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I Coulda Been a Believah!

Cindy, you were right.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about -- which would be everyone but Cindy at this point -- Cindy is a kind reader from the Philly-ish area with whom I reccently traded emails about Guinness Believer events.

Now, I've written -- in positively glowing terms -- about these events. And this being the time of year for Believer shindigs, I've seen quite a few people coming by here, checking out my impromptu 'two livers up!' review. In a world with no free lunches, these things are a complimentary dinner, date, and open-bar party.

Or rather, they were. Cindy's last email alerted me to a horrific new development -- the Guinness guys were skimping on the brewskis. Skimping! She said they still have the three phases of the event, but at hers things were a little different. Here's what I've experienced, during three Boston Believer soirees:

The Warmup: Forty-five minutes of fresh-poured drafts, food, and general merriment
The Pep Talk: A half-hour of listening to Guinness info, but with a huge bucket of bottles and cans for the table. So, more drinking.
The Wrapup: Another half-hour pr more of free drafts, more apps, and some swag like T-shirts or bottle openers as parting gifts.

Here's what Cindy described, much to my open-mouthed horror:

Warmup: Half an hour. One ticket. One beer.
Pep Talk: Half an hour. One bottle per person; shot glass of extra stout.
Wrapup: Hi. Thanks for coming. Have a poster. What, beer? No, there's no more beer here. Keep that line moving. And don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Hah, I said to myself. Hah, those silly Phillydenlphians. Getting cheap with the beer, when the Believer poohbahs in Boston know how to put on a party. Poor Cindy. Come to Boston some day, I told her. You'll see what these things are supposed to be like.

So. On Friday, I went to the latest Guinness Believer event. That's a Boston Believer event. Here. In Boston.

And I'll be damned if we didn't get two beers, a poster, and shown the door seventy minutes after the doors opened. Son. Of. A. Bitch. Free lunch and an open bar turned into a half a soda and a TicTac. Very disappointing. Guinness -- you used to be cool, man.

Now, I have to admit -- if I hadn't been to the good Guinness events, then this one would've seemed a lot cooler. In a total vacuum, without the lofty expectations, it wouldn't have been a bad evening. And it still was free beer; we felt a little silly, sitting at the table saying things like:

"Man, this sucks. *glug* Remember last *siiiip* year, when it was actually *sluuuuurp* good? Boy, those *gulp gulp* were the days. Hey, hand me one of those chicken puffs. And a couple of spring rolls. Jeez, what a *chomp* *smacK* *munch* waste of time."

Still, it's not the same. The good old days are gone. Hell, we even went out Friday night, after the Believer event. Christ, in the old days, we were happy if we could walk afterward.

So, I guess the bottom line is: yeah, I still 'believe'. A little, anyway. Not as much as I used to. Some of my believing bits died Friday night, and I'm not sure they'll ever grow back. Meanwhile, it's Saturday night, and I'm thirsty. I think I'll go have a Guinness. Now, if only it were free. And there were several of its delicious friends right behind it. Ooh, and a couple of those chicken puff things would be nice, too. Maybe I should get back on that Believer wagon, after all.

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