It’s been a whirlwind spring here at Fingers HQ. We’ve contemplated the role of NFTs in craft beer and broader beverage alcohol; gazed mouths agape at the unbelievably ham-fisted and casually racist Senate campaign of a centrist beer heiress; and interviewed fascinating folks like Kim Kelly, Benjamin Anderson, and Rax King. The boozeletter’s got range, baby, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
That all said: it’s been a very bad week, month, year, decade, etc. to be an American. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably desperate for a breather from all the horrifying shit happening across this godforsaken land, particularly over the past few days. So! As the unofficial start of summer approaches, let’s lighten the load and cruise into the holiday weekend with a low-stakes discussion thread. I’d like to know any/all of the following:
What are you drinking this weekend? Is it ranch water?
What’s your least favorite drinking game, and why?
Speaking of which, do you call it “beer pong” or “Beirut?”
Brunch cocktail battle royale: Mimosas or Bloody Marys? Micheladas or Greyhounds? Boiler makers or wine spritzers?
Top Gun Maverick can’t be good, right? Right?!
What’s the last really good article you read? Booze-related or otherwise, but preferably otherwise, if I’m being honest.
Hold forth in the comments, compadres! Or just post whatever you want, or ask me questions… truly, I’m just looking to turn my brain off and shoot the shit with you. I’ll be in and out of the thread throughout the day, hope to see you there. Thanks as always for reading—Dave.
P.S.: Commenting privileges are typically restricted to paying Friends of Fingers, but I’m opening this thread up to the whole Fingers Fam. Please, if you haven’t yet, consider buying a subscription to support my work:
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Called it beer pong; don't think I heard it called Beirut until well into college. My favorite college drinking game story ....
Scene: Northwestern University, 2010, the off-campus house that my boyfriend at the time and his ~14 roommates live in
Props: Garbage everywhere. That house was disgusting. A grimy beer pong table, sticky as a fly trap.
My boyfriend's roommates were nice people but generally rolled their eyes about whoever would have to be on a beer pong team with me, because they were all dudes who'd been practicing this skill since leaving the womb (apparently) and I .... went to class instead?
Anyway, it's nearly the end of my senior year and my younger brother came out to visit me from the East Coast; he would have been a sophomore in college at this point, the peak of his scrawniness and awkwardness. Of course he has to be on my team, so folks are lining up to play us, assuming our beer pong mediocrity must be genetic. What they don't know—but quickly learned—is that my brother was in a fraternity and spent +/- 5 hours a day playing beer pong in between the wine tasting classes he went to (his major was 'hospitality,' uh huh). Anyway, my dweeby little brother sunk like 7 cups in a row, somehow I managed to also make ~3 in a row, and we absolutely shut out the other team. A top 5 sibling moment, probably.
Here's a drinking game story from college*. A group of us were rounding out a long night of beverages with a game of quarters and I was doing so, so poorly. I could barely get a bounce or two done before somebody would stack their glass on mine and I'd have to take a drink. This happened probably five or six times before I bowed out of the game and decided to just spectate. While watching I realized the rest of the group was also terrible at the game, but I was so laser focused on bouncing a quarter (and, let's be honest, too drunk to realize) that my friends were just stacking their glasses on mine to see if I would notice. Five or six times. So, quarters taught me about trust and I don't think I have ever played again.
*senior year, when we were all of legal drinking age, of course.
beer pong and beirut were used interchangeably when i was playing
best brunch cocktail is a gin and grapefruit with a Campari float
always happy to tell people to read whatever Andre Gee is writing: https://twitter.com/andrejgee
"Beirut" where I went to school and anyone who said "beer pong" was ridiculed.
A little late, but the best recent articles I've read are Pablo Maurer reporting on water fountains (https://theathletic.com/1448748/2022/05/26/usmnt-2002-photo-shoot/) and Nacogdoches (https://theathletic.com/3323860/2022/05/20/clint-dempsey-usmnt-hall-of-fame/)
The last really good article I read was the interview last week on Will Harris’ Substack about a John Leguizamo pilot titled “King John” that is a fascinating behind-the-scenes of the creative meat grinder that is Hollywood. https://willharris.substack.com/p/pilot-error-king-john-2014?s=r
Top Gun Maverick currently 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. I can’t quite believe it either.
Drinking Green State Lager. Hate any drinking games involving cards. Called it Beer Pong, then Beirut and now back to Beer Pong while still selectively calling it Beirut. Out of that group Bloody Marys but prefer Red Needles or Tequila Sunrises. All in on Top Gun Maverick! As for articles https://defector.com/there-is-drama-over-irish-dances-first-replay-review/
I will only be drinking domestic lagers.
Neither I only play beer die, because you get to sit.
Bloody Mary is the champion.
I heard Maverick was very good.
Read this one recently - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/08/the-day-the-dinosaurs-died
Called it Beirut-was never a fan. And even would be corrected and correct others that "beer pong" is a different drinking game. Another drinking game that I wasn't a fan of the name was "Bombs over Baghdad" which involved table tennis balls and solo cups but forget the other rules.
We called it Beirut in high school so it’s very weird to me that Kate did not - Dave, what was it over on your hilltop in Morris Township?? In college, I feel like I heard a mix of both, but definitely leaned more toward beer pong. In any case, I am embarrassingly terrible at it.
In my longform magazine article writing class, which was half grad students and half undergrads (would have pissed me off were I a grad student bc we were all real try-hard annoying), the grad students all picked wildly interesting topics for their semester-long piece. One guy did the origins of the game and ended up going to Dartmouth and found the creators etc etc. Another guy did the invention the hoodie. All the undergrads (myself included) did all these very dorky, very serious things. What a waste.
Anyway… I am never not down for a game of flip cup. Survivor-style, musical chairs, really anything. It is my only real skill in life. (This is as sad as it sounds.)
For what it's worth, I grew up calling it "Beirut." I still kind of remember Facebook Groups dedicated to swearing your allegiance to one name or the other. Man what a weird moment in time that was. Does anybody else remember that?
I got curious about the provenance of the name, so I reported it out for Thrillist years ago. The Beirut moniker seems pretty likely derived from American conservatives' demands for Reagan to bomb Lebanon in the mid-'80s: https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/beer-pong-history-why-it-s-called-beirut-fun-drinking-games
//Back in Pennsylvania, besotted frat bros were reading headlines and hunting for a name to differentiate their new throwing game from Dartmouth’s paddle pong. There was an "analogy between the ping-pong balls flying across the table and landing on the opponent’s side,” Duane Kosten, Lehigh ‘86, told Rathod, plus “an idea that the US should bomb Beirut” in retribution for the ‘83 attacks. Three years later, Hill recalled efforts to dub the game “Libya” in reference to the ‘86 US air siege there.
When Lebanon hit the front page yet again during the Iran-Contra Affair, anti-Lebanese sentiment may have broken the tie. The game would be called Beirut (“Never beer pong!!” emphasized Alison*, Lehigh ‘02, via email). Lehigh legend has it that there was originally a table painted with a map of Lebanon and a star on its capital, but if such a thing existed, it’s long since been lost to the frat basement of history.//
Nothing like seemingly benign American traditions that actually have a history rooted in the bloodshed of empire! We may be falling behind the developed world in every meaningful metric, but we'll be #1 at that shit forever.