WIT MEMO pines for the day when the large chunk of Americans currently burnishing the sharp edges off life with prescription pharmaceuticals will finally leave off messing with the rest of us who'd rather self-medicate with the fermented food stuffs that have served humanity so well that a few thousand years ago we nixed the nomadic lifestyle and commenced tilling the soil just so we could grow a steady supply of the ingredients. In proof of that adage that nothing good can last too long without someone stepping in it, the same crowd that can always be counted on to throw a triple axle should anyone whisper "liquor license" near their neighborhoods have gone and got the BEER FEST booted out of DC to, of all places, the NISSAN PAVILION in distant hinterland Bristow, Virginia.
And thus into the toilet goes what had proven these last four years to be as much daytime downtown DC fun as can reasonably be crammed into a few hours: getting filled to the brim with some of the freshest, tastiest exemplars of the brewer's art ever assembled so close to the corridors of power, amid the tantalizing aromas of multicultural meats a-sizzlin' over hot coals and the seductive strains of live music from two stages. Best of all, the H-street location, practically in the shadow of the Capitol, beneath skies that were eerily blue year after year, gave MD and VA visitors reason to come to town on the weekend besides schlepping relatives around museums and monuments. As the Beer Fest was only a coupla blocks from Metro Center, and just a quick, no-transfer D2 bus trip from WIT MEMO's Glover Park grotto, we could greedily guzzle pilsners, pale ales, stouts, marzens, bocks, porters, and oh-so-potent barleywines with the abandon inherent in knowing you won't be spending the afternoon calculating blood alcohol percentages, gazing longingly at coolers bristling with tap handles like Beavis 'n' Butthead at Hooters, or worrying whether the drive home will deliver you to your door, your grave, or the cross-bars hotel.
Okay, so maybe the Beer Fest wasn't all about Getting Hammered. As premier
DC beer writer GREG KITSOCK noted in new brewrag MID-ATLANTIC
BREWING NEWS, upscale post-yuppie street fairs of this ilk have never
been big draw s among hardcore toss pots craving a fast cheap drunk. The
Beer Fest was a thoughtful homage to the brewer's craft and the American
beer renaissance that consistently showcased a cornucopia of exceptional
local beers. But while the Beer Fest was never about catching a buzz, our
enjoyment of the Beer Fest had became so integrally entwined with the good
cheer and phony camaraderie characteristic of public intoxication that
we can't envision attending the Beer Fest and NOT catching a buzz.
Beer that good, varied and strong (the tastiest brews were often the most
potent) demands to be drunk in quantities that can make you drunk.
It's just part and parcel of the way the Recovery Industry, abetted
by sanctimonious sawbones currently prescribing antidepressants-du-jour
with the same trust-me confidence they formerly exhibited while ladling
out amphetamines and barbiturates by the fistful, has labored to expand
its customer base by stretching the definition of substance abuse until
it entangles anyone who admits enjoying the salutary and socially lubricant
effects of fermented barley malt infused with hops, anyone not offended
by Houseman's observation that malt does more than Milton can, to
justify God's ways to man. The zero tolerance drumbeat began before last
year's Beer Fest, when homeless advocate and wannabe politico TERRY
LYNCH of the DOWNTOWN CLUSTER OF CONGREGATIONS sullied his rep
for good works with a lyin' and cryin' WASHINGTON POST op-ed invoking
the specter of drunken hooliganism certain to ensue from staging a "beer
blast" in the same hallowed boulevards down which JFK's bier once rolled.
Lynch painted this outrage as a Fast One foisted off on an unsuspecting
public by that Snidely Whiplash MAYOR BARRY, but neglected to mention
that three previous Beer Fests all went off with nary a hitch. This year,
that same attitude found a voice in residents and merchants of would-be
Beer Fest locale CAPITOL HILL/EASTERN MARKET, who kicked up such
a Big Stink over the prospect of public urination that the Beer Fest folded
up its tents and abandoned the District altogether. (Beer Fest organizer
MARK DUROS assured WIT MEMO
that Mr. Lynch's bellyaching played no part in the intended move, and,
thankfully, they're hoping to give DC another shot next Spring.)