Happy Hour In The Heptarchy: Costco Beer And Pasta Salad

by J.R.

It’s five past 5 across Conference III (leave work early, Colorado — you have our permission), time to hit bricks and get that freakin’ weekend started, am I right?

Of course I am.

It’s been a tough week for some of you so loosen your belt, pop a top, grab a spoon and stop being such a sourpuss. III Communication’s got good news for everybody.

The Particulars

IMAG0020What We’re Drinking: My affection for low-cost beer is well-documented here, but I am not a reverse-snob. I enjoy craft beers and am particularly fond of IPAs. Last weekend, I found myself out of High Life and, needing to pick up a few hilariously cheap and comically oversized items anyway, decided to pick up some beer at my local Costco. I was just going to go with Miller Lite or whatever was on special when I spotted Costco’s brewers’ box. It was cheaper (something like $18.99 for a 24-pack) than the macrobrews and included a German lager, amber, pale ale and an IPA (judging by my image search they also brew a Belgian white and a hefeweizen). Price notwithstanding (and the price is right — just a few dollars more than what I pay for a case of the Champagne of Beers), the beers are pretty good. The IPA won’t amaze hopheads, but it’s accessible (if a little malty). The German lager is good (if basic), the amber was quite nice and the pale ale was surprisingly refreshing. For less than 80 cents a bottle, it’s a steal. Also, enjoy the hilarious thing of a generic, warehouse-store beer eschewing the twist-off.

Pasta_salad_closeupWhat We’re Eating: Dammit do I love comfort food – big stews and roasts and hearty soups and casseroles with cornbread crusts.

But it’s heating up outside and the idea of tucking into some heavy, hot meals is not appealing. One of my favorite summertime meals is pasta salad. A box of rotini, some softened onions and garlic and bell peppers, a couple of chunked tomatoes,a cup each of creamy Caesar and Italian dressing and a little Parmesan cheese — all mixed in when the pasta is still hot…and then chilled all afternoon and brought out just as the humidity of the gloaming wraps around the big hill on the west side. Good for a light lunch the next day too and as a “oh-crap-we-forgot-we-had-to-bring-something” meal.

Reasons To Celebrate

trumbull-mural-2Chicago: Your little Game 3 slip-up is behind you and Mr Patty Kane came to play in Game 4. You’re headed back to the Hog Butcher For The World with a 3-1 lead and a chance to not touch the Campbell Bowl at home. And neat art news: some cool century-old murals in a to-be-closed school won’t be removed (yet) and won’t be destroyed at all.

Your Weekend Jam:Interiors” by Manic Street Preachers

free-dunkin-donutColorado: Hey! You signed Patrick Bordeleau for some Conference III Toughness™ I guess. And maybe you’ll lose Weld County and her neighbors to some new state, but a Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to your top-notch airport.

Your Weekend Jam: Strange Town” by The Jam

seneca3Dallas: Fancy new uniforms, Dallas, what with their green and their weird sparkly logo. And you will, I suppose, eventually find a coach maybe some day. And maybe when he gets to town, he can head to Austin to see this cool letter donated by a Dallas businessman in which George Washington describes the killing of members of the Mingo tribe as murder.

Your Weekend Jam: “Apache” by The Shadows

Loring_Park_105Minnesota: Tornadoes are bad. But people giving homes to dogs who were displaced by tornadoes is great. Also great: your park system, the nation’s best.

Your Weekend Jam: “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” by The Hold Steady

ScottNicholG_228x250Nashville: Seems odd that Music City’s symphony would be in foreclosure, but here you are. And rest in peace to the great Rev. William Campbell, a renegade Baptist preacher and civil rights figure. Good news, though: Scott Nichol is back and CMA Fest is almost over.

Your Weekend Jam: “Stone Fox Chase” by Area Code 615.

Blues-Andy-McDonald-could-return-Sunday-NNVSVN1-x-largeSt. Louis: Congratulations on a career, Andy McDonald, even if you left for less than pleasant reasons. If Andy wants to stick in St. Louis, perhaps he can find a career flipping houses: the city is one of the nation’s five-best for buying fixer-uppers.

Your Weekend Jam: “Demolition Man” by Grace Jones

Lake_winnipeg_HDRIWinnipeg: Either Evander Kane wants to run roughshod through Conference III with you or he wants out. If he stays, he can hopefully enjoy a refreshed Lake Winnipeg, with a renewed push to save the big body of water (Dustin Byfuglien got a head start on his environmentalism).

Your Weekend Jam: “The Lakes of Canada” by Sufjan Stevens