Thurdsday May 21, 2020

We live in interesting times...

Unless you live in Freedonia, or have been under a rock for several years, you now know about what no one saw coming, the Great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. The New York metropolitan area was hit especially hard during the outbreak. As of this writing, there have been 358,154 people in New York State who have tested positive for the virus (out of 1.6M tested, or 22.3%)—there were nearly 1700 people who tested positive just today. Of those testing positive, 23,195 people have, sadly, died (6.5%).

Of course, everything here has shut down for the last two months except for essential services and businesses. For some reason, bars and restaurants are not considered essential, which means there's no place to hold a Dad's Night Out even if we wanted to. And even if we could meet somewhere, I'm not sure we would be ready to go out—after all, with kids in or finished with college, we are of a certain age...

So we did the next best thing: a Virtual Dad's Night Out.

David and I met up on Zoom at 7:00 PM. One of the rituals of DNO is passing a pint around to give a brother a sip of whatever interesting brew you've stumbled upon. Very likely, that's a thing of the past in a post-COVID-19 world, until a coronavirus vaccine is developed. During a pandemic shutdown, that issue is moot, naturally. We are each confined to drinking wahtever's available around the house. In this case, as luck would have it, David and I were able to somewhat share a virtual beer.

David is a big fan of Trader Joe's Quinquagenary 2017 Vintage Ale† and he bought me several bottles as a housewarming gift a while back. It's a fine brew, made by Unibroue, for the upscale California-based grocery chain. Dark, mildly spicy and very smooth, it packs a punch with its 9.0% ABV rating. Over the course of a couple of hours, I managed to kill the 750 ml bottle. That's the equivalent of 25 ounces, or a little more than two 12-ounce cans, but given that your average Budweiser is around 4% ABV, it's the equivalent of about five beercans worth of alcohol—but I digress... David had a 2019 vintage of the same beer that he broke out later during VDNO.

David started out, however, with an Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon. Kevin soon joined in on the shenanigans. He must have been channelling the same wavelength, because he was also enjoying a bourbon, in this case Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey.

It is so great to hang out, albeit virtually, with these guys after a long hiatus! Added bonus: no crowd noise!

By this time, I was both really feeling the nice buzz of the heavy beer and running out of it, so I cracked open a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red. Normally I tend to go for a single malt scotch—that is, a scotch from a single distillery, versus a blend of malts—but I have to admit Johnnie Walker Red is really terrific for a blend. Probably the main reason I think this is that one of the malts used in the blend is my favorite scotch, Talisker 10. Over the winter, I like to curl up by the fire with a scotch while watching my country fall apart on MSNBC, and I had recently finished up bottles of Laphroaig (very strong: peaty with a bit of iodine) and a delightful Grangestone (thank you, Dan!). So the Johnnie was next in the queue.

David cut out, leaving Kevin and I to right the world's wrongs and discover the meaning of life. It took a while, but we managed it.

While VDNO definitely pales in comparison to the real thing, it was definitely fun to hang out with old friends again. I can certainly see this becoming a regular thing until everything returns to normal (assuming that actually happens...)

(n., quin ⋅ qua ⋅ jen′ uh ⋅ ree,) A fiftieth-year celebration (from the Latin quinquagenarius).

The Cloud

David, from his homebase in The Halls of Justice, and Steve in a World of Beer

David showing off his pineapple, and kevin checks in while it is still light out

Trader Joe's Quinquagenary 2017 Vintage Ale

David shows off his casting couch, while steve checks in from Valhalla

The lads share a laugh while the evening rolls on

I am well Red

It's definitely getting weirder...

...And getting darker, too.

Kev and Steve pick up the mess