Always the consummate contrarian in matters of widely-observed beliefs, practices and holidays, I have always retorted with the same answer whenever someone wishes me a happy new year. “Not to the Chinese, it isn’t.”
This is in reference to the Chinese calendar’s new year falling on a different date than the Gregorian calendar’s and not to suggest that all Chinese people will be deprived of a joyous 365 day orbit around the sun. It’s my quiet attempt at weak-premise humor masquerading as an intellectual rumination. It also sounds like something Harvey Keitel would say in a movie, so there.
Reflecting upon this now knee-jerk response I give, it looks ungrateful and curmudgeonly. Listen, someone is being nice and hoping I’ll have a combination of good fortune, prosperous employment and sound health in the coming 12 months. So what’s the big deal?
Perhaps it’s the anti-establishment mentality I’ve cultivated over the last 28 years going back to my skateboarding days and continuing through rebellious music and subversive literature. The rationale is that because everyone is being bubbly and happy for no reason other than another 24-hour cycle is rounding off into a new day, than I stand in opposition of this unjustified madness.
But I digress. I’m here to aid you in choosing beer. There are chiefly two types of people on New Year’s Eve: partiers and tea-totalers… and I’ve got beer for both camps. We’ll start light and pick out a low-alcohol session beer for the sensible folks. Try the Stiegl Goldbräu. At only 4.9% this light Märzenbier from Austria won’t wreck your brain lest old acquaintance be forgot. Crisp and malt-forward, Goldbräu is big on the fresh bread flavors with notes of honey and herbal hops. Golden and bubbly, it’s a suitable Champagne substitute minus the Sahara-dry hangover brainfeel the next day. Apparently Stiegl has been making beer so long that Mozart drank it back when, and that guy knew how to get down! Bonus: Stiegl cans are 16.9 oz so it looks like you’re really getting into the New Year’s Eve party spirit.
For the more outgoing ones who pull out all the stops for the holiday, splurge on a sharable bottle of Founders Big Lushious. This is the perfect beer for revelers who go out in tuxedos and little black dresses to start the night then wind up in a lampshade with a broken stiletto heel by 1:30 am. A not-so-daunting 7.8% stout, Big Lushious was brewed with chocolate before being steeped with fresh raspberries. Sexy and celebratory, Founders has brought us an ultra-dark stout loaded with mocha and soft, fresh berry notes. Very limited release, it carries a price tag that screams “special occasion.”
Don’t forget to designate a driver or call a cab tonight, folks. In the meantime, Happy New Year, Chinese people and everyone else!