I’m drinking HeadFlyer Brewing’s Holla Honey wheat ale out of a Super Mario 2 beer mug and playing League of Legends. Welcome to another Friday night in the safer-at-homeverse.
About the brewery: HeadFlyer Brewing was founded in April of 2017 by a gang of four, and opened up shop that year in Northeast Minneapolis. According to their website, the name HeadFlyer draws its inspiration from stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. Their tagline, “Take a Flyer”, is an extension of that.
About the game: League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena game that, when I went to this live player-counting engine, had over two million people playing at that moment. You pick a champion and try to kill other players. Perhaps you’ll pick the zombie robot with shotguns built into his knees as your champion. Maybe the cyborg with swords for legs is more your type. My main champion is Kled, a redneck humanoid mouse man who rides a lizard and fights better when he’s had his … medicine.
I take a sip of my Holla Honey and kill an iron revenant using Kled’s primary ability, Bear Trap on a Rope.
This wheat ale is really nice. I don’t mean to spoil the rest of this story but, of the trio of beers you’ll hopefully continue reading about, this is my favorite. It’s got just the right amount of honey, and lacks nothing. Even as I put my axe through the skull of a barbarian king and ride off into the jungle on my lizard, I take time to think about this beer as I drink it.
Are you asking about my Super Mario 2 beer mug? Too bad – I’m answering anyway. The story, as well as I can remember it, is that my dad found it while cleaning a recently vacated apartment during his maintenance-man days. When I stayed at his house the following weekend, I saw that thing and almost rocketed through the ceiling.
I still think to myself, “Whose idea was this?” This mug was given to me in the early 1990s. There were no Patinas (least not in Duluth) or Etsy pages or Facebook ads peddling branded nostalgia. This was back when Nintendo was still considered kids’ entertainment, more or less, and Super Mario 2 had only been released a few years prior. So whose idea was it to market this video game to children using a gigantic beer mug?
Then again, this was also around the time I was gifted a special-edition lighter set with Joe Camel and his buddies on them. The ‘90s were just different.
Let’s talk about professional wrestling.
Sunday: It was All a Dream
If the United States played the United States in a movie, Florida would undoubtedly play the role of Florida. Even in an already weird reality, here’s Florida with a sandals-clad grim reaper walking the beaches, a dual protest-workout session, and a declaration by Governor Ron DeSantis that the World Wrestling Federation is an essential business. This essential business held perhaps my favorite annual pay-per-view last week, Money in the Bank.
The main event matches (one for the women, one for the men) pit competitors against each other as briefcases hang high above the ring. Grab the briefcase, win the match, and get a championship opportunity whenever you want it. You can cash in after the current champion just fought a match and is incapacitated, or you can cash in while the champion is still fighting a match. Hell, you can even crash the main event of Wrestlemania with it.
This year, an added curveball was thrown in. Rather than a traditional arena, this year’s main event matches were held at WWE’s corporate office. A ring was built on the roof, and the wrestlers had to run through the building, get to the roof, fight off the other competitors, and get the briefcase up there. I don’t have the energy to point all the ways this year’s matches were weird.
It Was All a Dream is a Juicy IPA, named after the iconic first line in the Notorious B.I.G. song “Juicy.” Is it safe to consider this HeadFlyer Brewing’s most popular beer? If Untappd is any indication, yes: this beer has almost twice as many reviews as the second-most-reviewed beer, and more than the second-and third-most-reviewed beers combined. Such is life for Juicy IPAs in general. Chew on this: the Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale category had the most entries at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival. Most categories had less than 150 entries; Juicy or Hazy IPA had 352.
I think to myself something like “This beer feels a little bit thin” while Braun Strowman – a 6-foot-8, 386-pound former strongman competitor – successfully defends his Universal Title against a Mr. Rogers-type children’s TV show host. By the time a Scottish hunk named Drew McIntyre beats Iowan cult leader Seth Rollins to retain his WWE championship, though, I’ve moved past that and am enjoying the hell out of It Was All a Dream.
If a soft-spoken, big stick-carrying IPA and a high-quality pulp-free citrus juice (none of that “From Concentrate” crap) fell for each other, their marriage would be something like It Was All a Dream.
Here’s how the main event matches end: my favorite wrestler, Asuka, climbs the ladder and claims the women’s Money in the Bank briefcase; and a wrestler named Otis can’t climb the ladder because rungs break under his weight, but he wins anyway when two guys fight for the briefcase atop the ladder and fumble it down into his arms.
Did you know Otis is from Duluth? Well if you don’t know, now you know.
Now let’s talk about hostas.
Monday: Pilsner de Lime-O
I’ve been watching my hostas like a hawk lately, a hosta hawk, because 1) rabbits are living under my shed in the backyard and I don’t want them eatin’ my hostas; and 2) not much else to do these days, y’know? On a sunny Monday afternoon, I walk around the property admiring my hostas with a whole crowler of Pilsner de Lime-O poured into my Super Mario 2 mug.
Based on the images in this Garden Lovers Club post, I believe my hostas are Hosta Crispulas – with one exception, a lone Hosta Whirlwind in the backyard growing in a row with four Crispulas. Think of those commercials you see where a toothpaste company claims 4 of 5 dentists recommend them. The Crispulas recommend Colgate; my Whirlwind is like, “Nah, Crest.”
Hostas are big, fluffy, beautiful plants capable of growing practically anywhere and with little effort from humans. They’re perfect for my brand of gardening, which brings us to the beer.
Pilsner de Lime-O is a Czech-style pilsner that was brewed as part of HeadFlyer Brewing’s small-batch series, dubbed “Beyond the Door.” I was apprehensive to try this beer at first, having recently also introduced myself to Naturdays (which is pretty okay) and Keystone Light’s raspberry lime and nightmare, Keylightful.
I’m happy to report Pilsner de Lime-O is not like the others. It looks clean, drinks clean, and the lime force at the end is strong with this one. That lime finish is intentional, but 750 millilitres of it was a little bit much for me. I wouldn’t drink it again, but I respect it. It also aroused enough curiosity that I’m eager to try future “Beyond the Door” beers.
If you tried Keylightful (shivers), you owe it to yourself to try this beer if it’s still available; if you actually enjoyed Keylightful … I don’t even know.