Fear and Loathing In Livonia

I saw a t-shirt once that had the saying “you can’t drink all day if you don’t start early” emblazoned on the front of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a gigantic fan of day drinking. Some of my fondest memory lapses have come on the tail end of all-day drinking marathons. Thing is, it has probably been over 20 years since I decided to saddle up to a bar stool in the a.m. with the intention of staying until after dark. So, when Brownie sent me an email about a Bourbon Barrel event at One Under that started at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday March 4th, I immediately began to wonder if there was an age restriction on the t-shirt saying. There was only one way to find out.

One Under Craft Beer and Eats at 35780 Five Mile Rd. Livonia has been a favorite of mine since they remodeled and added 76 tap handles. You can typically find a strong lineup of Michigan beers, in addition to some major national players. One Under gets a great selection of seasonal beers and special release tappings and they also have above average food for a bar connected to a golf course. Did I also mention that they have a patio? So, there are few reasons not to love One Under, and the up the ante when they pull off a lineup like the one they had on 3/4/17.

For starters, they had 25 bourbon barrel beers brought in for the occasion (the flier said 40, but I can’t remember or have any evidence to support that 15 more were tapped so I am going with 25). They were also doing 4 special timed tappings of some amazing and tough to find beer. Let’s start with the special tappings: Noon was Perrin No Rules, which was my number two beer of 2016. Then at 2:00 they tapped Brewery Vivant Wizard Burial Ground, an amazing barrel aged Belgian Quadruple. At 5:00, Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout which needs no hyperbole, and at 7:00 Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. In between those special tappings you could get beers like Founders Project Pam, which was my number one beer for 2016 (even though it was released in 2015 – please see my post for my rules) and a host of other killer Barrel Aged Beers. Here is the list of the first 25 that were tapped that day:

1. Perrin – NO RULES 2016
2. Brewery Vivant – Wizard Burial Ground 2016
3. Goose Island – BCBS 2016
4. Founders – KBS 20165. Founders – Project Pam 2015
6. Founders – Backwoods Bastard 2016
7. Founders – Lizard of KOZ 2016
8. Dark Horse 2016 BBA Scotty Karate
9. Dark Horse 2017 BBA Scotty Karate
10. Deschutes – Black Butte XXVIII
11. Rochester Mills – BA Snow Dazed
12. Perrin – Unfinished business 2016
13. Odd Side Ales – Hipster Brunch Stout
14. Odd Side Ales– BBA Imperial Mayan Mocha Stout
15. Griffin Claw – BBA 3 Scrooges
16. Griffin Claw – BBA Flying Buffalo W/ Coffee
17. Griffin Claw – BBA Flying Buffalo Hazelnut
18. Central Waters – BBA Stout
19. Central Waters – BBA Scotch Ale
20. Saugatuck – BBA Blueberry Maple Stout
21. Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout Aged in Wild Turkey Barrels
22. Bells 2016 BBA Hell Hath no fury
23. Stone 2016 Koteka Rise and Grind
24. Stone 2016 Farking Woot Stout
25. New Holland Dragons Milk brewers select 2016

There were 50 other beers on tap in addition to these beauties, including Founders Breakfast Stout Nitro (which ended up being the second lowest ABV beer I had that day…think about it). Drinking from 11 AM with 25 beers clocking in with ABV’s from 9-15%, what could possibly go wrong? Well it turns out not much when you are in your 40’s except a bad liver, dead brain cells, and a lot of empty calories. Certainly, nothing like what would have happened 20 years ago, if I put in drinking a shift like this.

When I last drank for 9 hours straight I have to go back to my time in the early 90’s when I was on the glorious campus of Michigan State University. There were many times that I stumbled out of Rick’s American Café after Friday happy hour of $1 dollar pitchers. The Happy Hour that went from 2-6 pm in the dark downstairs cave that was Rick East Lansing.  During spring and summer you went into the bar during daylight, sat in the dark for 4 hours, and walked out with the sun blinding you like being let out of “the hole” in a prison movie. Once your eyes adjusted you headed out searching eagerly for a slice of pizza to fuel a few more hours of drinking. Other marathons were Football Saturdays that started with 9 a.m. tailgates that lasted until all hours of the night. So much fun, so much trouble back then (we came back from one of those long drinking shifts and lit our neighbor’s stalled out car on fire after smashing it with a sledgehammer…with their permission…sort of…but this action and subsequent arson was still frowned upon by the E. Lansing police and fire departments and some arrests were made. Another time we crashed a buddy’s car into a tree, left it there, and walked home…it goes on and on but since this is a family blog I will keep it at these 2 events) but now I am older and more responsible. I also have less energy to do dumb stuff when I drink.  Add to this that the ABV of the month old natural light being served for Rick’s $1 pitcher happy hour does not pack nearly the punch of the high-test we were going to put down at One Under where the ABV went from 9 -16% all the way up  and down that amazing list. Anyway, I digress…here is the sort of recap of what I can piece together from the Bourbon Barrel Debacle at One Under.

10:45 a.m. the lovely and talented Mrs. Profmanfredi drives Profmanfredi and Brownie to One Under and drops us off giving me a kiss and a smile. “Have fun honey.” We expect a line at the door. There is no line. Walking in we agree that we will pace ourselves.

11:00 tickets go on sale for Perrin No Rules which will be tapped at noon along with the most of the other 25. We buy two tickets.

11:05 first terrible choice occurs. “We should sip a Bloody Mary until noon then start with Perrin No Rules as our first beer” says one of us. “Two spicy Bloody Mary’s please” say both of us. Brownie specifies Tito’s vodka, I have no idea so I say “Me too please!”  What shows up kinda has the color of the tomato soup we used to get in grade school that was clearly just ketchup and water. This Bloody Mary looked like a triple shot of vodka with Tabasco sauce and pepper over ice AKA as a very heavy pour. “This ought to hold us for the hour.” said Brownie. “Yup” I replied, wiping my eyes that were tearing up from the strength of the vodka and pepper “do you think she just put Vodka and Tabasco in this with no mix?” “Maybe.” Onward. Far be it from me to complain about a heavy-handed bartender. Plus, I love hot sauce. I put that stuff on everything.

11:30 Server stops by and says “Brian decided to tap everything early, what do you want?” “I will have a Perrin No Rules and a Project Pam please” I state confidently. “Same for me” says Brownie, “after all there are 10 other people in the bar so they might run out of Project Pam, better order it right away.” “Can’t be too careful” I agree.

11:35 Beers arrive. “Cheers” I say as Brownie and I toast the half full Bloody Mary glasses. Down they hatch, 30 minutes sooner than planned. After all we had Perrin No Rules and Project Pam in front of us.

High noon when the event was supposed to have officially started. There are about 20 people in the bar. The Perrin in front of us is gone. The Project Pam in front of us is half gone. Next round ordered. I get a Griffin Claw BBA Flying Buffalo W/ Coffee. Brownie orders a Breakfast Stout Nitro and a Central Waters BBA Scotch Ale. “Wait, they have Breakfast Stout Nitro! I will take one of those too!” I exclaimed with way too much enthusiasm. “Whew that was close. I would have been bummed out if I missed on that beer” I said as 10 more people walked in.

12:45 “How do you keep hitting that leg lock on me dude” I figured I could get Brownie to spill about a new move he has been killing me with in Jiu Jitsu. He does not divulge his new leg attack. “We should eat something” Brownie says changing the subject. We order tuna shashimi nachos (you heard me right) and complain to our server that they no longer have spinach and artichoke dip (a booze soaking staple). The owner comes over to ask us how the nachos were. We say they are not really nachos and we miss the spinach and artichoke dip. We also tell him that the tuna was fine but the beer is better. He says “I am going to bring you something to try. You like spicy stuff?” Of course, we do, (as long as it is not another triple shot of Tabasco Vodka…)

1:00 I order a Dragon’s Milk Brewers Reserve and we both buy a ticket for the 2 pm tapping of Wizard Burial Ground. Brownie gets the BBA Flying Buffalo. I am starting to feel very warm and smiley. I put the crowd at 40 by now but who knows, counting is related to math.

2:00 Wizard Burial Ground arrives. We cheers and start drinking the BBA quad that will be a major buzz catalyst.

2:05 “We better eat something” says Brownie. “Uggh” I grunt in agreement. Pizza ordered without incident.

2:35 Pizza on the table. Silence for the next 30 minutes as we eat like it is our last meal before we are going to the electric chair.

3:15 “Two Breakfast Stout Nitros please” I scream to our server. “Brownie, we have to pace ourselves and those are only 8% so it is like the rest phase of interval training. By the way how do you keep hitting that leg lock on me”. No reply

4:00 Buy tickets for Bourbon County. I get a Farkin WootStout and Brownie gets an INSERT BEER HERE (neither of us remember but I know he had one). Owner comes back with chicken wrapped in bacon with a sriracha sauce. Once of us does not eat chicken but both of us devour it. I watch Michigan State lose at the buzzer. Now there are over 100 people. Things are slowing down around me and getting blurry as evidenced by the picture below.

5:00 Bourbon County gets to the table. Heaven. So, good. So, strong. This is officially the last thing Brownie remembers for the night. I am not much better. I was in Chicago once and a last call Bourbon County Proprietors Blend did the same to me. Strong stuff that Bourbon County.

Sometime between 5 and 6 “How do you keep hitting that leg lock on me” Can’t remember what he tells me. There are now a lot of people. The trail of breadcrumbs I left to get to the bathroom is getting much harder to follow. I am playing table bumper cars on the way back to our high top.

6:00 Here come the KBS tickets. Glad I only have to say 3 letters to get the tickets.

6:15 “Let’s mix it up and order an M-43 IPA” “Uggh” Brownie replies. Brownie’s phone dies at this point. I know this because I am starting to think about having him call Mrs. Brownie for our ride home. He can’t because his phone died. We decide that it would be foolish to leave before KBS. One of us does not feel good about eating chicken.

6:30 “We better eat something” Fish and chips and shrimp tacos are ordered to go with the M-43 (not a pairing, just needed food).


7:05 Food arrives. Inhaled. I wear some of it, I taste very little of it. Is it just me or are we surrounded by hipsters?

7:30 “We should get another Project Pam.” “Genius!” Not sure who is leading this travesty and who is following at this point. Just holding on for the ride after 8.5 hours of drinking.

7:45 “What is Mrs. Brownie’s number. We need to pull the chute on this or I am going to face plant on the table” Brownie repeats it to me 5 times. I text 5 complete strangers. Defeated I hand him my phone. He completes the task. Help is on the way.

8:00 “I am in the parking lot.” texts Mrs. Brownie. “Brownie, slam your beer we have to go!”  We slam the Pam and wobble out the door. “Jits tomorrow morning is going to suck”. One of us said it, both of us know it, Brownie does not remember it.

Sunday morning 8:30 at Kaizen BJJ less than a mile from the scene of Saturday’s carnage. Brownie and I are the first one’s there but both of us wish we were still asleep. I am bleeding from my eyes, his eyes are welded closed. Thing is you can do anything you want as long as you show up at your post the next morning, no matter how painful it will be. 2 hours of jits ahead of us. Pure misery.

9:00 a.m. Blue Belt Mike Mike Mike HUMPDAAAAY shows up to class. He is rolling with Brownie and says “Did you guys stay until KBS?” “You were there?” says Brownie incredulously. “Yeah, had a couple and went home. You guys looked like you were in it for the long haul.” Brownie appreciates BBMMMHD’s discipline and restraint. I am lying in a puddle of sweat wondering why I can’t moderate.

After class is over we are both as pale and washed out as a person can be while still being alive. “I lost my phone” says Brownie. “I ate a half a bag of Doritos when I got home while watching a movie I don’t remember.” I reply. “Look on the bright side, we were responsible enough to have a designated driver.” says Brownie. That Brownie, always pointing out the silver lining.

Don Manfredi
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