My daughter was barely three years old when she first asked me, “What is a vegetarian?” I told her that vegetarians don’t eat animals. I explained to her that when she ate “chicken nuggets”. She was eating food made out of real chickens. I told her that “steak” is made out of cows and that “pork” is pigs and that “ham” is made out of pigs too, but that when we eat “hamburgers” that is actually ground up cows. She got a very serious look on her face as she took it all in. For a minute I thought she was going to be angry, and then she asked me excitedly, “What is it called when we eat monkeys!?”
The truth is I have great respect for vegans and vegetarians. In fact, if my life was based on a young adult dystopian novel where the reigning administrative authority forced society to divide into warring factions based on our diet. I would face the end times fighting alongside the beer drinking vegans rather than the wine quaffing meat eaters. I could still have a good life without wine and meat, but not having beer would suck. Also, people who don’t eat animals are often unfairly maligned as self-righteous weaklings. I’ve known a lot of vegans and vegetarians and none of them have ever been sniveling whiners. Most of them also seem to be exceedingly healthy. They are proffering no laws. They simply have the discipline to live by a standard that they set for themselves.
Beet salad from the Barrel Head Brewhouse in SF
That is not a standard I have set for myself, partly because I don’t have a strong emotional attachment to animals or even my own health. On the other hand I do have an aversion to things that are abhorrent. Over the years we have become so systematically efficient at growing meat that just the process itself reads like something from the mind of Stephen King. Gestation crates ruined sausage for me. It used to be a staple of my diet. However when I was complaining about this to the family my now teenage daughter joked, “Dad, do you really want the animals to be happy? At least if they are miserable you can feel merciful when you KILL THEM.”
Pictured here with a home brewed imperial red, my sausage grilling used to be pretty good
As exemplified by the great Ted Nugent, the further someone travels down any ideological spectrum the more likely they are to cross a line between superior human intellect and bat-shit crazy. However none of us possess the acuity to distinguish exactly where that line is because it’s different for everybody. I’m not a hunter but for the past ten years I’ve aligned my diet with some of the more sapient ramblings of the Motor City Madman. Specifically, I believe that eating animals is okay as long as I get them from the guy wearing a loin cloth and crossbow down at the local farmer’s market -or more realistically, scanning the expensive grass-fed meat counter at Raleys waiting for a $5off expiration day sticker so we can have a steak night.
There were two different times this year when I did a vegetarian diet for about five days. Both times my little ventures into caring ended because I wanted Buffalo Hot Wings. I have low standards. Chicken wings are inferior meat that is coupled with an inferior vegetable (celery), blue cheese dressing, and pale ale. These four things on their own are just okay but the combination of the four would be
22-year old vegan Miley Cyrus, one our country’s most kind hearted and colorful culture warriors, pictured here with her pet pig
the toughest thing for me to give up in the end times. I was also surprised at how emasculating it felt to order a veggie burger at the Main Street Brewery. I didn’t see that coming. I don’t mind being the dude that orders a quinoa salad, but it felt odd to order an actual meat substitute. It also lead me to google why the fuck veggie patties cost just as much as real hamburgers and I was grateful to stumble across a series of personal, but science based articles that explained why. I was also relieved that they aligned with many of the long held teachings of Ted Nugent. However, they were not published in an issue of God Loves Hunters Quarterly, but in Mother Jones. A lifetime vegetarian who lives in Berkeley wrote the one that addressed my question about burgers.
Mother Jones: Is Vegetarian Diet Green?
Prince Fielder, first baseman of the Texas Rangers a vegetarian since 2008, photo from 2014
For me it wasn’t health or morals, I had been concerned that meat consumption was destructive by nature. For the most part though I think what happened is that God (or Mother Nature, whomever) gifted us these perfectly designed protein cultivators we call cows and chickens, but then the meat industry went pyscho trying to speed up and cheapen the growing process and that fucked everything up-to an obscene level.
pretty obvious choice for the art on our walls feature
Despite the fact many states still have ridiculous and overbearing regulations over local breweries, last year 615 new craft breweries opened in United States bringing the total to 3,418. That sounds like a lot but in 1873 there were 4,131 breweries in the United States.
Hopefully, much the same way that the craft beer movement has returned the beer industry to its roots, the pendulum can swing the other way with meat also. “More regulation” and “safety” always sounds good, but government regulations are written by whoever has the more powerful lobbyists. Armed federal agents don’t raid organic farms and dump thousands of gallons of raw milk because they are worried about the public health. It’s business.
Last week I had to go to the Freemont Superior Court to pay a fee and I was happy to find Jack’s Brewery and Sports Grille opened at 11am. Two baseball games on the TVs with the Hardwood Pale Ale and hot wings, it was the perfect brewpub experience. The older school brewpubs like Jack’s usually get it right.
The new hipper or the fancier brewpubs always have some new take on the classic hot wing recipe and it always fails. Pizza places are often even worse for wings. They do the dry breaded kind so it
Hoppy Brewing Company in Sacramento does it right.
won’t get messy and they give you a tub of blue cheese with no celery. The blue cheese is for the celery so giving one without the other is confounding to me.
the rabble rousers sitting behind me at Mission Creak Brewing
I don’t often shop at Whole Foods, but it seems an appropriate place to go for the featured brewery this post. Mission Creak Brewing is located above the Whole Foods Market in San Jose. When I realized I was going to be in the area I checked their web site. There are hot wings on the menu. My plan, made days ahead of time, was to order one each of two single hop pale ales so I could compare them as I also enjoyed the hot wings. I skipped lunch to make sure that I would properly appreciate this EVENT in my otherwise uneventful life.
Guy Cameron, head brewer at Mission Creek used to work at Russian River, brewing the Blind Pig
When I arrived there was a seat at the bar and baseball with subtitles on the TV, a good start. Unfortunately, they were out of the wings. That was okay, I’ve worked in restaurants, I understand stuff happens. However, the 22-year-old girl behind the bar also informed me that I was only allowed to have one beer at a time. Thankfully she was apologetic about it so it felt like less of a slight on my hard thought life choices and more just some dumb shit she had to deal with. The brewery didn’t answer my fact checking email. I’m guessing this policy is some sort of insurance inspired due diligence concession to having underage kids in the bar area. Completely unnecessary as the entire place is just one small patio of upstanding citizens, not to mention they have a San Jose cop stationed at the bottom of the stairs. All of these rules that treat adults like kids and kids like delicate bombs are created out the fear of litigation or regulatory fees more than by simple common sense.
“We act as if there are some alien overlords that laid down a bunch of retarded shitty fucking laws to make our lives miserable and if we upset them they will blow up our planet, right? Except that WE are the retarded alien overlords!” – Adam Carolla shouting on his podcast after a father son trip was ruined when he couldn’t get his 7-year-old boy into a car and aerospace event due to strict alcohol regulations.
When the end times come and our nation goes up in flames it’s going to be from under our own weight, from the mass accumulation of well meaning but destructive laws that cater to our lowest common denominator. Now play the song.
“You can stop eating animals if you desire, but you can’t stop the animals from eating each other…. /…. You can stop eating animals if you want to, but who’s going to stop the animals from eating you?” –Hickey “The Naked Cult of Hickey”
“I found out the greatest gladiators, the greatest ones in Roman times, they were all vegan. That’s fighting to the death! The best gladiators, I didn’t say all of them, when they looked at their bone marrow and did the research, they found that they were vegans. No meat particles in them.” Mike Tyson – vegan diet for the past five years, but refuses to give up leather
Ronda Rousey, undefeated mixed martial arts champion, formerly a vegan, now on the “dolce diet” which is whole food based, a large variety of mixed greens and grilled meats
“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville