My first instinct was to open this review with an angry diatribe at Jared L. Loughner, and to try and make a point while talking about beer. Him and his Glock—his sickness, and unnervingly creepy smile swirl around in my head, and for the first time this new year I feel the primal revulsion towards humans of his kind.

Not a great way to start a beer review, I know, but beer being the social lubricant, it should be no surprise that issues of humanity come up in these reviews.

The Pima County Sheriff used the word “vitriol” in a press conference to describe the current state of political rhetoric in Arizona, and the press have latched onto that world as if it were the only thing they understood to come from Tucson on Saturday. I remember the first time I read that word—it was in George Orwell’s “1984”. Vitriol means sulfuric acid, or cruel and bitter criticism. The word means more to me, but in subtle ways. I don’t mean to be funny, but when I read the word vitriol, and had already decided that I’d write a beer review tonight, I thought of High Life.

I want to write about Loughner. But I’ll let him go here. We’ll talk about beer, the thing that for better or worse makes the news easier to understand, or at least more distant. I keep repeating on YouTube “When Under Ether” by PJ Harvey (I’m pretty sure it’s a cover, but her take is especially haunting).

At some point in any American’s drinking career, Miller High Life will make its presence known because it’s cheap and accessible. Undoubtedly, we all know people who drink High Life to excess, or have at some point—probably, there are more stories involving High Life with fucked up plot lines and unsolicited nudity than Homer could have ever conceived in his Odyssey.

High Life was The Champagne of Beers back when beer advertising tried to promote an American Dream, rather than the American Experience it promotes now—which is dreamlike, but puke-lined and awkwardly narcissistic like a young intelligent geek in class who gets embarrassed easily and laughs at the teacher’s jokes while a body of hatred large enough to crush his arrogant ego grows in the hearts of the class.

(If you’ve read John Updike’s “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and so Forth” and have seen the episode of Mad Men when the company Sterling and Cooper promotes Heineken, my point should be easier to understand.)

There are so many good beers out there that I decided I needed to pick out one that no one could argue was a great beer. The sweet, sultry glass of golden empty caloric content saw me through many times when I couldn’t remember seeing. The McIvor, the fifth in the picture, I tagged along in the absolute purist of spirits in this tasting adventure because I damn well know what High Life tastes like. Think of it this way: if you force a man to chew on cardboard, he’s not going to turn down a bottle of ketchup to go with it. I happened to have the whisky in my room anyway.

McIvor, a blended Scotch-Whisky (mind that the Scotch do not spell “whisky” with an “e”) is a perfect pairing with High Life. Although, apparently in the act of tasting a beer, you’re not supposed to combine drinks…this is odd to me. I’ve been doing that for a long time…not once can I remember finding a beer repulsive when drinking whiskey or whisky. A gin and tonic, maybe, would be repulsive if I was also drinking a stout—though I can’t remember trying that. The point is: when you want to fully enjoy the taste of the beer, the suggestion, the going wisdom is that you don’t drink anything alcoholic beforehand, nor do you scald your tongue or chew on pretzels for an extended period of time. The Japanese eat ginger slivers, I’m told, in between different selections of sushi—so, that might be a way to do it.

A bizzarity, the High Life and the McIvor are nearly the exact color, except that High Life has an empty reflection—probably the fault of the piss poor glass the beer gets thrown into—while the McIvor seems buttery at a glance, and delicious looking.

I don’t intend for my reviews to be anything other than experiences I have, as they come to me in reality or memory, of the drinks in front of me for inspection. I had hoped that there would be more beer drinkers up to the task of the sip and write, but so far it’s only Dan and I that seem to understand the extreme complexities of cut paste and copy and submit.

I certainly don’t feel that I’m particularly good at explaining to other people what a beer tastes like—and like all good journalism, the story of a beer must involve subjection, and cannot ever be considered truth. So, I hope that more authors get on this blog.

But back to the beer: High Life will never be my first pick out of the litter of shit beers, but it will always be close. I realize now that I’m not sure what High Life is. I guess that it’s a pilsner. I also just realized that the bottle I’m drinking from expired on Nov 08 2010, but that doesn’t matter and anyone who has had a bunch of High Lifes over a period of time would understand, the taste is not that important—beer is never more important that the people that you are around—the taste doesn’t eclipse the company.

Overall: 4 out of 10.

Availability: Nearly everywhere.

Appearance: Uric.

Taste: Not that great.

I feel as though I should cut out the top portion of this beer review, and remove any mention of the terrible event in Arizona, but I can’t, so it stays.

-Durkin

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