North End Social Club, Tacoma

Sour No. 4 – American Pale SourABV: 6.0% SRM: 5 IBU: 4 A refreshing pale sour brewed with Lactobacillus using a base of 2-row, pilsner and wheat malts. Dry hopped with Bitter Gold for a hint of citrus, this tart, medium-bodied beer is bursting with aromas and flavors of apple, pear and stone fruits.

That’s the company line. I didn’t find in apple or pear in this beer and I don’t even know what stone fruit is. The beer is sour. Starts off with a bite and lingers at the tip of your chest. 

This was bought for me by a friend from a new bottle shop in Tacoma, Washington. The shop is the North End Social Club. It has a fantastic tap list. If you are in the area stop in. If you tell the proprietor you heard about them through the Fat Gringo Beer Blog you’ll get a quizzical look and the opportunity to pay for a jug of great beer. 

Jimmie G

Got GoT? 

Ommegang hasn’t disappointed with the Game of Thrones line yet. I had the Blinde a few years back and last year’s Dark Saison. If anyone has tried the other years please chime in. 

The hoppy wheat ale was just that. Not really an IPA, meaning it wasn’t a hop bomb. However, there wasn’t the clove or  banana typical to wheat beers. All in all it was a good drink. I had this a few weeks back when things were being set up for the War of the Bastards episode. So not the best in the series. 

Still. Glad to see Ramsey get his comeuppance. 

The Sentinel says Goodnight.

A fat tongue rolls over dry lips, swollen from dehydration. They taste like novocaine and spearmint. His tongue makes another run over dry lips. Just get up! Move you fucking crumb bum! GET UP!

Another run over the lips, this time his tongue rests for a bit, tickling the corner of his mouth, before ducking back in.

He could feel a tired burn sitting on his eyes. Or was that blood? Crusted, and scabbed? Maybe both.

Get up. On three. One..two…tongue darts out, looking for something to latch onto…threeee.

The only thing that moved were the muscles in his neck, now strained and sore. His head didn’t even make it off the floor.

The floor. His head was on the floor. His head was the only part of his body he was aware of. Wipe your eyes! Nothing. Move a toe and the world would be set right. Nothing.

He could move his tongue. He clung to that. Licking his lips, pulling his bottom lip into his mouth for a hug. He would have slobbered over it like a boy in heat, but he didn’t have the saliva for it.

He lay disembodied from himself. Though he could see the blurred outline of his feet, and the shadow of his arm, they were only memories now, no longer his.

The fight was coming back to him, in all its horror.

As the last heavy breath forced his chest up, and his tongue made one final walk along the parameter of his mouth, his last thoughts were, Why?

Why? He would never know. His tongue ended its watch there in the corner of his mouth. Forever perched and on guard.

Six Characters, ignoring their Author.

My hands are numb from the cold lack of inspiration. Fingers tickle the keys, yet they feel a thousand miles away. I had so many great ideas on my run yesterday. Why does the proximity of actually writing scare the ideas away? Why am I so afraid?

The ideas never remain mine. Characters steal away narrative, which mutates into an arch a inver saw coming, rendering me audience member, but still its mine. Isn’t it? There still my six characters? They must have poor eye site, because they never see me, their author.

Suicide Gardener

He saw a flash a brown from the corner of his eye. It was the asian lady again. She probably works at the library, or else she frequents the super market every other day. She obviously wanted to say something. He had been bent over the beets, knowing no matter how much he watered them, they would always taste like dirt, still he lorded over them every night, flooding their plane with baptismal water, vainly trying to cleanse the beets. Back straightened he deftly held the hose to the side as he removed his buds. careful not to splash the beer in his right hand. The asian lady wore a fake frown, suggesting a compliment was cocked and ready in her throat.
“Every night I walk by here and think “arrrrgh” how are his tomatoes so big, and red, and sooooo many! Mine are still green, and its almost fall.”
He took a gulp of beer. “just luck I guess”. The asian lady would have none of the false modesty. “I don’t think so. You water like you’re meditating. The garden knows how much you love it. What do you think about?
Another gulp of beer. “Oh don’t tell me”, waving off her own question. “Well goodnight” said the asian lady, adding, “I can’t wait to see how those beets turn out”, as she walked away.

He was curled over the beets, flooding them with with water. Thinking maybe I will take some pills and drown myself. But the water is damn cold. Perhaps getting a noose at the ready, speeding to midspan of the bridge and slamming the breaks, to make a cinematic run for the rails, lassoing the top rail with the hooked end of a rope, arms and legs splayed backward like a base jumper falling into the void. Except there would be no squirrel suit to spirit him away, but rather a noose to make it all stop.

And then he saw a flash of brown from the corner of his eyes.

State of Joe

Joe is simple, he has toiled hard to achieve the position of head dishwasher, as hard as anyone that wants more out of life.

Wisps of salt and pepper hair lay under his broken, and crooked nose. A reminder of how cruel youth can be to what it doesn’t understand. His small blue eyes hide under is his bushy brows. Joe likes to smile, and when he does his blotchy red cheeks swell into fat hills of flesh.

He has never flossed in his life, and so the plaque has built up so thick that it looks as though he has a row of teeth in between each of his natural teeth.

Joe’s square head sits atop a squat, rotund body, and though he is wont to talk, he is limited to a small collection of stock phrases.

“Its alright anyway”, falls from his friendly smile, regardless of what’s being said. But maybe Joe is right. Perhaps it is, ‘Alright anyway’, regardless of what ‘it’ is.

Joe seems happy, even though from my perspective, he has been slighted in every way possible. Perhaps he isn’t smart enough to know how unfortunate he is. But I know all sorts of smart people that don’t realize of fortunate they are. The later seems worse upon reflection.

I watch him move about the dish pit and wonder if he isn’t the lucky one. If Joe isn’t the one closest to self-actualization.

If there is a God, and the answers to whatever questions can be asked, have already been provided to us, then might Joe be an answer?

There is wisdom in his simplicity, nirvana even. He travels more than two hours by bus, to and from work, without complaint. Recently he showed up at 8:00 AM, a full two hours early, because he misread his schedule. His response? “It’s alright anyway. At least I wasn’t three hours early”. Thats about as Taoist as one can get.

Accept things as they are

The beginners mind

Hope is as hollow as fear

A State of Joe.

A state of Joe. The pipe blinks at the end of that sentence like a mandala. Simple complexity that flushes out the detritus of a cluttered mind.

Joe’s broken nose and ruined teeth are a test of vision. Can I see past the physical descriptions of a ‘slighted’ man. And now I do. For a moment anyway.

I see Joe, a sage, waiting for me to be as happy as him.

Look at the blinking pipe. Breathe deep. As the words blur find your…

State of Joe.

Jimmie G.

response to Writing 101: Day Six 


Cleaning Room

One of the standard tasks on my weekly honey-do list is laundry. Every Monday or Tuesday for the last thirteen years. Being apartment dwellers our laundry room is a closet that houses an double upright and the water boiler. Squeezed in between the two is the ironing board. Filling up the fissures of space are such laundry type things as the iron, detergent, starch, and I’m falling asleep.

The point is this area is minute, spartan. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I pulled out the ironing board and saw a desk.

I popped my head in hesitantly, thinking there must be a whole in the wall. I didn’t want to thought of as some kind of perv for looking into the next apartment. Then I started thinking the neighbor might be the perv.

I’m happy to say I discovered no pervery. What I found instead was a small room about four feet wide. From wall to wall sits a beautifully, ancient looking peice of polished wood. Its the perfect size writing desk.

On the desk was sitting a wire bound notebook, my favorite kind. Next to it was the most exquisite pen I have ever seen. It filled my hand, yet was light. The ink chases the white of the page, but the pages are only being playful when running away. They are think, absorbing the ink in layers of subtelty.

A simple wooden chair was the only other thing in the secrect room. On the inside cover of the notebook was inscribed two words.

No more.

I don’t know that means.

Mustard on the Pineapples

I was finishing my Costco Stacciatella Gelato as my wife and I were checking out some cute artisan bowls. I did my go to comedy schtick of playing the gay man by repeatedly saying “lets get the whole set” in a lilting yet husky voice. When I saw the thirty dollar price tag for a ramekin I dropped the gay act and said, “walk away from the bowl”. Though our eight month old looked cray-cray adorbs next to her big sis in the shopping cart, she just wasn’t feeling it. She was a bit fussy actually. The Baby Bjorn was needed, but I had undone all the straps, clips, and buttons, and had a very difficult time reattaching them. Yet another thing my graduate degree in acting couldn’t help me with.

Once the Bjorn was reassembled I pick up baby and situated her facing out. Its not until she’s sitting in the harness that I feel the warm, mustard colored shit that has soaked up to her mid back and is now all over the front of my pineapple print button down shirt.

Normally I would say ‘poop’ when talking about my baby’s excrement, but when it’s all over you and her, in the middle of Costco, its called shit. Stinky, mustard colored, shit.

Another thing my graduate degree did not ready me for was always bringing a full diaper bag. Not even the experience of raising a now seven year old child had burned this important fact on my brain. I was hedging my bets, and as it turns out, I am not too big too fail. Standing in Costco with mustard colored shit over you and your child, with no change of clothes, is an epic fail.

I did have a single diaper and some wipes in my car. The baby needed and change, as did I. We had to go home. So the baby and I left my wife and elder daughter to finish the shopping.

I walked through Costco, holding the baby at arms length. She thought this great fun and started kicking her legs excitedly.

Out the front gate and to the car. One handed I undress the baby and give her a wipe down. I set her down to reach into he car for a diaper, realizing too late that I put her down on asphalt. Her bum’s just moist enough to draw the black pebbles to her like a magnet. More wipes.

Now I have a full diaper, and a dozen or so mustard stained wipes, and nowhere to dispose of the mess. In desperation I roll it up and try to chuck it away amongst the pine tress, which have been planted along a chain link fence like a beard to mask the train yard.

The diaper pops open midway, spilling the mustard stained wipes across the parking lot. I live in Seattle, the fact that I use disposable diapers is heresy enough, to leave them in the middle of the parking lot would be cause for banishment.

So I cleaned up the wipes, but still threw the diaper into the trees. Remember, this is a safe place. 

The baby and I drive home, shirtless, clean up and head back to Costco.

Thats worth a couple of beers right?

Jimmie G

Breaking Dad

I have found pride in the oddest of places. Once in an acting exercise my partner was tasked with giving me a criticism of some sort. He said, “you play at being dumb, so people won’t know how smart you are”. I took this as a compliment, and although I know that it wasn’t, it still feels like one.

Professional psychologists call this reaction ‘being thick’. I’ve done very little research, so trust me on this. The point is that I found pride in a statement I should not have.

This leads me to the reason for my post. Recently during dinner my eldest daughter did something that caused my wife and I to laugh, a lot. My eldest took this and immediately began to milk it in every way she could. The reanimation of this now dead joke went on for several minutes.

I looked over the table and asked my daughter, “do you know what this is?”, as I pantomimed milking a cow. My response of “its you, milking that joke”, came hard on her answer of “no”.

Her response was as quick as a light switch bringing brilliance to the dark.

Without pause she retorted, “No, its a latter, so you can get over it”.

This to some may seem disrespectful. To me, it is more accurate proof of her lineage than any DNA test.

Sarcasm is a soul flower that can be beautiful, brilliant, stinky, thorny, and poisonous.

I’ll teach her to be an apothecary with all the ingredients. How to brew up witticisms, stew snark into a boil, use sarcasm as a salve for tension, and consult with her on the chemistry of the come back.

Snark is the family business of sorts.

I’m Breaking Dad.

Jimmie G.


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