Even though I'm a fervent season-change denier, the lengthening of sleeves and shortening of afternoons is making it harder and harder to avoid the reality of the impending fall. But the silver lining there is that my wedding anniversary is in the fall, so now's as good a time as any to lead off a beer review by bragging that my wife and I are wrapping up our second year of peaceful and harmonious marriage.
We'll have the very occasional real argument sprinkled in between more frequent bouts of low-grade pissiness; we're not perfect or otherwise boring. But we don't have any children, dogs, or ailing family members to care for, so we have plenty of time to focus on the more rewarding task of constantly comparing our relationship to those of our friends and the people on Dating Naked, and on the whole we come out looking healthy and strong.
One helpful thing: I'm not a total shithead anymore. That helps more than the so-called experts care to admit. The relationship-advising racket loves to tell you how important it is to work things out as a team, but think about most of the partnerships you've observed or taken part in, either romantic, athletic, professional, or otherwise: Can't you almost always tell who's the guiltier party? Individual results will vary, but in our case, it's been very clear that things improved once I stopped complaining about every fucking thing every fucking day.
A related thing my fellow experts like to harp on is the importance of compromise, but I think the more useful advice is that you should do everything possible—starting with marrying the right person—to minimize instances in which compromise is necessary. My wife and I have it mostly easy because we mostly agree on things, and have learned to live with our disagreements. Did the fantasy husband she drew up in middle school maybe feature such luxurious attributes as a proper job and a leather belt? Probably, but she's never mentioned it, which is why I tolerate her ridiculous aversion to Japanese food.
From time to time, she'll fall on the grenade and suggest we go out for sushi, just because she knows I love it, but I always decline, because I'm a goddamned saint, and also because she travels for work often enough: When she's out of town, I eat sushi alone, and when I eat sushi, I drink Sapporo, which is superior to Asahi, Kirin, Heineken, and Amstel Light, the other beers most commonly found in my neighborhood's Japanese restaurants.
Sapporo is Japan's oldest brand of beer, though the version we drink in North America is made in Ontario. This is for the best. I don't get it when Americans complain that their Guinness isn't actually brewed in Dublin: Closer means fresher means better. This is the adjunct lager you should order with your sushi, because it tastes clean and fresh and thoroughly inoffensive. It doesn't have a ton of flavor—mostly bread-y malt and faintly grassy hops—but it doesn't get in the way, either. Remember, you're dealing with fish and soy sauce and ginger and way too much wasabi here. You don't want aggressive beer. You want Sapporo, and peace.
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Will Gordon loves life and tolerates dissent. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and has visited all of the other New England states, including, come to think of it, Vermont. Find him on Twitter@WillGordonAgain. Image by Jim Cooke.
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