Posts Tagged ‘beer’


October 11, 2011

My skin feels grimy at the end of the night in St. Louis. We moved to the city just six weeks ago. My husband and I are returning from an evening at a microbrewery. We pull up in front of our house. Like everyone else, we park on the street. Our two-car garage sits empty in the back. Sally, the neighborhood matriarch, hollers at me. We’ve got pizza! She’s sitting on a porch swing near a screen broadcasting the end of a Cardinals game. It’s 10:30 Friday night and half of the block is gathered on their lawn.
They are always, cooking in there, says one neighbor, swirling a glass of red wine, tilting it toward the house. They are always drinking too. Cans of Busch-lite or glasses of red box-wine. A family member presses a cold can into my palm even when I insist I don’t want one. Some of Sally’s kids or assorted relations, we haven’t figured out which, live on this street. They replace each other’s roofs and are remodeling Sally’s kitchen. The grandkids or neighbors ride bikes up and down the sidewalks. Recently, Sally has been working ten or twelve hour shifts at a doctor’s office that has added new practices, but no extra staff.
I am not sure what her husband does, a mammoth man anchoring down the couch or bench in front of the TV. Sally’s daughter, Mary, boasts that for the first time in her life she has moved up in the world. She swallows some wine from a glass and smiles. From waitress to dental receptionist. Her first full time job. She’s thirty-three. Mary wears glasses and a pageboy clipped by her sister-in-law. The front lawn is oily with varying degrees of intoxicated relatives. I think about my own daughters two thousand miles away in Seattle. Both are in graduate school, one is studying to be an architect, the other a microbiologist. Sally says she never imagined she be in this place, with a “real” job. I never imagined being in this place.
She complains too that she has to do the work of two people; she can’t always depend on a paycheck, but reiterates how grateful she is to have had this opportunity to be a receptionist. She’s looking for another job. “Everything happens for a reason,” she says smiling again. I invite Sally and Mary to tour my house. They ooze over everything, the old-fashioned spice chest and telephone cabinet. I cannot tell if it’s feigned or real. I wonder how they see my style. For one thing, when I had my wood floor redone, I used a water-based stain instead of the high-gloss polyurethane that Sally is using in her house. Sally whispers to my husband that my house looks like a showroom. Not a good thing. However, when we return to the living room, Sally lingers over a poster I’ve had framed and mounted above my fireplace. A girl, in sheer saffron robes, draped over a couch. She also notes my other piece of art, a highly popular Klimt. She pauses, rocks on her feet.. At last she says, they look like angels.
Then, out of left field, Sally notifies me she once earned a scholarship to the University of Hawaii. Explains she didn’t go because she was a daddy’s girl. Continues that she been a concert violinist and was offered a job with the symphony. I got married … had children, she says. I couldn’t travel. You make your choices.
I gulp down the last of my beer, think about the five different states I’ve lived in, the people on Sally’s front lawn. Before they go, Sally and Mary regale us with sloshy testimonials. They know Thomas is a minister, but I know they don’t have a clue about Unitarian beliefs. Sally laughs and says if she falls asleep before she finishes her prayers, the angels finish for her. Mary declares, with a look of astonishment, that she prays each morning in the shower. She is still wearing her dental uniform, almost like medical scrubs, even though it’s Friday night. Her teeth are crooked.


Beer Missive #1

August 13, 2011

Last Friday, our Muncie friends inaugurated the first smoke-free episode, of a long-standing beer group at the Fickle Peach after a city wide ban went into action. I had written letters, spoken to the city council, ranted on a soapbox at Ball State, and to anyone who would listen, on behalf of the ban.

We decided to celebrate, and initiate our own beer group (just the two of us so far). Our realtor/home-brewer referred us to the Chestnut. Housed in an unlikely part of town, nothing else much around, in a clean brick building, the brewery is, happily, smoke free.

The brewery boasts two types of beers, the Revolution Series, which they describe as their contribution to the “renaissance of craft beer,” and the Reverence Series, “classically-crafted…European beer styles.” A chalkboard rates all draught beers by intensity of hops, alcohol content, body, and session, likelihood of subsequent rounds.

In a reversal Thomas gulped down a beer from their Revolution Series, the Winged Nut brewed from milled chestnuts. I imbibed from the Reverent Series, their Kinsale, a delightful black beer that was more on the sweet side than on the bitter. We munched on locally baked pretzel rolls, piping hot, served with Bavarian mustard and butter. Brats, cheese samplers, and Billy Goat Potato Chips, and such, are also available, even a veggie platter. A successful scout for our first beer night, we will officially inaugurate this Friday.

Hope to see you. Unless you come, it will just be us, which is pretty good when paired with some Hop Switch and Zwickel.


January 19, 2011

Jan. 17  MLK Day.   A day on.

The word for the day is rapacious, predatorily greedy. Today, I visited a Kokomo brewery with some friends. The invitation was extended Saturday night from one partner, but not so heartily from the other. However, I received a call today and so accepted. I could see what the problem was when we picked up two friends. The size of the car was small; the size of the friends was not. The drive would be an hour long. One of the hosts graciously indicated she would sit in the middle of the back seat. I rapaciously dibs the shotgun seat. The three other passengers stuffed themselves into the back seat, but didn’t really fit. I sheepishly offered to exchange places, although I remarked I am not exactly on the waning side of the moon myself. I also knew once they had wedged themselves in, they would be reluctant to pry themselves out. My host, squeezed in the middle and without her seatbelt, perched awkwardly on the ledge of the back seat and leaned toward the front. I did not feel the least bit guilty, on the contrary, I felt lucky and sensible.

With our arrival at the brewery, the three in the back uncrumpled from the car like wadded balls of failed essay exams with a large, letter F underlined on their front pages. At any rate, the mood improved with a panel of beer and some fresh, battered onion rings. On the trip home, having surpassed the lowest rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I blithely volunteered to sit in the back. The beer and full-bellied sleepiness made us all rather squishy in the backseat. Without territorial guards and flexing muscles, the ride went as quickly as a snooze.

That night, I met with my church’s social justice committee.  I was so satiated, I was willing to give up my rapacious behavior to do something for someone else.  Perhaps the moral of the story, a little lager goes a long way to lean the world in the right direction.

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