“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” – Dr. Johnson

If I ever get the chance to hop in a big red hovercraft of a convertible and take off like a bullet for Los Angeles, I’ll consider it less of a vacation and more of a reset.  Why is this, you ask?  Why would I want to be “at home” for a few days in LA and then “vacation” again in Las Vegas?  The answer is simple: I hate Los Angeles, and I love Las Vegas.  The best way for me to enjoy both is to quickly acclimate myself to the culture of freaks, goons, ex-pats, and blazed up soft-heads before I can make the trip into the true pineal gland of the American consciousness.  A mirror world, like a metaphor in some fire-n-brimstone diatribe on a world built on godless good-times, Las Vegas shines as a statement to everything illogical and immoral and wasteful, a great beacon of how super-cool it is to be there.  It’s less of a city than it is a naturally-occurring machine, pulling in people and water, and emitting a white-hot rail of golden neon FUN.  Sure, there’s a bit of nits and grit when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, but literally nothing looks good if you keep zooming in.  It’s a place so synonymous with frivolity and celebration that the main reason why so many people come here is because it’s become natural to say “We should do this in Vegas.”

There is a German word that means to ask a question that, by making the recipient uncomfortable or hesitant, supplies the answer.  It is called die Gretchenfrage.  It comes from Goethe’s Faust, where Gretchen asks Faust, who has already made a pact with the Devil, how he feels about religion.  We can imagine Faust’s reaction.  And now Faust or “Faustian” is a term for which an ambitious person becomes morally ambiguous in their quest for power and success.  If this was to happen today, not to a man but to a city, Las Vegas would fit the bill.  I’ll let you parse out the parallels yourself.  But Mephistopheles, for all his evil and trickery, cuts a fine figure on the many bottles and cans and boxes he’s printed.  Canned ham, sports teams, vacuum cleaners, and most especially beer holds him as a mascot, but I’m sure you can guess which we’ll be talking about here.  Hint: It’s better than having the power of an upright in the palm of your hand.

Faust’s Golden Ale is a great example of the style.  Even completely dulled-out flavor chumps like myself can appreciate a well done and historically accurate representation.  These kinds of things pass the test of time for a reason.  While the descriptors of light hop, clear and crisp malt, and refreshing finish conjure up images of macro-beer commercials, Faust’s Golden Ale is miles away.  This has a real, wholesome Pilsner malt flavor, and very distinct spicy Czech sazz hops.  Oh, and this finish will haunt you.  Not that it is long, but that it has just such a quenching, crisp inflection to it, almost official.  It makes the macro-brew golden ales seem like a printed out black-and-white version of this real, beautiful brew.