Gulp with the gators, slurp with the sloths

Aug 21, 2007 at 7:04 pm

Bernie Taupin, longtime personal lyricist for Elton John, chose the metaphor of inebriated simians to accent the jaunty Brit-trash sentiments of the duo’s 1973 hit, “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting).”
My old man’s drunker than a barrel full of monkeys
And my old lady, she don’t care …

I’ve really no clue how monkeys came to be chosen as the handy imagery of choice for extreme drunkenness, but it’s easy to imagine a tough-guy, leather-clad biker grizzly bear comically unable to stomach anything more flavorful than market swill, a leering dolphin on Jell-O shots wearing Mardi Gras beads and singing karaoke, or even a slumping marmot as the Guinness geek ogling an unattainable waitress from behind his half-empty glass.

I hope I’m not guilty of soiling the presumed nobility of these creatures by imbuing them with inappropriate human qualities — or vice versa — but I’ve seen my cat’s visceral reaction when the cap is topped on a bottle of vintage barley wine. Ordinary lagers don’t have the same effect on her at all. She must know, and I’m careful not to leave her alone with the goblet when I step out of the room.

The annual Brew at the Zoo will be held at the Louisville Zoo for the fourth time this coming Saturday, Aug. 25. It has been my observation that the sort of person who enjoys an outing at the zoo is precisely the same who prefers a distinctive craft beer.

A zoo emphasizes the bountiful diversity of life on planet Earth. Each species has a habitat, identifying characteristics and a story. The same goes for the many styles of beer available for sampling at Brew at the Zoo. Enjoy them all in moderation, and bring a designated driver. Or a camel. (See page 24 for details.)

Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany. Visit for more beer.