An indomitable figure in American journalism, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson kept a well-trained eye on what he called the “dark, venal, and incurable violent” insanity that is American politics and culture for well over three decades. That is, when he wasn’t out of his gourd, or blowing something up or busy watching football. Amid the swirling madness of his writing, what you’ll find is an angry, passionate and deeply moral code—one he truly believed America should aspire to. Freedom above all else was the way he lived and wrote—and he railed against the establishment’s tireless efforts to smother it. The creator of “Gonzo journalism,” he insinuated himself in the heart of every story, shaped rumors and debates with his antics and blurred the lines of staid reporting in favor of living in the pulse of the yarn. For all his successes, he remains a polarizing figure. Whatever your reaction to him, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that it ain’t lukewarm. So in honor of a truly free American, A Drinkable Feast brings you our Hunter S. Thompson birthday edition.
As Thompson was an outlaw, an American and a man of Herculean appetites, what matters for our celebration is a beer with tremendous drinkability. An American-style lager (which is what many American beers typically are), Rio Grande Brewing's Outlaw fits the bill. Pint after pint, it stays light in the mouth, and for those who dislike hops, there’s far more malt to speak of. So hole up at your own Woody Creek (HST’s bullet ridden Colorado estate), and jump into a sixer or two—it’s the perfect way to pass another brutal American summer afternoon.
As Thompson was an outlaw, an American and a man of Herculean appetites, what matters for our celebration is a beer with tremendous drinkability. An American-style lager (which is what many American beers typically are), Rio Grande Brewing's Outlaw fits the bill.
More addictive than ibogaine and not for the faint of heart—Rustic Food Truck makes serious burgers for serious burger eaters. If there’s a knock against some food trucks, it’s that their hand-held, carry-away portions sometimes leave you wanting. But not Rustic Food Truck’s sacred burger. Rustic’s take on the green chile cheeseburger is sure to make New Mexicans proud. The patty is luscious, of course, but it’s the bun that truly sets it apart. It’s soft and sturdy, and even when steeped in the burger’s sumptuous juices, it keeps its shape. The end result is nothing short of burger Valhalla. I recommend taking it for breakfast, say at 4pm, with a stack of newspapers, some rock and roll, and a side dish or two. Throw in a few more beers and—for those so inclined—a dose of something from the good doctor’s traveling kit, and a long day’s sustenance is all but taken care of “in a spirit of genuine excess” (as Thompson advocated for in The Great Shark Hunt).
When it comes to outrageous books, Thompson has many. Best known, thanks to Johnny Depp, are Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diary (Thompson's only published novel). Screwjack is a blitzkrieg-read (three short stories) and his only other published fiction to speak of. The first story details an afternoon on mescaline; the second revels in the hilariously misguided wagers and concepts of a poet friend; the third is something like a dark, sinister Gonzo love story. The writing is dangerous, takes chances and is all too happy to stir up a bunch of trouble out there and then leave ... which is to say it’s fearless without taking itself too seriously. Of course I realize these are wholly subjective assertions. Like Hunter S. Thompson, I’m not interested in being objective. I’m after the truth. And the way I see it, an afternoon spent with some beer, a good book and some fine grub will always tick you one notch closer to it. And with an election cycle looming, we now have a perfect recipe to sit back, eat, drink and be literary while getting ready to watch the horrific, fat-bellied carnival unfold.