Who’s to say how much beer is too much beer? | AspenTimes.com

Who’s to say how much beer is too much beer?

John Colson

Whew, I’m glad that’s over.

For a while there it looked as though the Aspen City Council was setting itself up as the arbiter of our sobriety, not a position I want to see this poor town get into at all.

Of course the debate was over just one outlet, the new Aspen Brewing Co., and how much of its product it would be allowed to serve in its “tasting room.” It’s not like we were in any danger of losing our God-given, inalienable right to head into any bar in town and get as blotto as the bartender will let us.

The council gave the nod this week to the brewers to serve up to 40 ounces of brew per customer in the tasting room, after which you presumably can buy as many of the 64-ounce refillable jugs called “growlers” as you can carry out the door. Which might not be that many if you’ve consumed your entire allotment of beer beforehand, but that’s a matter of personal preference and stamina, and the city council has no authority there.

The council had been threatening to limit a customer’s intake to a mere 16 ounces per visit, meaning one 16-ounce glass of beer, or two 8-ouncers, or four 4-ouncers, depending, I guess, on how many varieties of beer are on tap and how many one wants to sample.

This arrangement, of course, would have left open the question of whether stepping outside for a cigarette or a breath of gasoline-tinged air, and then returning to the tasting room, would constitute leaving the premises. Meaning that, upon reentering after a minute of blessed respite in the great out-of-doors, one would be eligible for another 16 ounces.

And now that I think about it, the same is still true. If you want more than 40 ounces of the brewers’ fine product, what’s to stop you from taking a quick constitutional around the building, maybe a stroll down the Rio Grande Trail by the river, and returning for continued consumption?

Of course, that would be in obvious violation of the spirit (so to speak) of the law, but it might not be a crime. Would it be up to the cops to decide? Would there be a quota applied to the phenomenon? Do we have a potential civil rights case brewing (again, pardon the pun)? Will someone please call the ACLU?

Just imagine the scene ” it’s late afternoon, some poor joker walks along Mill Street to get his growler for the evening, maybe grab a stool and hoist one or two samplers before picking a flavor of the night.

A bored cop is cruising by, frustrated that she hasn’t had so much as a jaywalker or traffic stop to relieve the grayness of the day. Giving our hapless hero the once-over as he steps up to the door, she decides she’s seen this particular yahoo come out of The Aspen Brewing Co.’s tasting room door once before on that day. Perhaps she even detects a certain wobble to his walk, a telltale sign that confirms her suspicions.

Well, you can imagine the rest. He’s outraged and vocal about it, maybe even gets a little physical. She gets defensive and authoritarian, pulls out the Taser and before you know it, the scene escalates into a full-blown S.W.A.T. encounter and makes the evening news in Denver.

That, by the way, really is what they mean when they say, “You can’t buy publicity like that.”

Now, if only the Federal Aviation Administration will permit travelers to take their growlers onto the planes taking off from the Pitkin County Airport.

That way, maybe we can all avoid the heebie-jeebies when we think about the fact that our lives are in the hands of rank amateurs up in the flight tower, if it’s true what they’re saying about high turnover among the flight controllers.

Who says life isn’t getting better every day?


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