In Plato's Republic, an ancient primer on polite booze-swilling disguised as proto-academic treatise if I've ever seen one, there is a fascinating and famous dialogue known to most as "The Allegory of the Cave." Though presented as a narrative, the allegory is actually a thought experiment, designed to illustrate how perception, knowledge, and fear work together and in opposition to inform the inhabitants of various hierarchical spheres. In other words, it is a story about how people are very stupid.
The allegory begins with a conversation, as the infamous ponderer Socrates asks Plato's brother Glaucon (and therefore the reader) to imagine a cave in which a few rather unlucky people have been imprisoned since birth. These captives are completely restricted in their movements, unable to move or look at anything other than the wall of the cave in front of them. Outside the cave, people we can presume to be these men's captors use puppets and a fire to project images onto the cave wall for the prisoners to see.
Now here's the hook: imagine one of the prisoners is released. He runs out, sees the fire, and it burns his eyes. He hates it. He sees the puppets and has no idea what they are. One of the jerks outside tells him the puppets aren't even real. So understandably, the prisoner has a panic attack and runs back into the cave to look at the shadows some more. Because they're crazy, and they get off on this kind of stuff I guess, one of the evil men drags the prisoner out of the cave, past the fire, and makes him stand around and look at the sun for a while.
Well, this is not much fun for the prisoner, but he does it, and eventually he comes around to realizing the true nature of things. He feels lucky to have been dragged out into the open, into the real world, and wonders if he shouldn't do the same for his compatriots in the cave. So he goes back down to… educate them, you might say. It's a good plan. Only when he gets down there, his eyes aren't used to the darkness anymore, and he can't see anything. Plus, he sounds super crazy now, talking about a sun and puppets and all the things beyond the cave. Not only do his old cellmates not believe him, they think whatever is out there has made him lose his mind and his sight. They resolve to kill anyone who tries to remove them from their prison, so terrified are they at the prospect becoming enlightened.
Mass deception, culture clash, and unseen puppeteers? Are we talking about Plato's dirty ol' cave or the 2016 election? Neither, actually. We're talking about beer. More specifically, we're talking about the appropriate times to drink beer, and the exceedingly possible backlash for the enlightened soul who deigns to push back against the conventional wisdom on the matter. I'll courageously eschew the hypothetical, here: the calm, rational genius I'm describing is none other than myself, and I am ready to make my statement forthwith.
Drinking at night is over. It's done. We are moving on from night-time drinking, effective immediately. It is our firm and unwavering belief that daylight drinking is the way of the future, and we are concentrating our efforts in that area from this point forward. We are not taking questions at this time.
I'm stressed out by basically everything in the universe. Drinking during the day is my compromise for staying normal, functional, and sane. It mostly seems to work.
Alright, we'll take a few questions.
Why? Well, it's been a long time coming, frankly. I'm getting older, as we all do, and I have less patience for nights out. I like my sleep, I like it when my wife isn't mad at me, and I hate hangovers. I'm also stressed out by basically everything in the universe. Drinking during the day is my compromise for staying normal, functional, and sane. It mostly seems to work.
What's wrong with you? Nothing. Actually, lots of stuff. But I'm legally in my right mind; I am autonomous, sharp, and sober (it is the evening as I write this).
How are people supposed to drink during the day when they're at work? That's a fair question, and as a writer it's not necessarily one I have to worry about in my own life. Still, there are plenty of opportunities for the gainfully employed to knock back a brew or two in the daylight hours. For instance, if you work in one of those offices that has bean bag chairs and "unlimited vacation," check the employee kitchenette, which is also something you have for some reason. There might be a fridge in there with some beers chilling out, or there might even be a tap. It doesn't make sense to me either, but you should avail yourself of either or both. It comes out of your salary, you know.
Even though it's 2016, some people still don't work from home or in offices that look like an Ikea opened up inside a YMCA. Who knows what they do, really, but it probably involves Windows PCs. Yuck! For those people, I recommend the (up to and no more than) two beer lunch. Kill two drafts before your reuben shows up, then let that bad boy soak on the walk back to work. If you don't feel better after that, then you probably already like your strange little job that doesn't schedule team outings at the paintball course.
Forget what Socrates says about changing people's minds and be an example for your friends lost and drinking in the darkness. What does he know about it anyway? The last thing he drank killed him.
What about the weekends? What about them? The sun still comes up on the weekends, and as long as it's up doing its thing so should you be. Enjoy a tiny Spongebob paper cup of red wine at a kid's birthday party, stick a few macros in a beer helmet and do some yard work (climate permitting), or park yourself and a sixer in front of the tube for the only holiday ritual that damages more brains than interfamilial political discourse: football! It's all fair game when it comes to day drinking.
There is one catch, though: you gotta own it. Sneaking around or acting ashamed for having a pint in the afternoon is for people who also plan on dragging the party well beyond sundown. That ain't you, though, so forget what Socrates says about changing people's minds and be an example for your friends lost and drinking in the darkness. What does he know about it anyway? The last thing he drank killed him.
Here's a handful of potent notables hanging around in my chill chest this week:
Sixpoint 5Beans Sixpoint Brewery brought the high heat with this one, boy, let me tell you. 5Beans is what they're calling a "Turkish-inspired porter," the next logical step in their fantastic Beans series. I don't think I could tell an oily pod of black cardamom from a worm that got run over by a bike tire, but I do know that 5Beans is a lightly carbonated and heavily spiked coffee beer that looks right at home on the table at around noon. The flavor is really flowery, almost like a cordial, and it even comes in a can that looks like a regular ol' energy drink if you're interested in taking my advice on a more permissive drinking schedule.
Blue Moon Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout It's maybe not fair to compare something like Blue Moon's Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout to a niche product like 5Beans, because they're just designed to do different things. But this tasted very much like a watered down version of a far superior holiday dark brew, and while I did finish the 6-pack, it was not with aplomb that I did so. Granted, 5Beans is 10 percent ABV and very spicy, so maybe watering it down isn't being overly precautious, it just seems like a not very prudent business decision. (I'm joking, of course… but this ain't a great anything.)
Abita Peach Lager I don't know what's going on here at all. There is a peach scent and taste throughout, but the most dominant quality in the bottling I had was old, wet bread. If there was an appropriate season for old, wet bread, it would be winter, so it's on target there. That being said, I prefer my bread dry.
Sapporo Black Another new favorite with an excellent can design, Black is Sapporo's answer to the Guinness lager, and for me it's a nice stab at the Euro Dark Lager category. Black's got a thick head that won't quit and a hearty roasted caramel character that rounds out the smoky mouthfeel. Plus the can looks like a freaking elephant gun.