Bombadier and Drinking for the Greater Good

bombadier.jpg

I have family in the English Midlands. Whenever I visit, at least one night is spent with my sister, niece, brother-in-law, and their assorted friends in one of their local pubs. The big draw is either Green Abbot IPA, which is quite nice, or Bombardier, which is possibly my favorite of the Northern beers. The Northern beers are usually a bit darker and richer in flavor than their London counterparts, and “the Bomb” is the best of the lot. It’s a fantastic session beer. It’s rich, dark, full-bodied, and you can drink loads of it and not be hung-over in the morning. Win win.

Needless to say, I was giddy as a schoolgirl when it showed up on tap at the Horse Brass last year, and started cropping up in places like John’s and the Belmont Station. However, my joy was short-lived, as it disappeared off the shelf as soon as it appeared.

However, it appears to be back. I was at the Freddie’s up on West Burnside this AM and spotted my old friend in the beer aisle. Instant purchase. If you haven’t tried Bombardier yet, I highly recommend it.

As some of you know (and some don’t), I am a recent law school graduate. I spent a goodly portion of my third year clerking for one of the D.A.’s here in the tri-county area. Criminal Law has always fascinated me, and being able to work behind the scenes was fantastic. In Oregon, after your second year of law school, you can be court-certified, meaning that you are able to make court appearances, so long as you are working for a supervising attorney. It’s a kind of apprenticeship, and is infinitely valuable. At the D.A.’s office, my court appearances were mainly conducting arraignments (the part of the criminal proceeding where the defendant first hears the charges against him/her). I also did a few civil commitment hearings, and prosecuted a low-level theft case (which was also a fantastically invaluable experience). But a goodly portion of my day was spent doing what is called “intake”, where you read through police reports, research criminal histories, and help the deputy district attorney’s decide what charges to file, if any. The stories never ceased to be fascinating, and I gained a new respect for police officers after reading what they see and are subjected to on a day-to-day basis.

One of the stranger things we got to do as clerks was volunteer for a “wet lab” for some police-in-training. What they do is sit you down in a make-shift sports bar, weigh you, and then, depending on your weight, give you a pre-determined number of cocktails over a two hour period. Inebriated, you then walk out to a make-shift street they have at the training center, and are subjected to a number of field sobriety tests by cadets. The “street” is indoors, so they can control the light level, allowing for “day” tests and “night” tests.

I am what you would call a “stout fellow”, so I was allowed 12 cocktails. I am also what you would call “someone who doesn’t handle hard booze very well”, so I reduced the number to 8. Eight gin and tonics later, I blew a respectable .12 and went outside to do my duty for the streets of Oregon. What suprised me was just how drunk I was at .12. I would NEVER consider driving at this level. I recalled all the intake I read where the suspect blew a .12, .15, or .20 and shuddered.

The other thing that surprised me was how embarrassed I was when I failed all of the tests. I knew that I was there to help these guys, and that my booze was given to me under lab conditions, but it was still embarrassing to be a D.A. clerk slurring and stumbling in front of police officers. That said, it was quite funny to see my fellow clerks (classmates, most of ’em) doing the same thing.

The first test is the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) test. This is where they have you follow a pen with your eyes. The more inebriated you are, the more your eyes will bounce at the outer edges. The police pretty much know that you’re intoxicated if you fail this test – the others (one leg stand, walk and turn) are there just to make sure. Most of the cadets played their poker face perfectly, being very polite and not mentioning my horrible performance. A couple of the (presumably greener) cadets would crack a smile or go “geez”. Yeah. I was bad. And I won’t even talk about the one leg stand or walk and turn results.

Afterwards, we were thanked (and some of the cadets cheered when my name was called, so horrible was my performance), and given rides back to our humble homes.

What does this have to do with Bombardier? Nothing, except to say that you should not drive if you’ve had too many, because those cadets are now officers, and they are well trained because of my generous sacrifice :)

6 Comments so far

  1. Devlyn (unregistered) on January 21st, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

    Woot! I missed Bombadier! Is it back at Belmont Station then, I hope?


  2. tenstringesquire (unregistered) on January 21st, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

    I don’t know, but if you go up there, would you do me a favor and drop me a line if you see the Abyss? I’ve looked at Sheridan’s, Freddie’s Hawthorne and Freddie’s Burnside, and have yet to spot it.

    I would imagine if Freddie’s is carrying Bombardier, Belmont Station would, as well.


  3. morty (unregistered) on January 21st, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

    Great post, Tenstring.
    I work at a place that handles a fair amount of DUIIs on the defense side of things. The sheer number of DUII arrests on any given night of the week is rather staggering.
    The Wet Lab can sure be a great way to see what the BAC number means in a practical application.
    We had a guy who worked at the OSP Implied Consent Dept come by and do a lab for us on the old Intoxilyzer 5000 machine.
    I was assigned to drink on an empty stomach to contrast absorption rates with those who ate before drinking.
    I consider myself a seasoned drinker and 7 steady beers and about an hour and a half later I was a .13, and in no shape to do the WAT or the
    OLS.
    On cases I’ve actually represented people on, .34 is the highest BAC I’ve come across. 2 folks actually, both incidents resulting in a crash. Go figure.
    Bombardier does rock.


  4. truthy (unregistered) on January 21st, 2008 @ 7:16 pm

    TenString – A buddy of mine bought some abyss at whole foods downtown. He bought quite a few so he might have cleaned them out…


  5. tenstringesquire (unregistered) on January 21st, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

    Thanks for the comments, all. A .34, Morty?!? Wow. I think the highest I saw at the D.A.’s office was a.24. And FWIW, even though I was on the other side of the fence, I have nothing but the utmost respect for defense lawyers, both private and public.

    Thanks for the whole foods tip, Truthy. I will check it out.


  6. ElGordo (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2008 @ 9:01 am

    Bombardier is a standard item in stock now at Belmont Station. The distributor occasionally runs out and it will be gone for a few weeks at a stretch, but most days you’ll find it in the cooler in the British section.
    As for the Abyss, we received 50 cases on Friday and it was gone in about four hours. I heard from a friend late last night that there were still a few bottles left at the QFC on Burnside and 50th. Good luck!

    Gordon @ Belmont Station



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