This is supposedly a very exciting time to be lover of beer here in The Cleve.  We throw ourselves a raging Cleveland-flavored kegger every October, and this time we've got The Neighbors joining the party.  Trumpets blaring. Red carpets lining the sidewalks to merchant doors. Confetti and whatnot. Rejoicing in the streets.  Pure. Malted. Bedlam.

First we have The Big Comeback.  The Prodigal Son knocking on our border's door. The Return of The King.  For the first time in...well, not that long, Ohio can add itself to the list of states on Three Floyds website under Distributes To.  So yay.  We now have the opportunity to buy $17 bombers of some pale ale.  Don't get me wrong- when I was in Chicago this summer, I drank an irresponsible amount of Zombie Dust... but don't re-launch in your neighboring state with your long-standing British Mild, DIPA, and a Barlywine and expect my wallet to get Fear Boner.  Manufactured fanfare and a few stellar, non-available, offerings don't really endear me to overpaying for the rest of your lineup.  You've brought a kazoo to play in a brass band.  Thanks, Three Floyds-  But kinda no thanks.

But...but, but We've got YUENGLING coming!  Soon!  Monday!  Huzzah!  Parades!  Fireworks!  Golden Showers!  Great!  We finally get to have some of the oldest brew in the United States, where it'll sit in the coolers next to the other stalwarts like Budweiser, Coors, and Busch.  Better late than never, eh?  Maybe my enthusiasm has been soaked by years of substandard bootleg kegs and overpriced cans served by subversive dives, but Yuengling has a long ladder to climb before it gets to the top of my Cheap Beer heap.  But... You like it.  Or say you like it.  So thanks for coming next door, Yuenling-  L'chaim. Prosit.  Word to Your Mutha.

It's hard for me to get my juices flowing for these also-rans when there's still so much good shit out there that we can't get.  Half Acre. Terrapin. Uinta. Russian River.  I'll even make you a deal- I will proudly sport the biggest* Fear Boner, while wearing spandex tights,  as I empty my bank account the day I can get some Fat Tire at the corner store. ( *biggest is relative to a mini-Snickers)

Okay, so I'm not all that impressed with The Neighbors- I've seen their schtick, and I'm already kinda fucking bored with it.  But there's still Us!  We're still awesome and we've got tons of kegs to kick before the end of the month.  Streamers! Majestic Guitar Solos! Riots! Wasabi Snooters!  This is the third year for Cleveland Beer Week, and now it's SO! BIG! that it needs Four (4! 1,2,3,4!) Flagship events.  That's almost a Flagship-A-Day! (but it still can't get a site that's not a absolute abomination of design.  Whoever put that thing together needs to have their fingers hacked off and given to feed hogs.)  And... and I'm not really looking forward to it.  I'm the sad kid sitting in the corner, pointy birthday hat on my head, staring at my shoes.  Because the inept personalities and egos that fill the Cleveland Beer landscape are...tiresome.  I get it. You're awesome.  You're a Beer Martyr, working tirelessly and without pay to let me know that Robert's Pub on Forty-First Street has some rare Leprechaun Piss on tap.  You've got free tickets to give away for the IPAlooza happening at Jamie's Flea Market.  Thanks,You-  I don't know where I'd be without You...except still enjoying a beer with my friends.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy any of the fantastical beer we have here in The Cleve.  But Beer Week seems to me The Alot like Sweetest Day, a manufactured holiday to celebrate something you should probably already be celebrating all along.  So get out and drink something Local- meet your buddies at a bar, have 'em over to your place, hang out with the bum on the corner, Shit, meet me out for a bevvie or five.  I promise I won't greet you with a Fear Boner.

It all started when I tried to leave The Cleve.

It was mid-May. I was on here telling peoples not to go to a beer event that ended up being pretty cool. Oops.  So there was that. But I had incinerated the end of my wick; done with the city and scene that I had called home for most of my life.  There was just nothing left for me to burn to the ground with my fiery habit.  I was going to move on, dousing the flames still flickering at my campground.  I was going to Chicago to find Love and Career.

And then like a 1960s backyard rocket, things went I crashed into the ground. Hard. Hard enough to shatter my elbow in 3 places. Short sight saw nothing but disaster.  Surgery, a metal plate, 2 screws, a torn ligament, and 3 months of rehab later, I'm still in Cleveland, a happy little planet stuck in the grasp of an all-consuming Black Hole. I'm also crushed beyond Smitten and on a better career track. Funny, right?  Which means things worked out better than I had planned for, which is always how it is for shlubs like me, aight?

Which is much like my beverage of choice tonight. Shots of Devil's Cut bourbon, chased by the simplicity of an Oktoberfest brew. The spicy sweet bite balanced with malty tradition. On paper,it...doesn't work out.  Not really planned for, it's the lovechild of drinking what I currently have on hand.  But the two of them work together far beyond expectations.

Much like my time here this past Constructive Summer.