Located at 3608 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Open Mon-Thurs 3p-10p; Fri 1p-12a; Sat 11a-12a; Sun 1p-8p
Part 2 of a 4-part story called, “The Drunk Knight.” Read Part 1 here.
I arrived in Scottsdale with my police escort. On the way up from Tucson I wrote a blog entry warning people in the greater Phoenix area that some nutjob named $imon had stashed a huge, explosive keg in a microbrewery somewhere in the city and I advised everyone to steer clear of their local breweries until I could stop this man. Word spread across the media quickly. I watched the local newsfeed on my phone. The anchor was reporting some fluff piece about how every single Grand Canyon helicopter tour was booked solid that day or some shit when he was interrupted by the more pressing story. Soon every channel was talking about me, my blog and my mission. This was the most press The Classy Alcoholic had gotten since that time a few years ago when I got punched in the face by Lou Diamon Phillips on camera during a live telethon.
According to the news it looked like most breweries in the city had been abandoned while police were in search of the keg bomb. But with almost 30 breweries throughout all of Phoenix, their manpower was stretched thin. It was up to me to be the hero that Arizona’s craft beer community needed.
I walked into Goldwater Brewing’s taproom. There were a few customers in the place who must’ve not heard the news. There was an old man sitting at the bar wearing jean shorts and a fanny pack, drinking a glass of wine. He pointed at me and waved me over.
“Hello, Mr. Classy. My name is Fey. I’m here to watch you and make sure you don’t try anything stupid.”
“So you work for $imon.”
“Hell no! I don’t work for anyone! That punkass kid doesn’t give me orders. I’m here because I want to be. And ’cause Simon’s ridiculous bomb threat made the news interrupt the Golden Girls marathon I was watching on TV, so what the hell else was I gonna do? I tell ya, everybody always talked about how hot Blanche was but I was always a Dorothy man myself. What I wouldn’t give for a night with Bea Arthur. Is she still alive? I don’t even-”
I stopped listening even though Fey kept ranting. My phone rang. $imon was on the other end and I put the call on speaker.
“‘Sup, Classy? Is the old fart who works for me there with you?”
Fey looked pissed enough to give himself a heart attack. I heard him mumbling some curse words (and possibly the N word) under his breath in between sips of his Cabernet because Goldwater also offered wine.
“Yeah, your old ass employee is right next to me.”
“Cool. $imon says order yourself a flight.”
I did as I was told. Goldwater had twelve regular beers on tap plus a few special brews that were in limited supply. I got a flight of six. The first beer was their Poolside Pilsner. A light beer with a mild hop flavor, crisp enough to be refreshing on this hot summer day and flavorful enough that it didn’t taste like drinking a watered-down macrobrew.
“I’m playing your little game, $imon. So how about you tell me what I’m doing here.”
“You’re atoning for your sins, bro. You’re Colin Farrell and I’m Kiefer Sutherland’s voice from that movie, ‘Phone Booth.’ Have you seen it? It’s the best movie ever.”
“That’s not very specific. I got plenty of sins to go around.”
“I know you do, dawg. ‘Cause I’ve been following your career from the very beginning. I read every single one of your blog posts from beginning to end. Not just that, but I’ve talked to people who really know you. I went to visit your old nemesis Romeo in prison. I tracked down that boat that your ex-girlfriend Rosario was using to smuggle herself out of the country after she got caught selling fake panda meat to Mexican taco carts in South Tucson. I watched you start as a nobody and end up a superstar in the craft beer community. But I know you’re a fraud. You don’t deserve your fame!”
A part of me thought $imon was right. It was over a year since I started my blog and I never really felt like I was a true part of the craft beer community. I felt like an outlier, faking my way into the industry. I sipped the next beer in the flight while I thought about how to respond. It was a golden ale called Winnie the Brew. It was another light, crisp beer with the addition of Arizona honey that made it absolutely delicious. I always loved honey in a beer.
“I think you’re overestimating my status, $imon. Yes, I was a major celebrity in the local beer scene but those days are pretty much gone. Everybody forgot about The Classy Alcoholic. That’s the thing about this business. The Arizona craft beer industry is growing so fast that no one really knows if they can withstand the test of time. It doesn’t matter how great your brewery, or craft beer bar, or blog is. One day you’re 1990’s Ray Liotta…and before you know it you’re 2016’s Ray Liotta.”
I moved on to the next beer in the flight while I contemplated how awesome and smart and deep that last paragraph was. It was called Say John! and it was a light saison made with sage. It tasted of lemon, orange and had a very interesting peppery finish. A lot of saisons can be too light and lacking in flavor for me to really get excited about them but the Say John! was a vey exciting beer.
“Don’t try to downplay your influence, Classy,” $imon said. “Your dumbass achieved so much with nothing more than a necktie and a bunch of dick jokes on a free blog site. You don’t own a brewery or a bar and you don’t even homebrew your own beer. You have no idea what it’s like to dedicate your entire life to the beer industry and then have your life’s work blow up in your face! click-whirr”
Fittingly, the next beer in my flight was a Pale Ale called Dynamite. There was a lot of citrus on the nose and in the taste. It had a very nice fruity undertone with a hint of melon sticking out over the rest of the flavors.
“Is that what this is about, $imon? You couldn’t cut it in the beer business and you’re jealous of my supposed celebrity status? Trust me, that’s no reason to destroy Arizona’s microbreweries. I’m such a nobody now that I couldn’t even win a Latin Grammy last year. Danny Trejo officially has more Latin Grammys than I do! I’m not the success story you think I am!”
“I guess it’s just a matter of perception, then. Tell me about the beer you’re drinking now.”
“It’s called AU. It’s gold colored and has a mild hop taste up front with a bitter flavor that lingers at the end.”
“Very nice. Now here’s the moment of truth. If you want to stop this keg from going off you’ll tell me what kinds of hops were used in this beer.”
“What? You want me to give you the names of the hops? I don’t know how to recognize that from the flavor.”
“I know you don’t, Classhole. I can’t believe you reached that level of fame you got without even knowing basic shit about beer. You just failed my test. Say bye bye to your beer and say hello to my big boom!”
“Wait, don’t do this, $imon! YOU CAN’T!”
I waited for the sound of an explosion. I didn’t know if I could even hear it from here but I braced myself anyway. A few second passed before I heard $imon chuckling on the phone. Fey reached into his fanny pack and pulled out a folded piece of paper that he handed to me.
“Alright, Mr. Classy,” $imon said. “I’m willing to give you a second chance. Old Man Fey gave you a letter I wrote. If you read this out loud while Fey records you, I won’t set off the keg.”
I unfolded the letter. Fey pulled his cell phone out from his fanny pack and tried to figure out how to open the camera. Then he took another fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to go from Photo to Video. He got really frustrated a bunch of times and muttered a few racial slurs under his breath so I helped him out. Twenty minutes later he was ready to record. I read the letter out loud.
“Hello Phoenix and all of Arizona. I am The Classsy Alcoholic. I tried to save your microbreweries from getting blown up but I failed because I know nothing about beer. I’m a loser and a fraud. My blog is totally gayballs and so am I. The only reason nothing blew up is because the sexy badass known as $imon decided to take pity on you dipshits. That was super cool of him because he usually spends his days boning hot ladies but he took a break from that just to show you that he controls your beer industry now. Also, if you get a chance, check out the Ashton Kutcher movie, ‘The Butterfly Effect.’ It’s the dopest movie ever. The end.”
Fey fidddled with his phone for another fifteen minutes before he figured out how to forward the video. $imon hung up, obviously done with me. Fey left me and walked over to the other end of the bar to get another glass of wine. I pulled out my phone and brought up the local news feed. My fat face was already on every channel. I watched myself reading $imon’s letter over and over. I knew my career as a beer blogger was over. I wasn’t the beer hero Arizona needed or deserved. I grabbed another beer from my flight because why the hell not.
It was an IPA called Birthday Suit. It had a piney taste with tropical fruit on the nose and a strong citrus flavor on top of the bitter hop finish. That’s when my phone rang.
“Mr. Classy, it’s Button. You won’t believe what’s happening down here in Tucson!”
“Let me guess, a bunch of Tucsonans saw me embarrass myself on the news and they decided to tear down that bronze statue of me that I put up a few years ago.”
“No! Or, well, yeah, that statue is straight up fucked. It looked like when the tanks pulled down that statue of Saddam Hussein except this wasn’t an obviously staged PR stunt. But that’s not why I’m calling. After that keg blew up outside of Public Brewhouse everybody left the taproom. I stuck around for a bit and guess who came by? The same dudes who came into my place and jacked my homebrew kegs! They had a huge truck with them and they tried to steal the kegs at Public. Luckily I stopped them. You should’ve seen me, Classy. I kicked their asses and dodged a bunch of bullets and I got into a crazy car chase. It’ll be great material for the blog!”
“Oh, um, sorry Button but I’m writing this story in first person so I won’t be able to include your adventures this time around. Maybe next time.”
“Oh, okay, that sucks. Well that’s not all. I called a bunch of other brewery owners here in town and had them go and check their beer fridges. Classy, all the microbrew kegs in Tucson are gone! They were stolen by $imon’ henchmen while everyone was distracted by the keg bomb.”
“Holy shit, Button, do you know what this means? For the first time in my life something isn’t entirely all about me. $imon didn’t just want to ruin my reputation. He used my immensely influential blog to distract all of the state’s brewery owners and customers. He knew Tucson’s breweries would evacuate after the bomb so he sent in his henchmen to just pick up all the kegs in town without anyone getting in their way. And I bet you he did the same thing in Phoenix. Call all the brewery owners you know up here and tell them to check their keg fridges. Most of them will be empty.”
“Why would $imon do this?”
“I don’t know but we’re gonna find out. I’ll call you back.”
I walked up to Fey as he was closing his tab. I punched him in the back of the head hard enough to knock him on the ground. I jumped on him and expected to easily overpower his old ass. I didn’t count on his old man rage, though, and he wrestled me onto my back while he sat on my chest and punched me in the face over and over. I unzipped his fanny pack and slid my cell phone into it. I zipped the pack closed before he was done beating the shit out of me.
“Goddamn kids need to learn to respect your elders!” He grumbled to himself as he walked out of the taproom.
I asked the bartender to borrow her cell phone as I felt blood pool up in my mouth. Normally I wouldn’t be able to reach anyone I knew without my cell because I didn’t know anyone’s number by heart…but I remembered I had Button’s business card in my pocket. He was the hero I needed now.
“Button, I need you to get in touch with the FBI field office in Tucson. Ask for a man named Lennix. Tell him to track my cell phone’s GPS signal. He set it up for me after I got lost in Disneyland this one time. I was super drunk and harassed a whole bunch of the princesses. It’s a long story, don’t worry about it.”
“Okay, I’ll reach Lennix but I’m definitely coming up there now, Classy.”
“No, Button. I told you, it’s too dangerous!”
“I don’t care! $imon made this personal. He didn’t just fuck with me. He fucked with all of Tucson. The beer community down here is a family and I’m going to stand up for my family just like you’re doing now!”
I didn’t argue. I could’ve started sweating Fey for information on $imon but I didn’t because I knew this was too big for me. I needed backup. I took a sip of the very last beer in my flight. It was the Desert Rose, an ale with a beautiful, bright pink color to it. It was brewed with Arizona cactus fruit and the smooth, prickly pear flavor reminded me why I couldn’t give up and why I couldn’t go it alone this time.
“You’re a true hero, Button. Tell Lennix to pick you up on his way to meet me. The three of us are gonna find this $imon $onofabitch and we’re gonna save our state’s craft beer industry. Even if it costs us our lives.”
“Woah, hold on, Classy, I never agreed to give up my life for this. I mean, I have a family and I-”
“EVEN IF IT COSTS US OUR LIVES, BUTTON!”
To be continued…