Adventures in Near Drinking: Athletic Brewing “Run Wild” IPA

Well, it’s been so long since I actually sat down and tried to smith some words about drinking that I had to knock my head against a post just to remember my credentials.

Then it hit me.  The password, that is, not the post.  Plus also the post.

I’ve had a recent conversion, of sorts.  Like that guy, on that road, except maybe less dramatically Biblically so.

It turns out that Covid made me one thirsty, alcohol-spongin son of a gun, and it was affecting my health.

I know what you’re saying, though.  This is a beer blog (technically).  About beer drank by beer loving beer guys.  And these beverages are not technically beer, I am surmising, as the can calls it a “near beer” and an “N/A brew” but not a beer.

But now it’s time to put my own spin on this blog.

I’ve converted to an N/A devotee.

Not full time, mind you.  I do still enjoy stopping by all of my favorite local haunts for a real deal beer (specifically Buried Acorn and Freight Yard, but others also).

But in terms of what’s in my fridge, nowadays, I am not exaggerating when I say that while there are a couple of Guinnesses and late season Oktoberfests in there, the primary occupants are thirty individual cans of Athletic Brewing self described “near beer.”  I’ve even added a monthly subscription, so that I can get some of their other choices sent to me that are not carried at my local food jobber.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  There are all kinds of metaphors here to be made.  Here are a few that have gone through my head.

  1. Drinking an N/A beer is like watching a pornographic film where everyone keeps their underwear on.
  2. Drinking an N/A beer is like eating a vegan hot dog covered in mustard powder.
  3. Drinking an N/A beer is like taking a photo of a painting of a sunrise.

You get the idea.  It’s a near experience.

But, ultimately, this is about flavor and drinkability.  Being drunk is fantastic, do not get me wrong.  There’s a reason I’ve been doing it since 1987.  But, as I get older, I find that I really just want to enjoy a cold refreshing beverage, and in this regard, these Athletic Brewing beers hit the spot.

I’m going to start with their flagship brand, the “Run Wild” IPA.  This one is found locally at Wegmans and is I believe their most popular product.  It is, ITBMCBB*, “the ultimate sessionable IPA for craft beer lovers. Brewed with a blend of five Northwest hops, it has an approachable bitterness to balance the specialty malt body.”  Did you get all that?

And it is delicious!  It tastes, well, like an IPA.  I won’t get all specific with hops and notes and mouthy feels and shit, because that’s not how I do things.  But it’s good.  I come home from a run and crack open one of these fellers and pour it into a glass and then I’m just another guy having a beer.

And that, my friends, is what it’s about.

Look for future reviews of the Athletic Brewing stout, hazy IPA, copper ale, and raspberry lime radler in upcoming weeks.  I told you I’m all about this!

Spring Training – But My Liver is in Midseason Form (also enjoy a Biscotti beer!)

Well, what with the impending return of warmer weather, and, dare I say it, an increased ability to socially comingle with actual people in actual drinking situations, it seems like a proper time to start to loosen up and get into midseason form.  A spring training, if you will.

Oh, wait.  I drank beer all winter.  I’m already stretched out like a marathon runner here!

Still, my ambitions are larger than just “drink beer in 2021.”  Though that in and of itself is a lofty goal.

My goal for 2021 is to write more.  I try new beers all the time — whether it be at my favorite local watering holes or in my weekly selections from the local food jobber.  I take photos of them all the time, too — and if you follow our delightfully irreverent (that’s the word, right?  not irrelevant?) Instagram account you’d see that as well.  So, all that’s left is to put my sorry ass thoughts to words and paper and share them with the world.  I have a gift and it’d be abuse to not share it with you!

Take, for example, this beer right here.  Now, don’t literally take it.  It’s an image on a device of some kind.  (Dumbass.)

I had this beer last weekend after a morning five mile run with my local run club, where we start and ended our run at Now and Later.

A morning beer!  A breakfast beer!  Which of course, really, just means “a beer that is consumed at breakfast time.”

This beer was a real liver stomper from Evil Twin Brewing, based out of beloved Queens, NY.  I enjoyed it fully.   Described officially as an “imperial stout brewed with coffee and with almond and vanilla added,” at least ITBMCBB*, I found it dark and rich with a predominantly coffee taste but noticeable amounts of those flavors.  Even for a palatine Phillistine like myself, I could discern the variances.  Paired nicely with breakfast pizza from the local gas station (don’t judge me.  DON’T.).  And at 11.3% ABV it held a wallop.

I slugged this down and then did my weekly grocery shopping, wishing for much of that errand that I could just lie down on the floor of Wegmans and summon groceries into my cart using the persuasive power of coffee beer buzz and positive mindedness.  But alas and alack.

Nonetheless, recommended!  And perhaps, also, the beauty of bellying up to the bar and beholding a wonderous sight as this:

I get all verklempt just looking at it, to tell you the truth.

Speaking of Queens, NY, stay tuned for updates about a potential podcast discussing all things beer and Mets baseball related!  Starring your favorite non-botty Barley Prose contributors.

The Slop and Prison Wine and Pumpkin Beers

When I was in high school, obviously, alcohol was a bit harder for us to come by.

Obviously, we had our opportunities, when a friend’s older brother maybe was in town, or when we were clued in to some party in the woods somewhere where someone had procured a precious keg.

But, also, sometimes we took matters into our own hands.

I had a buddy Matt, who had a recipe on a yellowed sheet of loose leaf paper.  The end product of that recipe was a concoction that was fondly referred to as “the Slop.”  While I can’t recount the full ingredients list, it involved juice, and sugar, and yeast, and a cooler that was left alone in the forest somewhere to ferment for a bunch of weeks and do its thing.  And we drank the Slop and it was good.

Well, let’s redefine the term “good.”  It was alcohol and we made it and it was ours to drink.  And perhaps that was what was truly good about it.  Not the mouthfeel, or the hints or nuances.  We’d mix it with iced tea, or apple juice, or something to make it taste less like embalming fluid mixed with gummy bears, and then voila!  We was a drinkin’.

(What does this have to do with pumpkin beers and seasonal ales?  Bear with me, faithful readers).

The Slop was, in a certain parlance, our high school forest equivalent of prison wine.  Maybe a bit more elegant than a sock filled with yeast and orange slices hidden behind a toilet tank, but, yet, also maybe not so much.

To me, pumpkin beer is the craft equivalent of prison wine.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing but fond memories of my time slugging down the Slop in the wee hours of the night, in dark places with my friends.  And to me, pumpkin beer is the beer that tastes most like it was cooked up by enterprising and thirsty young kids trying to turn no-beer-nights into a fall festival.

This week, I’m drinking the Brooklyn Brewery’s “Post Road” Pumpkin Ale.

Not brewed in the woods by delinquent teens, to my knowledge


From those fine folks, ITBMCBB*, comes a drink that “use[s] a touch of spices and pounds of real pumpkins to create a warm but surprisingly crisp spin on the traditional pumpkin ales made by American colonists.”

This is a fine fall beer, with the right amount of pumpkinery. And like so many other products offered by the Brooklyn Brewing Company, this beer hits all the points you’d expect it to. I got to meet some of these folks when they had a table set up at the Great New York State Fair and I gushed about my love for their Brown Ale, their Bel Air Sour, and their various IPAs. I’ve yet to have a beer that these folks put out there that I wouldn’t buy again.

But here’s the thing. I’ll also go about 10 months without drinking a pumpkin beer and I will miss it about as much as I miss the Slop. Nothing against these guys, or anyone who puts out a pumpkin beer. But sometimes prison wine is best left out in the woods in that cooler.

I’m going to blow the dust of the ol’ Proseinator and let it bring this review home.

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What Have We Learned? (Spoiler: Belgian Beers are Fucking Gross!)

Well, so far, 2020 has been a real punch to the anus.

Not gonna sugar coat it.  Barley Prose isn’t exempt, either, as we’ve managed just four sad posts for the entire calendar year to date.  On behalf of the entire team, I’m sorry we haven’t generated more witty and urbane commentary to help you with the anal-punch-osity of 2020.

While I’ve been doing my part as a local beer consumer, buying growlers from all of my favorite local joints to keep them in the black best I can, cracking open big jugs of beer and not having anyone to share them with does take some of the fun out of it.

So what’s the thing that finally gets my juices flowing?  Enough to write a blog post?

It’s this.  I’ve learned something important this year. As Ralphie said, “Oh, rarely had the words poured from my penny pencil with such feverish fluidity.”

Belgian beer is fucking disgusting.

I like a wide variety of beers.  I’ve written about them here in many columns.  I enjoy stouts, and porters, and sour beers, and New England IPAs, and, really, any IPA.  Brown and red ales too.  I’m partial to just about everything except beers that taste like the beer I used to drink in the 1980s and 1990s to get drunk, before I was making any effort to find delicious beer to drink.

And in my time drinking with the intent of writing content for this fine site, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and tried a lot of new, different things.  And so I can say, authoritatively, that Belgium must be the saddest, off-spiced, nasty place in the world, if it can be judged based on the beers it produces.

Today’s representative offering is the Victory Brewery’s “Golden Monkey” Belgian tripel ale.  Tripel being, I assume, the Belgian word for “run through a homeless man’s shoe and/or a dead hooker’s asshole.”

I bought a variety pack of beers from Victory this past week and all of the other beer varieties in the pack were of a type I’ve been known to drink and enjoy. There were three each of a sour beer, a low calorie IPA, a regular IPA and a hazy style NE IPA. And three of these Golden Monkey beers, which might actually be apple juice that was anally raped and left in an alley to die a justifiably painful expiration.  I figured, well, at 9.5% ABV, I’ll at least give one a go.

Note that this beer, ITBMCBB*, has been infused with “exotic spice from the East.” Oh, good. I was hoping my beer would taste like a tuna casserole! How many warm summer nights did I crack open a cold one and think, “oh, man, this thing could use some fucking cardamom!” Oh, wait, that’s never happened, sorry. Only a jerk would think that.

Look, I’m not saying that all Belgian beers are as gross as this one. My co-bloggers may (and have) come to the defense of this style beer in a more general sense. I’ve had Stella Artois beers before, and Duvels, at least, and one or two others that I added to a Wegmans’ “Craft Your Own Six Pack.” And I can’t recall a single time that I thought it tasted better than any IPA I might have otherwise grabbed nearby.

So, to sum up, the next time you find yourself in Antwerp, and you have a thirst to quench, I’d suggest you give the bidet a try.

“On The Gargle,” a beer blogger’s tour of Dublin

I am fortunate enough to have a job that affords me some travel opportunities.  To date, those trips have all been domestic ones, but, finally, an opportunity arose for me to travel to Dublin for a week, all on the company dime.  And while there was much work to be done, there was also enough time for me to go out “on the gargle” a bit (i.e., out for some beers).

As someone who has already written specifically on the perfect nature of the Guinness, well, this was a wonderful opportunity to go to the source of this magic stuff.  And while I didn’t do the factory tour, I did sample quite a bit of it in Ireland, as well as some other common/popular beers there.

First, let’s start with “a pint of the black stuff.”  (I will be throwing the Dublin-specific jargon around in this blog post, in quotes, as one of the folks I was working with there was kind enough to teach me some drinking lingo.  This is in fact how they often order it over there, I can attest).

I had heard, from other folks in my workplace, that the Guinness in fact tastes different in Dublin. I will attest to that, but, also, that I only noticed it on the first Guinness I drank there. After that, they all just tasted like Guinness. Which is a fine, fine thing, of course.

I drank Guinness at just about every stop along my trip over the course of the week. It’s a good “foundation beer,” the base layer in a beer pyramid that I was assembling in my gut.

But there were many other fine choices that I enjoyed.

This is a Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale.  I learned, three days in, that despite the spelling, the locals pronounce it as “Smithick’s.”  It’s probably the second most commonly served Irish beer I saw on tap there (not counting “imports,” as there was Coors Light on tap there everywhere, and Carlsberg’s, and Heinekens, etc.).

This was maybe the beer I drank the second most of in my time there. They go down easy, have just 150 calories per 12 oz. serving, but with a smooth and easy to drink flavor. I bought a six pack of these at my local food jobber when I got back and they are equally good in a bottled format (just $9, too, another plus).

Another fine choice for when you’re out “in your cups,” as they say.

My enjoyment of the Smithwick’s led me to this tasty choice.  My hotel was within walking distance of a quaint little Irish pub, just far enough out of the city proper to feel like I had found some more authentic Dublin than the tourists might be frequenting.  A very punchy and funny bartender suggested that I might enjoy this one based on the fact that I was partaking of the Smithwick’s.  And then a fine local wanted to buy my wife and I a beer and so I ended up with a pair of these.  I ended up being not just “out” but in fact “out out” drinking, on that night.


It was certainly a tasty choice.  I don’t know that i enjoyed it more than the Smithwick’s, thought it was certainly a beer I’d drink again.  Also a red ale, but a bit thicker and stronger.

That same night, I partook in one of these.


At that point, though, I was deep enough “in my scoops” that I can’t recall whether or not I particularly liked it.

For an American drinker, used to a wide variety of beers, styles and flavors  locally, I think the range of beers I drank there was less diverse.  The folks at Guinness have taken a shot at making a lager-style beer, and this “Hop House 13” beer is also served all over town, from what I saw.


Lagers, to me, just aren’t interesting enough for me to want to drink them. This was a “one and done” beer for me.

The last beer from my tour was this one. I had this just once, on my last night in town. It was in fact the last beer I had in Ireland.


My punchy bartender friend, when I told him I was looking for something a bit more “beer flavored,” came out with this one.  This was the most IPA-style beer I had there and it was delicious.  Probably after the Guinness, it was the most memorable of the beers i had there.  I hope to find some of these in the states, but no luck as of yet.

I’d say, from the beer lover’s perspective, go to Dublin and drink a bunch of beers.  It’s a magical place, whether you get deep “in your scoops” or you’re just there “acting the maggot” (which means dicking around and not really trying very hard to drink correctly).

Brewery Review: Freight Yard Brewing, Clay, NY

I’m really the type of person to listen and pay attention to the signs out there.  Not street signs, although I pay attention to those too, best as I’m able.

I mean an omen.  A signal, telling me that I should go do something or go someplace.  This is the beer drinkers’ equivalent of Harry Potter drinking the liquid luck and then going to Hagrid’s.  You just have to go where you think you need to go and trust your instincts.

So, when you’re driving around your town, and you see a big fancy new sign on a building, on a stretch of road that is largely otherwise unoccupied, well, that’s a sign right there.

Especially a sign like this baby.

Blockin out the scenery breakin my mind


Turns out, as per their web site, this place has been making brews since 2016. Now there’s no way I missed a sign going up four years ago, 15 minutes from my house. No sir! Turns out, the tasting room just opened in the fall.

I finally made my way to this place the other night.  They’re only open on Fridays-Sundays, for now, so it’s a bit tougher to work that into my schedule, but when you get that sign, you follow it!

The building that houses this tasting room, as per a very personable bartender named Joe, has been many different things, as it sits near a train crossing or some other notable junction.  In any event, they’ve got some inventive decor and a real comfortable feel.

Not actually bouncy













Let’s move on from the assfeel of those stools to talk about the merch that matters, the brewskis.

While their web site details quite a number of enticing sounding drinks, they had just four of their own beers on tap the night I was there.  The bartender apologized that he didn’t have any of their wheat beers or other varieties to offer me.  I started instead with their signature beer, the Hitch IPA.

This beer, ITBMCBB*, is best described as a “traditional IPA, hop forward, unfiltered.” I found it to be refreshing and hoppy. It’s a 7.2% IPA, which is a happy place for me to get my blur on.

Any local place should be putting their own best IPA forward as the first beer to start with, and the Hitch IPA gets the job done.  This was despite the misgivings of my adjacent stool mate, who after a sample asked if they had “any beers that tasted like beer.”  He was offered a Kolsch which I think he preferred (I thought less of him for saying so).

I moved from the IPA next to their brown ale. As per the bartender, the brewer was attempting to make her own take on a Newcastle. Now, why someone would want to do that is beyond me. Newcastle is some thin, watery slop.  This self described “English style” brown ale, the “Loucastle,” was far more enjoyable. I think, after the fine Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale, this is probably my second favorite of this type that I’ve enjoyed personally.

This place has much to offer. First, don’t underestimate the value of a friendly and engaging bartender. This guy was on his own impetus offering me samples of the guest taps he enjoyed the most, just as one beer enthusiast sharing his joys with customers. That’s a first for me.

Another thing is that their menu included eight beers from other local craft breweries, including both a couple of known favorites of mine from Buried Acorn as well as some others I had not tried prior.  This is a very welcoming and open brewing community and the best places all seem to enjoy serving each others’ beers.

They also have some complimentary snacks for the drinking set – always a nice perk.  As Ceetar would tell you, a hard crunchy pretzel is the perfect compliment to a cold hoppy beer.

All in all, the Freight Yard Brewery is a choice spot and I’ll be headed back there soon.  I’m looking forward to their soon to be expanded hours (hopefully, later in 2020, to include Wednesdays and Thursdays), and to perhaps plan a running route nearby so that I can add this as a Run, Relax & Refresh spot to add to my list.

So if you’re in the vicinity of Clay, New York, do stop in and check this place out, and better yet, call or text me first and I will meet you there for a brown ale and an IPA.



Reports from the Wild: Ellicottville Brewing Company Super Duper Jelly Strawberry Cream Ale

I’m happy to bring you another updater from our intrepid gal on the mean streets of Buffalo, the indefatigable Breezer Marieezer (follow her on Instagram here!), sampling the Ellicottville Brewing Company’s very verbosely named “Super Duper Jelly Strawberry Cream Ale” beer and giving us her thoughts on it.   Cheers, Bree!

You Know Those IPA’s That Are Like, Double IPA’s, You Know?

(Hat tip to the Simpsons, and Otto, for the phrasing of the title of this blog post. )

I’m here to once again bring you a series of platitudes about beer drinking.  And that, my friends, is this.

Higher ABV in a beer makes it better.

This comes from the “bang for your buck” school of thought.

I’ve been trying to curtail my intake of late – as a parent of both teen and pre-teen children, I know that eyes are on me to make sure my head is screwed on straight.  Those post work beery meet ups and workout inspired hard seltzers, which lead to “cooking beers,” and so on, and, well, it’s a slippery slide.

Like a lot of folks, I’m what you call a “Black Diamond” drinker.  What I mean by that is, like a skier tackling the toughest of slopes, I start my day with a long gradual descent, during which my mood improves, my confidence builds, and, yes, my ability to make sense and limit profanity pushes its outer boundaries.  And then, as if being ejected forcefully from a lift, I go sailing down that downward side of the mountain, hurtling towards danger and potential destruction.

My answer to this has been the “one day, one beer” motto.  During the week, I’m holding myself now to just a single beer, had with dinner, to wash down my meal and hopefully pair up nicely with what I am cooking.  I try to keep a few Guinness or other darker beers in supply that go well with red meats, stews and other fall oven baked goodies.

But the go to beer has got to be a double IPA.  I mean, if I’m only going to have one, it should give me a bit of a brain wollop.


Having added more IPAs to my routine, I can say that the double IPAs only bring double joy, and no real negatives. The extra hoppy flavor is not overwhelming but rather a comforting friend, like Bob Saget’s homosexual companion Joey from Full House.

The Southern Tier brewery is based out of Lockwood, NY, which is in the very southwest corner of New York State, closer to Erie PA than any metropolitan area of the Empire State.  They have a wide range of beers and I’ve yet to have one that I didn’t enjoy.  This particular 2X IPA, ITBMCBB*, is “an India Pale Ale kicked up a notch to form a true Double IPA: feverishly hoppy with a malty backbone and higher-than-standard alcohol content. Citrusy hops tease the senses with aromatics and lingering bitterness, while just the right balance of malts disguises 2XIPA’s extra gravity.”

I mean, sure, yep, I agree!   I have no gift for flowery compliments.  It tastes good, yo!  It pairs well with chicken, or pizza, or, well, you know, anything you’d want to wash down.

I’m on the lookout for more locally available 2X IPA’s.  Please feel free to share your faves.

Let’s dust off the Prose-inator to bring this home:

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Dialing it Back: A Seasonal Tale

I drank a lot of delicious beers this summer.

In that sense, yes, it was a great summer.  You’d think that for all of the delicious IPA’s, stouts, porters, pale ales, lagers, and ales I knocked back, there’d be a greater wealth of posts from this past summer.

I made quite a list in my brain of all of the fantastic posts I had hoped to write:

  • A rumination on the various delicious Saranac beers, served at my hometown minor league park and all celebrated as being “the Official Beer of the Syracuse Mets.”  See this Legacy IPA, at left, as an example
  • A road trip post on the Iron City Light lager, enjoyed on a road trip to Pittsburgh with co-blogger Mr. D’Orso (even tentatively titled “Two Pickets to Titsburgh”).  This post would have maybe highlighted my immediate response, when asked how the beer was, and I enthusiastically commented on how cold it was and how it was paid for
  • A renewal of my “pairs at the Fair” that I wrote in 2018
  • A post race/beer recap from this summer’s Boilermaker 15k, annually the biggest local running race I participate in (17,000 runners) and that includes a fantastic beer and live music fiesta at the culmination, and the complication of wearing a giant birthday-cake shaped hat as I do for this event every year (true story), and how a reporter called me a liar when I pretended that I found said hat in a portajohn (also a true story)
  • More reviews from tasty choices at my two favorite local haunts, Full Boar in North Syracuse, and Buried Acorn in Syracuse

Mostly, what would happen though, is I’d snap a photo, turn a clever phrase or two in my brain, and then fog over into a hazy (often a New England haze) beer induced feeling of complacency and buzz).

Summer, really, is maybe the season best accompanied by beer.  Hot days at the ball park, on patios, with friends, are the perfect time to light into a tall cold one.  It just didn’t translate to a lot of posts or writing.

Fall, on the other hand, well, the fall lagers, the pumpkin beers, the Oktoberfests and so on, well, there are lots of tasty choices on the horizon for autumn.

But not for me, not yet.

I will see you, Oktoberfest beer. But not yet.

September seems like the perfect time for me to take a little hiatus, ease up off the gas pedal.  I don’t really need to knock back so many beers (and hard seltzers and vodka crans and etc etc etc), and there’s less temptation in the fall.  The kids are at school, we are more busy chauffeuring and running around, the baseball season has ended, and a lot of social opportunities to have beers with my buddies (rec league kickball games, weekday lunches on the sneak, etc) have kind of dried up.

And that’s actually OK.

Those fall beers will still all be on the shelf in a few weeks time.  And the summer beers in my fridge will still be plenty drinkable.

Caffeine or Alcohol? Life Choices are Hard, Yo

Coffee and beer.

It’s a direct contradiction in terms of motivation and effect.

Most people drink coffee because it’s a stimulant. It’s what gets me moving in the morning. Without it I’m about as useful as tits on a lawnmower. I need that caffeine to function and, perhaps more importantly, not kill all of you where you stand for giving me that look. You know the look I’m talking about. There, you’re doing it right now! Lucky for you I had my coffee this morning.

Then there’s beer. Drank for the opposite effect, really, at least in my case. Alcohol is not what I turn to for a pick me up. It’s what I turn to for a lay me down, really. Sit on the deck, grab my guitar, pop open a cold one, and soak up some summer.

So, what to do with a coffee beer?

Troegs is German for “Drink It”

Let’s be clear here, first of all. I love this Java Head Stout.

ITBMCBB*, this tasty libation is a “creamy oatmeal stout… infused with locally roasted, cold steeped coffee through our HopBack vessel releasing subtle hints of cocoa, roasted nuts and dark mocha.” You getting all of that?

The beer and coffee flavors meld together wonderfully. I drink a lot of dark beers, porters, stouts, and this is one of my favorites in terms of taste. It’s got a warm, rich flavor and the coffee is prevalent. It’s also certainly a stout beer. It’s got both the beer and coffee vibes working for it.

(Sorry, if you want notes, and hints, you need Ceetar. That’s not my bag.)

But when do I drink this thing?

I’m not having a beer in the morning. That’s for 3rd shift employees, and lifers, and fraternity guys who don’t have anything else to pour over their Golden Grahams.

I’m not having this beer with my weeknight dinner. As much as a good stout goes with beef, if I have one of these beers after 5 PM, I’ll be tossing and turning late into the night. Can’t have that, Poppa’s got to get up in the morning, run the miles, earn the bread, make Momma happy.

I’m not having this beer with my lunch on the weekend – I like to nap after lunch. It’s the weekend, after all. DON’T JUDGE ME.

So, the only time I’ve found to enjoy a coffee beer is Friday evening, after work. It’s not as big a deal if I am up late, because it’s the weekend and I’m going to nap the next day anyway.

A window of one night, one meal per week, to enjoy a coffee beer, doesn’t seem like enough. Perhaps I work too hard?