Old man vents spleen. Just as my aged forebears raised a gnarled
fist against neighbor children everywhere, so too shall I roar
ineffectually about small matters.
All aboard, all aboard JB Alworth's Fantastic Flying Time MachineTM! Today we'll set the dial back 25 years and visit a gentler Portland, a time when men wore flannel unironically and the blogger was a dashing 21-year-old with a luxurious mane of chestnut locks. We can pick a tavern at random--in those days brewpubs were rare--and park ye olde time machine behind that dumpster there. After we pick our way through the VWs and Pintos, we find ourselves at the door of a window-free building, preparing to enjoy a night out on the town and MOTHER OF GOD, what is that toxic cloud!? Oh, right!--smoking. Ah, thems were the days.
Things are worse than I remembered. The fashion--hoo boy, the fashion. I had sort of forgotten the shoulder pads, day-glo pink, and mullets. There's a melancholic warble of Bob Seger on the juke box ... oh man, let's get this over with. As we make ourselves through the blue haze, there it is, on that table over there. As if glowing from the inside, a beacon of light in this dark age, a pitcher of beer. Sure, it's an eight-dollar pitcher of Hamms, but focus. I'm pointing out the vessel, not the liquid.
You see it? All right, let's get the hell out of here.
Only hardcore nostalgics will recall fondly most of the elements of that scene, and yet I fear we have thrown the pitcher out with the mullet. You can now get any flavor of beer ever conceived, but good luck trying to get it in a pitcher. I get that breweries and pubs won't want to be handing out 64 ounces of barrel-aged barleywine, but what about the house stout? On Saturday, while hanging with friends at Ecliptic, one of us old-timers asked if they had pitchers. Nyet. He frowned and shook his head sadly, as geezers do when they find the world has changed for the worse, and invested two minutes in a half-hearted rant.
But he's right! You can keep the Seger, the shoulder pads, the smoky bars with bad beer--but can we at least have the pitchers back?