• Mash Tun “WTF Is This” trophy

Maybe trying 49 beers in less than three hours sounds like great fun to you. Me, I got a little panicky at the prospect. As a judge at the third Mash Tun Fest, held at the Bridgeport Art Center on Saturday, I was tasked with employing my allegedly sophisticated palate to form considered opinions of two score and nine lovingly crafted adult beverages (out of 77 total pouring that afternoon), but I half expected to get so drunk I’d end up sitting on the curb, pale and sweating, head in my hands and dead to the world, my temple pressed to a blessedly cold but otherwise entirely forgotten bottle of water while I waited what felt like an eternity for the universe to stop spinning. Lord knows I’ve been there before. (Dark Lord Day ’10, represent.)

Thankfully, that didn’t happen. By the time I’d discharged my duties, I was decidedly unsober, but I made it to the Wrekmeister Harmonies show at the Bohemian National Cemetery three hours later no worse for wear—unless you count a dry mouth, a nagging headache, and an urgent need to pee every 45 minutes. Maybe by writing a beer column for nine months I’d essentially trained my liver for a marathon.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.