30 August 2009

The Horse that Beer Built

When I first began imbibing alcohol (not a moment before the very day of my 21st birthday, Mom, I swear) beer was anathema to me. I'd show up to crunchy skater/hippy keg parties with my drink of choice - a $2.99 bottle of Andre pink sparking wine tucked under the arm of my faux fur coat - and wrinkle my nose in disgust at those red cups full of the sudsy, sour brew I loathed. (Because the Andre's was so much better, right? [Insert eye roll here]).
I was friends with a group of elegant bachelors at the time who had a penchant for Pabst Blue Ribbon, often enjoyed of a Monday evening, over viewings of Melrose Place. In time I came to imbue the thought of that beverage with their charm. Not that I drank it or anything. Gross.

I can't even recall when I finally crossed over to the amber side, but at some point I discovered the liquid joy that is my German birthright. One night at his bar my friend Joe filled a pint glass full of ice with PBR for me, calling it a Texas Shandy, and thus was my love affair with the Blue Ribbon finally consummated. How typical that it took giving it a fancy name and putting it on ice for me to enjoy.

Did you know PBR was once brewed right here in Los Angeles? As a further testament to the beer's general awesomeness, once the factory was decommissioned, it was turned into an enormous art colony, now known as The Brewery (above). I recommend you visit their annual open studios It's a fantastic opportunity to snoop into people's living spaces, I mean, appreciate local art. Ahem.

But let's get back to beer. Saturday, Mr. Sybarite and the Bunni and I are attending a first birthday party. It is our first visit to this home. We don't know the host & hostess very well, and as you do, I'm trying to figure out who they are based on how they've filled their house. Upon entering the kitchen I spy the placard you see at right:

My thoughts: "Hmmm. A fellow PBR fan. With a questionable sense of humor." I stow this mote of information away without making much fuss. Lots of people drink the Blue Ribbon. Even more make jokes about *wink wink* the ol' Ball and Chain. It doesn't make us kindred spirits or anything.

But then. I step outside and am immediately struck by this Thing of Beauty:
Please pardon the crappy picture - it was all I could do to keep my head from exploding as I snapped. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it is a Trojan Horse. Made of PBR cans. Let's admire it together, shall we? Here's another photo, for a sense of scale.

Now I knew I was among brethren. Not even so much for enjoying the beverage, as for the creativity, the sheer obsessiveness it takes to invent a reason to drink that much beer, to lovingly save that many cans, and the skill to turn one man's trash into treasure. Talk about Art - look at the Bronze Age-esque, pointy stylized mane. Look closely at the first photo, and note the ladder hanging down.

Here's a photo of the creator - we'll come him Colonel Mustard - with Mrs. Mustard and Muffin:

Aren't they adorable? Cheers, guys! And thanks for inspiring not just this post, but a very special Greek event you readers will be hearing about soon. Stay tuned!

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