Things That Are More Fun Than Beer

Something odd happened to me on Saturday evening.  I cracked open a beer, took a sip, and realized that I had something better to do than drink it.  This isn’t typical, as enjoying a beer on Saturday night is one of my favorite leisure activities.  But that evening was different.

As Don has pointed out, I recently purchased a new car to replace my 8 year / 160,000 mile old Subaru WRX wagon.  I picked up a brand-spankin’-new Mini Cooper convertible on Saturday afternoon and it’s pretty awesome.  It handles great, seems well made and is a blast to drive.  I’ll admit the new car is a bit metrosexual, but then again so am I.

Even though I was thrilled to have it in my driveway, Saturday night I was having second thoughts.  It was tough saying goodbye to the Suby and the Mini comes with many compromises – it’s small, noisy and expensive for what you get.  Also, the radio controls and the onboard technology are confusing and it’s a German car screwed together by the Brits in Oxford, so you just know it’s not going to be as reliable as my dear old WRX.  All of this was swirling around my head when I opened my first beer that night, and I realized that a tasty beverage wasn’t what I needed – I needed to drive.

So I put down the beer, picked up the keys, dropped the top, pressed the “sport” button and went out seeking curves.  There’s something unique and awesome about driving a convertible on the backroads on a hot summer night, and the Mini showed me why I’m a genius for buying it.  It was the most fun I’ve had in a car in well over 10 years and I actually found myself laughing out loud when the scrappy little devil chirped the tires shifting into third.  All my worries faded away and I realized that the car isn’t perfect, but it fits my priorities to a “t”.

When I got back home all was well with the world and I finished the beer that I had opened earlier.  I wound up going to bed a little early – must’ve been all that fresh air.

It’s been a while since I’ve had something better to do than drink a beer.  How about you?  What’s more fun than hanging out drinking a cold one in your little world?




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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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56 Comments on “Things That Are More Fun Than Beer”

  1. July 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    I wish my little BMW was either convertible or had a sunroof. I love driving on curvy roads with the windows down. Especially if I know I have a good brew waiting at the end. But to be honest, my little car makes going to work so much better than it ever was before.

    • July 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      I’ve sure been enjoying my commute this week, that’s for sure!

  2. johnking82
    July 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I guess when most guys go out looking for “curves” we are talking about something totally different. Case in point, yes the car fits you very well Jim.

    I enjoy running trails, fishing, and woodworking more than drinking a beer…but usually a beer follows.

    • July 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Yeah, woodworking then beer is good. Woodworking and beer could quickly lower how high you can count on your fingers. 😦

    • July 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

      All of those are better with beer.

  3. July 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Jim, I’ve been torn between going for a late night cruise in my car or enjoying a well crafted beer pretty much every single night since I’ve started drinking craft beer. And the two are so, so mutually exclusive.

    While Don’s kind of right, the Mini is a silly car, especially for a taller person, it really is undeniable fantastic. If you’re over six feet tall, you end up sitting in just about the center point of the car, so if you can get the rear to slide out a bit, the car rotates with you as the axis, and that’s a pretty fun feeling. I’ve actually considered picking up a Cooper S once I’ve sufficiently destroyed my Audi S4…

    I’ve taken to switching back and forth. One night is craft beer, the next is driving. It seems to keep my need for thrills and new artisan beverages experiences both satisfied 🙂

    Have fun in the Mini, be careful, and I’ll probably join you eventually in my future Cooper S!

    • July 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      I like your einie-meinie aproach, Rich!

      I wouldn’t call the Mini silly, but it isn’t sensible either. I’d call it loads of fun and *just* practical enough. It’s actually surprising big inside, even for 6 1/2 footer like me. Gotta love those tall German engineers – they won’t build a car they can’t fit in.

      Too bad those Japanese fellas are so short – a Miata is out of the question.

      Enjoy your S4 and appreciate the lack of torque steer. AWD will spoil you!

      • July 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

        It’s styling is undeniably “cute” and the word “silly” comes to mind, but every time I see one I want it more. Being comfortable and accepting that “yeah, this isn’t an aggressive or manly looking car, but it’s fun as hell to drive” is what matters.

        Also, I’m totally with you on the interior space thing! It really is incredible. The fit and finish is also extremely well done, in my opinion. The Germans really know what they’re doing, but generally ignore silly things like making maintenance easy, or even possible. That said, the Mini isn’t too bad to work on – you can access just about everything without having to take the engine out, but the electronics start to do funny things over time. Anytime the Germans and the British work together it’s always a little…scary. You can kind of sense that they’re trying to undermine each other, haha.

        Lucky for me, I’m shorter than the average China-man, and have thought about doing a Turbo-Miata >:)

        The S4 is dangerous. It’s 700 Horsepowers makes the AWD pretty much irrelevant…

        • July 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

          Yes, when Germany and Britain get after each other, we all lose. 🙂

          I agree that the electronics are the scariest maintenance concern with the car, especially because they seem to run so much stuff. The throttle is electronic and even the turn signals are non-mechanical and can be programmed to your liking.

          More “gee-whiz” features just means more to break, and on a German car that can get pricey pretty quickly.

    • July 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

      S4s are the ish though! i would never give up an S4 for a Mini.

      • July 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

        I agree, unless the former has been wrapped around a tree or starts acting like an old Audi.

    • July 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

      This thing about tall guys and small cars seems to be a syndrome. I reminds of my high school years when the absolutely tallest guy in school was dating the shortest girl. Its gotta be something innate.

      • July 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

        Being a tall guy with a very short girlfriend makes those school dances really …umm…interesting, especially the slow songs!

        As far as cars go, I’ve always try to get the smallest car I need. I hate the idea of lugging around extra weight and sapping performance just so I can have room for stuff I don’t want to bring along in the first place. I’ll I need is a car that’s comfy and fun for me and can fit the family in a pinch. Otherwise, it’s the wife’s Honda Odyssey!

  4. Erin
    July 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Oh god, does Daniel know you’ve turned traitor to WRX Nation? Expect insults. Pretty cool 40th birthday gift to yourself, though!

    • July 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      I always expect insults when it comes to Daniel. Besides, mine wasn’t a bugeye like his, so I was never really part of the “in” crowd.

      • July 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

        That convertible is kind of like a retractable roof over the Skydome. Or the one of similar proportions over your canyonesque gaping vagina.

        • July 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

          Thanks, Daniel. I’d expect no less. 🙂

        • Don
          July 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

          I thank you too Daniel for pointing out the (pink) elephant in the corner.

  5. MikeLovesBeer
    July 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Did Jeremy Clarkson just write this article?

    • July 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

      No, if he did the Mexicans, Albanians and African Americans would all be pissed off!

      • July 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

        But he does like the Mini!

      • July 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

        And there’s not nearly enough mention of Keira Knightley’s bottom.

        • July 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

          Or smearing her with butter…

  6. July 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Jim – I had to smile at your post as your description of driving the back roads with the top down was too much fun. My lovely bride bought me an ’88 Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition about 5 years ago; the top comes off and away I go on my local country roads. It’s a blast and I love driving at night, roof top off, radio up…..smiles all around.

    • July 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

      It’s one of the best ways to unwind for sure. And you wife sounds like a keeper!

  7. July 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    My Dad has a Mini Cooper S John Cooper Werks edition, its an extremely fun car to drive. i to get confused about there entire dash displays, it reminds me of an airplane cockpit but more confusing. One thing you should def do to the car even if you don’t plan on putting more $ into it is get a short shifter. They help so much and its a world of difference when your switching gears every 3-5 seconds around turns.

    • July 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

      I had a short shifter in my WRX and loved it. The Mini throw is longer for sure, so maybe I’ll look into it. They tranny is awesome on that car – snick-snick-snick!

  8. Angela Arp
    July 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    I cannot imagine giving up my Subie for a Mini, or any BMW for that matter, but hell if you’re having fun…..YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (so make it count!)

    • July 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      Yeah, it was sort of like trading in the family dog – I’m gonna miss it. But the new puppy is loads of fun and pretty practical for my needs (I drive 95% of the time on my own and have a long commute).

      The good news is the snow tires I ran on the WRX last year will fit the Mini, so they white stuff shouldn’t be much of a problem.

  9. July 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    I’ve got a 2000 turbo Beetle that’s incredible in the mountains; I’m usually passing all of the prestige cars that don’t have any umph. My favorite stretch is Glenwood Canyon with it’s twists, turns, and occasional rock on the highway to keep you on your toes, downshifting to get past the more timid drivers on that stretch is a highlight of any drive out there. You did get a manual transmission Jim, right?

    Other than driving, there are a number of things that would take priority over beer like skiing, golf, fishing, and woodworking, but the hop mistress always calls, so it’s usually in conjunction (and in moderation) with these activities.

    • July 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

      Yes, got a six speed manual – no other way to do it in my book. Turbo cars are fun at high altitudes, as they make normally aspirated cars look like a bunch of mouthbreathers. Turbonium!!

      • johnking82
        July 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

        1.21 jiggawatts!

        • July 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

          Great Scott!!

      • July 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

        Ya, it’s great, a little lag when you step on it, but once it kicks in you feel like a test pilot with all of that thrust!

  10. Wayne
    July 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm #


    What’s your commuting mpg on that bug? I heard that they get in the low to mid 30’s. (My wife’s been getting 42mpg on her Camry Hybrid and feeling pretty smug about it–especially considering how little I get on my old Ford truck (abt 18mpg).)

    • Don
      July 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

      Jim told me last night that this week so far he is averaging about 39 MPG. Pretty good, but he was already getting about 30 with his sub.

      • July 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

        I was looking at average speed when I told you that. It’s more like 32, but it’s only been a few days so it’s a little early. The subie got 25, so i’m already up 7mpg, which is real $$$.

        • July 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

          My WRX only gets 21 mpg but I’ve been cruising on a faggy Vespa recently. Can fit a growler on ice under the seat. And another in the trunk. And a box of hammers on the luggage rack.

        • July 28, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

          And you talk about MY cavernous vagina?!

          I wonder what kind of MPG you’re getting on the Vespa. I bet it’s a bit better than 21.

  11. July 29, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Well this is gettin’ interesting. Just imagine how much more beer (or whiskey) you can buy with the gas money you save. Anybody out there with one of those new all-electric bikes or cars? If so, what kind of savings are you getting?

  12. ScottG
    July 29, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    I’ve got a few. But they also make a good beer taste that much better.

    1) A good run (as previously mentioned). Distance is less important than how I feel after. I’ve had some short ones that I wanted to quit and some longer that were just great. And vice versa.

    2) A good round of golf. Getting a hold of it off the tee makes me giddy. And drinking a beer in the clubhouse after is sublime.

    3) Parachuting. I’ve done mostly static line, but did a non-tandem sky dive and holy crap, what a rush.

    And my Mom drives a Mini.

    • July 29, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      Good suggestions all, and I’m sure she’s wonderful, but I don’t like being compared to your mom!! 🙂

    • July 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      Like a rush do you? Try rappelling Australian style (i.e., face forward). The first time is a real doozy!

      • ScottG
        July 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

        Did it. Once. All was good until I tripped myself up about three feet from the bottom of the tower. Didn’t give myself enough slack as my speed picked up and woohoo! Nothing like hanging upside and trying to figure out what to do before all the blood rushes to your head and you you drop yourself on your head.

        Don’t get me wrong, that sucker can get up and go and is a blast to drive. I’m just letting you know the demographic that also drives a Mini. And she is a wonderful person.

  13. Jeff W
    July 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Better than beer? I prefer better WITH beer, even if the beer as to wait till the event is over.

    On the subject of Minis:
    Cavernous V, Metro, mom comments, whatever. I’ve heard ‘em all since I got my first Mini in 2005. (Currently on my second, with plans for a 3rd) The criticism typically comes from guys with low self esteem or Subaru drivers. (redundant) And yes, all you Subaru fans, I know that this Subaru or that Subaru does X, Y, Z better than blah blah blah… Your Subaru is still an ugly bastard child that will never be allowed in the front door. It’s ill-bread, unkempt, and unsophisticated. The Triumph TR7, arguably the worst British Sports car ever manufactured, has more style in its chronically leaking fuel pump then the finest Subaru ever made…
    ”Finest Subaru ever made” How amusing.

    • July 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      As a former Subaru owner I am offended!

      As a current Mini owner I agree!

    • July 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

      Oh go fuck you own asshole.

      • July 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

        I’m not sure, but I think technically that wouldn’t make you gay. Just sayin’…

        • ScottG
          July 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

          Whatever it makes you, it would hurt like hell.

        • July 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

          yeah, your.

          Jim, that doesn’t make YOU gay, but i promised i wouldn’t tell people about that thing we did together in Jersey. i’ve still got the photos.

        • July 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

          I took some too, but I got lubricated jelly all over my lens 😦

  14. July 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    And right on queue the Subaru community arrives to make my point for me. God bless the little buggers.

    • July 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      Now, now Jeff. Most the Suby owners I’ve met have been awesome DIY types. Not sure what’s going on up there in Idaho, but the brand must attract the loonies up there.

      • Jeff W
        July 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

        I don’t believe the locals have chimed in, but you’re right. I was rude of me to poke fun at those that can’t defend themselves. I apologize.

        • July 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

          Oh, I think Daniel is doing just fine defending himself with his typical vulgar flair!

    • July 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      Your point that you’re a little pussy-ass bitch?

      Or the thing where you use a British car to defend your claims against all Subarus because you can’t stand your German car being picked on?

      Or the bad grammar in Idaho thing?

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