I wrote a short article for my friends at AZ Food and Beer hyping up Helton Brewing Company’s Beer School event (in Phoenix). There’s one this Sunday the 25th and another one held every month. Check out the article to read more about it and why you should absolutely attend.
I haven’t written anything for my blog in months now. I’ve been quietly working on a long-form project that’s sucked up pretty much every drop of my creative juices. And it’s been bothering me that I haven’t kept up with what I intended to do when I started this Classy Alcoholic project. I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve fostered in the craft beer scene and for all the events I’ve been lucky enough to go to over the last three years. But that’s not why I’m me. My blog was always supposed to be an outlet for a frustrated guy staring down the barrel of his thirties who was unhappy with how much time he spent away from writing creatively. And it’s been bothering me that I’ve spent so long being quiet.
I recently I plugged an old external hard drive into my computer and pulled out hundreds of songs that I collected from the last decade or so. I’ve been using them as inspiration for the current writing project that I’m not ready to reveal yet. But I’m feeling the need to share what’s going through my head as I revisit these tracks and revisit the state of mind I was in back in my early-to-mid-twenties. I’m digging out these old experiences and repurposing them for my new stories. And I’m a bit insecure about whether my followers would even give a flying shit about any of this…but fuck it. I’m going for it.
So I’m gonna make Classy’s Jukebox a recurring segment here. I’ll share a song and a snapshot of what I’m feeling as I try to finish this project. These posts will be a bit more serious than what you’re used to from me. But I’m at a point where I’m trying to bridge the gap between the (intentionally) ridiculous character I’ve created and the real person behind the cartoon. So let’s just drive right in.
A few years ago I had back-to-back affairs with two different married women. These relationships didn’t overlap. The first one was off and on over the course of a full year. It ended after this woman stopped contacting me entirely. Despite knowing better I had gotten attached. And she did too. But she made the decision to walk away even though I wasn’t ready to let her go.
A few months after that happened I entered into the second affair. And that one ended horribly. The breakup was so bad that I fell into a deep depression for months. I could barely get out of bed. Despite knowing better I had gotten attached. And she did too. But she made the decision to walk away even though I wasn’t ready to let her go.
Amazingly, both these back-to-back married women had the exact same fucking first name. If the universe wanted to give me a sign that I shouldn’t make the same mistake I couldn’t imagine a better scenario.
But ultimately I dove in headfirst because I don’t have a negative view of infidelity. I’m very cynical when it comes to commitment. Especially a marriage. To try and stay committed to the same person until literal death does them part ends up with both people working hard to stay unhappy. Especially when it’s a relationship in your twenties or thirties…considering we’re in the era where people can live to be ninety years old.
Most of my relationships and casual hookups have been with married women. And I feel no shame over it. They’ve come and gone for years. But I was still heartbroken when these two women walked away.
Which brings us to our song of the night. Yuna is a Malaysian singer whom I got a chance to see perform live several years ago. This rediscovered song reminds me of those two married women. It reminds me of how stupid I feel for getting attached. It reminds me of how good I am at making bad decisions. It reminds me of how I knew that I knew better. It reminds me of how I felt tossed aside…like I was nobody. And it especially reminds me of how hard I fought to avoid being a nobody to these women. Even after I knew there was nothing left for me to do.
“Decorate” has one of the most heartbreaking lines I’ve ever heard in any song.
“I decorate my house with things you love
Just in case you show up.”
Even though I may not have done that literally I’ve still decorated so many aspects of my daily life just in case those women showed up. And the writing project I’m working on now will include elements of the many affairs I’ve had over the years amongst all the dumb jokes about dicks and butts. My output will still be primarily comedic, of course. But if you stick around you’ll realize that my jokes aren’t just nonsense. They also come from some real shit.
For the first time ever The Classy Alcoholic is opening up the doors of the blog in order to host a guest. My friend Michele Buttrum is a fellow beer lover who also makes some retail store-worthy home decor from scratch using only the tools in her garage and a glass of craft beer by her side. I’ve seen her projects in person so I thought I’d give her a chance to share her process with everyone. Take it away, Michele!
I knew I wanted a sign on the empty wall above my coffee pot but I needed to find the perfect quote for it.
- Black, like my soul
- I pretend coffee helps but I’m still a bitch
- Rise and grind
Although those two first options are completely true, I thought “rise and grind” was a bit more motivating (and in-law approved)!
For this sign, I decided to create my first farmhouse style sign. You know, the Chip & Joanna Gaines-inspired cult thing that’s all the rage now. I ventured out to the garage to see what I could put together. I found (4) 1 x 4’s that were all cut the same length from a previous project. Score! I also had one piece of 1 x 2 that was long enough to become my frame.
Scrap wood or wood cut to the size you want
Orbital sander or sand paper
Varying grit sand paper
Paint color of choice – I used Rust-Oleum Zinsser white primer
Wood stain of choice – I used Minwax Dark Walnut
Paint brush and/or roller
Staining cloth – I use old cotton shirts
Kreg Jig & wood screws
Stapler gun – optional
Vinyl – optional
Metal corner braces – highly recommended
Sawtooth hanging bracket
2000’s country radio – optional
Craft beer – not optional
Gather your supplies.
Notice that beautiful blue label on that beer bottle? That right there is my favorite craft beer. Yup, I’m a beer girl. Let me clarify – I’m a craft beer girl! And I want you to appreciate craft beer as well. You know why? It’s simple, really. See the word craft, well that’s what you’re reading this for right? You want to craft or create something. Well, making craft beer is someone’s passion and someone’s craft, and I think creating great things while drinking great things go hand in hand.
Today’s craft beer joining us on our project is Xocoveza by Stone Brewing.
I asked Alexa (because I’m a millennial and opening music apps on my phone is too hard) to play me some 2000’s country and poured my delicious beer into a glass and got started. I used one of my favorite beer glasses, by the way. Etched in it is “beer snob” because, well, beer > wine. You’ll be able to see the etched wording in some of the pictures.
I prepared my 1 x 4’s for painting and sanding by using my orbital sander. I used two different grits, 80 to 150, to ensure my wood was smooth to the touch. With sand paper, you want to start at a lower grit and move to a higher grit to remove the imperfections in the wood.
Next, I took some sips of that delicious goodness sent from above. Xocoveza beer is described as a Mocha Stout. Um yum! Cool story about this beer is it won a homebrewer competition hosted by Stone Brewing and became bottled. This beer was supposed to be a one-time thing, but it ended up with a cult following! It’s that good!
After sanding and cleaning away the dust on the 1 x 4’s the next step was to paint. I used a 2-inch paint brush and put on a couple light coats of Rust-Oleum Zinsser white primer.
Oh man, check out that beauty! You can also see my Christmas present, a new DEWALT drill. Love it!
You know what’s the best thing to do when you’re waiting for paint to dry? Drinking a cinnamon, chocolate, nutmeg, peppery, coffee delicious beer while listening to Taylor Swift tell you about the teardrops on her guitar! Where my basic bitches at?!
When the paint was mostly dry, I flipped over my white 1 x 4 boards and laid them on top of a towel to protect the paint as I drilled pocket holes into the back. I used my Kreg Jig, wood glue, and Kreg screws to attach the boards together. Using a Kreg Jig is superrrr easy and makes joining wood a breeze! There are two components to the Kreg Jig for creating pocket holes – a hole maker and a drill bit. You line up the arrows on the hole maker to the thickness of your wood and you do the same for the ring on the drill bit. Both are set at ¾” – the thickness of my 1 x 4’s. Easy peasy!
Now that I had my white boards attached to each other, I could then measure the lengths of my 1 x 2’s to create the frame. I did not miter these cuts, but you certainly can to create nice corners. I felt that since I was going for a farmhouse look, that square cuts would look better. I gave these boards just a light sanding because I wanted to keep them rustic looking.
The sign is taking shape!
I stained the 1 x 2’s with Minwax Dark Walnut. For staining, I just use an old cotton T-shirt. There’s no need to get fancy with a staining sponge!
Did I mention it’s 11 am on a Friday and I’ve already finished my beer? Can you say, “breakfast beer”!!! But it’s okay though, it was like I just finished drinking a Mexican hot chocolate (with alcohol). No biggie!
I decided to use my stapler to add a staple to each corner of the frame to give a more rustic look. This step is completely optional. The staples I used were not large enough to securely hold the frame together and are there for decoration purposes only. To secure the corners of the wood frame around the white boards, I attached metal corner brackets to the back and also used wood glue at the corners. Using these brackets created a secure fit around the white boards. I did not do anything to attach the white boards to the frame because the corner brackets made everything fit snugly. I added one sawtooth hanger with finishing nails on the back of the upper frame so it can hang on the wall.
For the text, I decided to go with a dark gray vinyl to match my kitchen. I used my Cricut machine to cut out the text. After I decided on the placement, I transferred the vinyl to the board by rubbing it firmly with a tennis ball to ensure the vinyl was sticking fully to the wood.
And there you have it! My completed farmhouse sign for my kitchen! If you have the space, I think it would look nice leaning against a wall in a coffee bar area. Oh, and let’s not forget to give Xocoveza a try! If you are unsure of where to find it, you can visit Stone Brewing’s website to find their beer in your location. You won’t be disappointed with the chocolate and coffee flavors that will invade your mouth with a teensy tiny bit of spice! Think of the best Starbs drink you ever had and multiply that by ten!
Follow me on Instagram to see what I’m drinking, what I’m creating, and where I’m biking!
So 2017 fucking sucked, right? Yeah, it did for me too but despite all the shit I had to suffer through for the last twelve months I have to admit that it was also the best year that the Classy Alcoholic had since I started this blog back in 2014. I somehow managed to make a shit-ton of new friends in the Arizona craft beer and booze community despite the fact that I hate being around people and kinda just want to die alone really soon.
My success this past year didn’t just come from my brilliant writing and unparalleled charm. It also grew thanks to the people who were so willing to associate themselves with a disreputable character like me even if it could possibly have done irreparable damage to their brand or business.
I’m a little late on this but I was a guest on the holiday episode of the Beer N’ Loathing podcast put together by a few guys in Colorado and Michigan. In this episode I share the story of when I was in college 10 years ago and got stupid hammered then peed on the door of a frat house out in Tucson, AZ. Those were some good times.
My segment starts at about 20 minutes in but you should listen to the whole thing anyway. Check it out at the link below:
A review of:
Adventurous Stills – Tempe, AZ
Located at 2125 E 5th St, #102, Tempe, AZ 85281
Open Fri 5p-8p; Sat 2p-7p
Three Wells Distilling Company – Tucson, AZ
Located at 3780 E 44th St, #120, Tucson, AZ 85713
Open Sat 5p-8p
I’ve been writing about Arizona craft beer and wine for just under three years now and found enormous success in a very short time. Most people would be happy with my level of fame and coast on that early success without innovating until they die, Kurt Cobain style. But I decided to instead explore a completely different realm of the Arizona booze scene: local spirits.
Here’s another article I wrote exclusively for azfoodandbeer.com.
This is the final chapter of my 3-part Tucson adventure in which I review the annual Born & Brewed craft beer competition held at the historic Hotel Congress.
Stay tuned for more adventures coming soon!