Located at 3850 E 44th St, Tucson, AZ 85713
Open Mon-Thurs 11a-11p; Fri-Sat 11a-1a; Sun 11a-9p
Your favorite The Classy Alcoholic is going through a tough time, y’all. February of 2016 is the month I turn 30 years old. The panic of growing older is starting to set in and I feel like I’m not ready to leave my 20s behind. The sight of a few gray hairs is my only consolation because the one thing that would make my amazing hair even better is a Clooney-esque, salt-and-pepper look to it. But so far my gorgeous mane stays dark, thick and smooth…while my youth rapidly slips away through my fingers.
I decided that if I wanted to recapture my youth I would have to literally travel back in time. So I found a junkyard in Tucson where I could buy an old flux capacitor and installed it in my car. I retrofitted the thing so it could be powered by Arizona-brewed craft beer because my flux capacitor was sure as hell gonna #chooseAZbrews, dammit! I hit the road and drove as fast as I could until a portal of light appeared, engulfing my ‘89 Honda Accord with the bumper that was a different color from the rest of the car and also held on only by a chain. When the portal of light disappeared I looked around me and I realized I had successfully arrived in the year 2006.
I still had to write a microbrewery review for today though and unfortunately there weren’t many breweries in Tucson ten years ago. But then I recalled that Nimbus Brewing Company had been around since 1996 and would be celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. So I headed to the east side of Tucson wading through industrial parks in search of the warehouse where Nimbus had its brewery and restaurant. In order to fit in I put on a necktie that was only slightly different in color from my dress shirt. It was the kind of monochromatic outfit I remembered people in suits wearing all the time a decade ago, back when Regis Philbin was the classiest motherfucker on TV because Mad Men wouldn’t introduce Jon Hamm to the world until a year later.
Anyway, Nimbus had six beers on tap, all of which they also bottled, apparently. I asked for my usual flight and I immediately started feeling good about my decision to travel backwards in time. I was comforted by the sweet sounds of James Blunt wafting from the speakers in the brewery. The soul-crushing misery I felt when George W. Bush won a second term two years prior was nothing compared to the despair and resignation I felt every time I saw the people running in the Republican Primary in 2016. I could blow people’s minds with my knowledge of the future when I told them that in ten years they would be seeing a black guy finishing up his second term as president and that somehow Grey’s Anatomy would still be on the fucking air.
I took a sip of my first beer called Dirty Guera, a blonde ale that was light but had a lot of flavor. It was slightly bitter, malty and had the tiniest of spicy kicks at the finish. It was a great beer in its own right and in 2006 it was probably one of the best microbrews in the entire state. I was gonna like living out my youth again.
And that’s when I noticed one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen walk in to the brewery. The rhythmic clap of her high heels caught my attention first. She was wearing a short but elegant red dress. Her dark, curly hair bounced up and down her shoulders as she walked. We made eye contact and I thought I saw the slightest hint of a smile on her face that she immediately tried to hide. It was almost a smile of recognition, I thought. She even looked a bit familiar to me but she had the looks of a supermodel so I’m sure I just saw her in a magazine at some point. The engagement ring on her left hand had a huge, gaudy diamond on it and whoever gave that to her had some serious money to blow. Despite there being plenty of empty space at the bar The Woman In Red sat immediately next to me and ordered a glass of wine, which Nimbus also offered.
My heart started pounding, my hands started shaking and I realized I needed another drink. I sipped on the next beer in my flight while trying to look cool and all nonchalant and shit. The next beer was the Red Ale, an amber with a nice light caramel flavor paired with a slightly hoppy undertone. The beer was delicious and I could feel it calming my nerves as the beautiful woman turned to me and said hello. Out loud. Holy shit.
“Hello, Miss. I’m from the future!” I said, way too eagerly and probably making an ass out of myself.
“Oh really?” she asked, with a smile. “I figured you might be. You’re wearing that monochromatic dress shirt and tie combo that went out of style a few years ago. Sorry to tell you but Regis hasn’t been cool since, like, 2003. The only people who dress like that now are either 50 or time travelers. And you look pretty young.”
“Wow, you really sized me up right away, didn’t you? I’m not that young, though. I’m about to turn 30 years old and came back in time because I freaked out about it. You see…I feel like I didn’t really accomplish much in my 20s. I wasted the decade stumbling around dance clubs, drinking cheap beer and liquor and being really terrible at The Electric Slide. I think if I stick around here in 2006 I can use my knowledge of the future and make a real difference in the world.”
“Not to be a dick, guy, but what do you think you can really change?”
“Well there’s gonna be a huge financial collapse in 2008. And there’s gonnabe an evil terrorist organization in the Middle East called ISIS that’s way worse than anything you’ve seen so far. I can stop those things from happening!”
The Woman In Red didn’t seem too impressed by my ability to see into the future.
“Okay, let’s say you get out there and try to make a difference,” she said, clearly humoring me. “Do you know what exactly caused the financial collapse in 2008?”
“Ummm…yeah. Bankers. They were betting on bad mortgages. And there was a housing bubble. And…uhhh…I’m not entirely sure but there was a movie made about it called The Big Short from the guy who made Anchorman and it explains all that financial shit really well.”
“So did you see the movie at least?”
“No. I didn’t. I tried to go see The Force Awakens for the seventh time but when it was sold out I decided to just go watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip instead because I was pretty drunk already so why not.”
“I have no idea what any of these things are. So what does ISIS stand for?”
“Oh. Um. You mean the acronym or their ideology?”
“Shit. I’ll have to Google that. Could you still Google things on your phone back here?”
“I don’t think so. All I can do on my phone is make calls, play Snake and invest at least fifteen minutes composing a text message. So don’t try and send me pictures of your junk or anything.”
I stopped trying to find a decent picture of my junk on my Photo Stream and decided to instead take a sip of the next Nimbus beer. It was a Pale Ale that was crisp, citrusy and refreshing. It had a very light bitterness from the hops without being overwhelming.
“Okay,” I said to the Woman In Red. “Maybe I can’t change world politics but I can probably make some mad money like Biff in BTTF Part 2. I can bet on sports games if I know the outcomes.”
“Did you follow sports enough to remember any of the winners in any game?”
“No. Okay, so how about I become a big player in the Arizona craft beer scene. I can steal the idea for Borderlands Brewing Company here in Tucson and sweep the business out from under the owners! Craft beer is my passion after all!”
“Do you have the money to start a brewery or even know how to brew your own beer?”
“GODDAMMIT! No. I do not.”
“There’s something you have to know about people who travel back in time,” The Woman In Red said. “If you really want to benefit from your knowledge of the future then you have to have some serious knowledge of the present. It doesn’t matter if you know ISIS will happen. Do you know how to get in touch with the White House or even your local Congressman to talk to them about it? Do you know who your Congressman is? Even if you came up with the idea for Google do you have the technical capabilities to invent it yourself?”
“No. No, no and fucking NO!” I yelled as I slammed my fist on the bar. “I don’t know a damn thing. I don’t have any real skills. I’ve never been able to maintain a serious relationship. I’m about to turn 30 years old and I feel like I haven’t contributed anything to the world. Drinking and dressing well are the only things I can do and they don’t amount to shit! That’s why I came here. Because I thought I could have a second chance. But obviously I can’t even do that.”
I turned away from The Woman In Red. I felt her hand lightly squeezing my shoulder in a meek attempt to comfort me as I sipped the next beer in the flight. It was called Old Monkeyshine and was an English Strong Ale. It was heavy and had a bitter flow to it as it went down but it was still smooth with an even sweeter caramel taste to it than the Red Ale.
I realized there were tears streaming down my face. The Woman In Red broke the silence and pulled me back toward her with a few familiar words.
“You and I have lived through many things. I’ll hold on to your heart. I wouldn’t cry for anything but don’t go tearing your life apart.”
“What? I know those lyrics. They’re from the song ‘Cry’ by James Blunt. I listened to his first album like crazy when I was in college. Everyone made fun of me for it. I just listened to it again recently for the first time in years. This woman I just met…it was her favorite song.”
That’s when I realized who The Woman In Red really was. I was right, I did recognize her.
“Is your name Savannah?” I asked.
“Yes, it is. Have we met?”
“Not yet. We meet ten years from now at a bar. But it was only last month for me. You were just about to turn 40 and you were freaking out about it. You look different then. Your hair is shorter and you dyed it blonde. You wear glasses now and your outfits are a lot more casual than what you’re wearing now. You were depressed because your rich, asshole husband cheated on you and split without leaving you any money. We talked for hours and we had this amazing connection. You said that even though I was ten years younger you still felt safe with me. You said there wasn’t another shoulder you’d rather cry on.”
“So what happened between us? I mean…what will happen?”
“We ended up having a fling that lasted a few weeks. It was great. We were inseparable during that time. We shared our fears about aging, we went out dancing, drinking and we laughed constantly. I was starting to get attached but I knew that you were on the rebound and weren’t looking for something serious after your marriage had just ended. You said you needed to get out of Arizona and be by yourself for a while. So you packed up and left a couple of days ago. You said you’d be in touch but didn’t know if you’d be back. And I have to admit, I miss you.”
“Wow. It sounds like you were there for me when I really needed a helping hand in my life. I’m sorry things didn’t last as long as you wanted but it sounds like our fling was absolutely lovely.”
It was. I decided to take advantage of having Savannah back in my life and share a beer with her. I got us both an Oatmeal Stout. It was also heavy like the Old Monkeyshine but it was creamy and smooth. It had a smoky finish that tasted like barbecue in a beer. Savannah didn’t drink much of it because it was too heavy for her and she didn’t want to put on any weight. She was significantly skinnier now that when I met her but how many of us have avoided putting on a few pounds in the past decade?
“So, Savannah, do you realize that we’re actually the same age right now? We met in the middle like in Benjamin Button.”
“You mean the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story?”
“No. What short story? Doesn’t matter. Anyway, I’d love to take you out on a date tonight. Just like old times.”
“I can’t. You saw this massive rock on my finger. I’m engaged.”
“You can’t be serious. I told you your husband turns out to be an asshole. He doesn’t appreciate you and you tell me you’re miserable and lonely when I meet you.”
“I’m not miserable and lonely now. I’m actually quite happy.”
“But you know that things aren’t going to end well. You can change that today. This is the one thing I know about the future that can make a difference now!”
“I don’t want to change anything, though. I don’t want to miss out on any of the good years I am gonna have with the man I love. And even though everything goes downhill eventually I don’t want to avoid it. Those are the experiences that will make me who I am when you meet me. That’s how I become the older woman you’re clearly so stricken with. Besides…things aren’t going to end badly. Things are going to end with you.”
Savannah placed her hand on my cheek and smiled. But feeling her skin on mine didn’t electrify me like it would ten years from now. The woman I met last month who was almost 40 had a deep affection for me. I could see it in her eyes when she looked at me and I could feel it when she placed her hand on my face. I didn’t feel that coming from the younger Savannah. She wasn’t the same woman.
“You can’t stay here,” the younger Savannah said. “You have to go back to your time. Besides, the Arizona craft beer scene won’t be the same without an influential blogger like you.”
“Woah, wait, what the hell? I never told you I was a beer blogger. How do you know that?”
“Oh crap. Sorry, didn’t mean to slip up on that. You actually did tell me. Last week. Well, it’s next week for you.”
“Huh? Are you telling me that after I go back to 2016 I use the time machine again next week and come visit you again before today? Why?”
“Because you keep trying to have sex with me again even though I turn you down each time.”
“Each time? How many times do I come back to try and get in your pants?”
“Five times. I’ve spoken to you once a week for the past five weeks. And we pretty much have the same conversation each time.”
“Oh. Wow. Shit. Sorry. I don’t mean to be a pain in the ass.”
“Meh. What’s done is done.”
“So if you knew I was going to be here today and you’ve already talked to me a bunch of times why would you even show up? Why not be somewhere else and avoid having to deal with me again?”
“Like I said, you were there for me during a pretty terrible episode in my life. So I figured the least I could do is listen to you while you’re losing your shit about being 30. Plus, I like talking to you. You’re fun when you’re not being a total downer. That’s probably why I’m so into you in ten years.”
Savannah said goodbye and promised she’d see me again. I felt a lot better about my age after talking to her. I realized that my 20s couldn’t have been a total waste if I was able to touch at least one person’s life in a positive way. And even though I couldn’t stop ISIS I considered my trip through time to be a personal success.
I bought a few bottles of Nimbus’ last beer, the Nut Brown Ale and poured it into my flux capacitor. Of course I sipped it as well and was impressed by how smooth and not overly nutty it was. I took a moment and took in 2006 for the last time. Or, well…for now. At least until I lost my shit next week and came back to visit Savannah again.
I drove my Accord into the portal of light. I was ready to leave behind the past. I was ready to embrace the present. And, more importantly, I was ready to embrace the future.