I wouldn't find something horrible, like free samples of Christian music. Instead, upon opening the flaps, I saw this:
Sure, it looks like a box of beer coasters and a letter, but the key point here is the (hippie recycled) shredded cardboard packing. When you have that in a box, unless it's a joke birthday gift, that means there's precious cargo inside. I reached deep inside (I should've looked at the shipping label, for all I know this came from Australia and it was full of Redback spiders), and felt glass bottles. There were four of them, so I also figured it wasn't the ashes of deceased relatives (you never know what my mom will send in the mail). I pulled them out, one by one, and found these:
I always say that it's important to have a hobby. And as you can see, some hobbies can yield much cooler results than other hobbies. Well, warm at first, but after time in the fridge, cooler.