Not with a bang, not with a whimper, not even with your favorite local beer blogger (yes, me) writing for the Alibi. No, there is an even surer sign of the end times than boiling seas and Sarah Palin: Golfer John Daly has all but given up beer. The man who made it cool to be a golfer has found religion, sobriety and a slimmer figure, after Lap-Band surgery allowed him to shed 115 pounds. The surgery makes it difficult to ingest carbonated drinks, and Daly says it takes him an hour to finish a beer, which he rarely craves anymore. How could a man who named one of his children after a rehab center he attended reject the liquid that greets me in the morning and tucks me into bed at night? A man who once used a beer can as a golf tee, who was arrested for being passed out at Hooters, who sported a mullet before some hipsters tried to make them ironically cool, though still hideous? (What makes Daly’s mullet cool is the fact that he rocked one while playing professional golf alongside robotic stuffed shirts.)
What makes the man who missed the cut at a major tournament and then got drunk in the hospitality tent with spectators so willing to give up the lifestyle that made him heroic to functioning alcoholic athletes everywhere? My scientific studies have led me to this: He has been habitually drinking fizzy, watery beer and has missed the craft beer evolution.
Perhaps if Daly had been introduced to a beer like Stone's Old Guardian (available for a limited time for $6.49 at local liquor stores), he would more reluctant to change his ways. Old Guardian is a Barley Wine Ale, the bad-boy style of beer, befitting of the original bad boy of golf. Massive quantities of both malts and hops combine to create an 11.1 percent Alcohol by Volume (Miller Lite is 4.2 percent) behemoth that invites a hangover breakfast at Frontier. An annual release, Old Guardian changes ingredients slightly each year. Stone has made a major change this year, adding a strain of British Maris Otter malt. This gives the beer more of an English Barley Wine feel, as that style favors a balanced flavor that leans towards the malty side. American Barley Wine, by contrast, has a much more noticeable hop-forward bitterness. Hop lovers out there shouldn't shy away from this beer, as it still has 90 International Bitterness Units (Budweiser has 11). If Daly had sampled a beer like this, he wouldn't have traded happiness for a flat stomach. Or he could have gone sober, but in a legendary way. Imagine: He has a big party in Vegas for a last hurrah where he drinks an entire case of Old Guardian. Then he climbs to the top of the Stratosphere, pees off the roof, and jumps off to see if he can beat his pee to the bottom. Or maybe he’d just quietly enjoy this sipper, as you can, too. Share with a friend, as this high alcohol beer only comes in 22-ounce bottles.
Old Guardian is a Barley Wine Ale, the bad-boy style of beer, befitting of the original bad boy of golf.