The first thing that hits you in Hawaii is the humidity. After leaving behind crisp air and snow-capped North Shore mountain vistas at YVR, the sweaty, hibiscus-scented Honolulu night instantly lets you know that there's a chilled bottle of lager out there, oozing fat beads of condensation like a corpulent secret agent undergoing interrogation.
But first things first. Minor mystery solved.
Q: when does a Molson Canadian actually taste good?
A: when served at 29000 feet. For free.
Remember when they fired all those people, and instead of benefits, Air Canada hired Celine Dion to come and ululate hypersonically to boost morale? Yes, well. Never failing to disappoint, Air Canada Flight whatever-it-was left the terminal an hour late with no hot water on board. As a sop to the hundreds crammed into a tube-shaped sardine can that was about to take to the air and spit in God's eye, we all got one free drink. Beer choices were Molson Canadian, which is pretty weak, or Heineiken, which is a Dutch word meaning "urine".
I went with the Molson.
You'll notice that I've paired "The Best Canada Has To Offer" with a roast beef sandwich. Air Canada has seen fit to interpret "roast beef sandwich" as "a loaf of bread cut in half and filled with an entire head of lettuce, some gristly meat from a cow that probably died before British Columbia entered the Dominion, and a slice of cheese so thin you could read the newspaper through it".
On the other hand, surrounded by squalling toddlers, breathing desiccating, recirculated air crammed with the flatulence of innumerable butts and drifting clouds of avian influenza, with the guy behind me kicking my seat like he was a retired Russian folk dancer and the lady on the left coughing like a tubercular Victorian, that beer tasted like dew from the Garden of Eden.
Anyway, I'm ensconced in Ohau now, and good news everyone! I've just been to the beer store.
Admittedly, there's not much in the way of Hawaiian beer out there. Here's a mixer six I just grabbed.
Nothing particularly special here except the coconut porter. It's delicious, and if you're stuck in an office reading this, why not drop by Swan's on your way home and knock back a pint of Victoria's own tropical mix on a wet-coast favourite?
Currently, I'm drinking a Torpedo from Sierra Nevada, and yes, I know, why bother with a Californian beer when in the tropics? But while I may be surrounded by lizards and birds of paradise and street signs with more vowels than consonants, Hawaii is America, and it gets all the good stuff from the mainland. This was a regular 9-buck sixpack.
I also have some Longboard Lager.
That ought to cover me for Sunday.
Stay tuned, I brought something special from a very cold place.