Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
- Mark Twain
Let's go back in time. J, age ten. I rent a game from Blockbuster (which, by the way, I miss terribly. Digital and modern gaming is awesome, but there was nothing like headed to Blockbuster after school and picking out a game to play over the weekend.) It randomly happens to be this:
That's Sid Meiers' Pirates! Gold for the Sega Genesis. It's the greatest game I've ever played. You can capture ships. You can seize ports and towns. You can trade. You can woo governors' daughters. You can clash swords with enemy captains. It is amazing. I start reading every book I can about pirates. Every essay I write in school is about buccaneers and scallywags. I play every waking hour, terrorizing the seven seas. And to this day I've never beaten the game. I think you had to find your lost father? I have no idea. I was too busy buckling swashes and hunting for buried treasure. And thus a life-long love of pirates, both the educational and bleak reality and the romanticized movie and video game version.
Pirates are kind of my thing.
Even the real versions were amazing.
Benjamin Hornigold, mentor and captain to Edward Teach aka Blackbeard, once captured a ship, rounded up the captive crew, stole all their hats and sailed away without harming a single person because they had all gotten drunk the night before and threw their own hats overboard.
Jean Lafitte ran a pirate and smuggling operation out of New Orleans. The governor, tired of his shenanigans, put up a bounty of 500 dollars (aka all the money in existence back then) for his capture. Lafitte, in return, put up a bounty of 1000 dollars for the capture of the governor.
Stephen Decatur led a raid, disguised as Maltese sailors to recover a stolen ship. Once he seized the stolen vessel deep in an enemy harbor, he just lit the damned thing on fire as a huge middle finger so that nobody could use it.
Ching Shih was a female pirate in China and pretty much ruled the ocean commanding over 300 ships and 40,000 sailors. Any disobedience was met with a swift beheading. So what did Ching Shih do? Anything she wanted because she commanded 40,000 sailors. Nobody could stop her, so China offered her amnesty, which she took. She kept her earnings (pretty much all the money in the world) and opened a gambling house. LIKE A BOSS.
I can go on, and will happily go on over a pint when prompted.
So anyway, we were in Nassau, which was I was already excited about as Nassau was once a pirate haven. I was walking the streets that Hornigold, Stede, Rackham and Teach walked. Most of the bars and restaurants were tacky tourist stops, which was expected since Nassau depended on tourism. We hit a few museums and touristy photo locations and headed back to mainstreet where we passed a pub with a pirate flag hanging over the front door. Which wasn't out of the ordinary; there were tacky pirate souvenirs everywhere (which I loved.) I imagined they served margaritas or something, which was okay because I like margaritas.
We walked in, because again, pirates, and there it was. A microbrewery. A pirate microbrewery. With a full brewhouse and everything.
Even their beers were named after pirates;
And they were delicious. We had four. And after four beers, I get in a spendy mood. I spied with my little eye a sweet Pirate Republic metal growler.
I had to have it. Sixty two dollars. A fine purchase, I said. "I wish you'd told me you wanted that before your beers," said the bartender. Following my confusion, she pointed to a sign that said GROWLER COMES WITH FIVE BEERS.
Yes, let's do this I said. She brought out five more beers. "Would you like them to go?" she asked. Again, reading my confusion, she followed with "There are no open container laws in Nassau." I don't think she realized what I could do with five beers. In the heat. At sea level. That's like the equivalent of one and a half Colorado beers at altitude. But still.
I was home.
All in all, Pirate Republic gets five Skull and Crossbones out of five. See you next Salty Dog, Pirate Republic.