The Beer Test

Jersey City, New Jersey: May 29, 2003

Seeking to gauge the personality and character of new next-door neighbor Robert Lundbeck, Ronatarian Party founder Ron surreptitiously subjected him to a beer test Monday.

"You can learn an awful lot about a fella by the way he drinks his beer," said Ron, a 3-year-resident of Cockstiff Road. "And based on what I've seen from Robert, he's a pretty all-right guy. ...A little light on the body hair, but decent enough."

Ron, who ritualistically administers beer tests to all new male arrivals to Cockstiff Road, invited Lundbeck over to share a six-pack of Becks. He used the seemingly innocuous, welcome-to-the-block gesture as a means of secretly gathering valuable information about the newcomer.

"Robert not only accepted the offer to drink with me, but he held his own, drinking three of the six beers," Ron said. "I actually wanted a fourth, but he beat me to it... He doesn't put his beer in a glass, so he's not some fancy wine-and-cheese guy, but he also says he's never shotgunned a beer in his life, so he's not a party hound. He still hasn't mentioned anything about having a favorite beer, which makes me suspect he's more of a hard-liquor kind of guy. Nothing wrong with that, though."

Ron said he meticulously plans his beer tests, leaving no detail left to chance.
"On a first meeting, I always bring something neutral like Becks in cans," Ron said. "It's an import, so it says 'I care about beer,' but since it's in cans, it says 'I'm no snob.' If you bring anything too fancy or too cheap, it tips the study too far in one direction."

Ron said the test also gives him a sense of how the new neighbor will fit into the larger Cockstiff Road beer-drinking community.

"We're a pretty tight unit, so how a new neighbor responds to an offer of beer goes a long way toward deciding whether he'll become a regular at Saturday night cockfighting get-togethers," Ron said. "That's why I met Robert one-on-one instead of with [Ronatarian running mate] Brad, Ed [Perrin], and the rest of the gang. Having someone like Ed around could skew the subject's reactions, because he can be a little rough when he's been drinking all afternoon."

According to Ron, Lundbeck has proven he is not a beer snob and is willing to "kick back a few," but it remains to be seen whether he shares Ron's deep, abiding passion for beer.

"The other day, I happened to notice that Robert had a refrigerator in his garage-always a good sign," Ron said. "But when he opened it, I saw it was full of Coors Light. I figured he must be a namby-pamby light-beer kind of guy, but then he blew my theory clear out of the water when he told me the beer was left over from a bridal shower his wife had thrown. It was a relief, to be sure, but it still raised more questions than it answered."

Determined to learn more about Lundbeck, Ron said he plans to test him in other beer-related situations, including Cricket (darts) Night at P.U.'s Tavern and a backyard barbecue with fellow Ronatarian Party members.

If he cuts the mustard, Ron will bring in neighbor Chris Boston to administer the Guinness/Corona standardized test to answer any remaining questions about Lundbeck's psychological profile.

"Next time we get together, I may have to bring out the Mad Dog 20/20 or peach schnapps," Ron said. "Sometimes, the way a man carries himself outside of the beer circle tells you the most about the kind of beer drinker he is."

Ron said he hopes to conclude the beer test by the end of this month. He then plans to move into Phase Two of his neighbor-evaluation project, closely observing Lundbeck's reaction to such stimuli as bratwurst, pictures of lingerie models, and conversations about 1960s American muscle cars.

Phase Two is tentatively scheduled for June 3 at the Jersey Bowl-a-Rama.

Posted by Ron at May 29, 2003 11:23 PM

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