Monday, February 11, 2008

The Dry Life

writing about beer is tough. it's like trying to explain in simple adjectives how whales sing or why clouds appear as they do. it's a wonderful challenge; realizing that you care enough about something that can be so ethereal and personal, to be able to put it into words that 1 out of 100 people will read and agree with. it's even harder when you're not drinking it.

i've been sick since getting off work last tuesday. since then, i've tried to drink beer, but it's the wrong thing to do when the flu is in town. i'm sure there are people that swear beer and alcohol will cure what ails/ales you...i just don't buy it.

so i can't really write about what i've tried lately that i've loved/liked/disdained. i can hardly write a tasting-note piece around a style, as my taste-buds are like little concrete midgets lying dead on my tongue. it would be one thing to write a style history, and i may still DO that (tomorrow is another day), but i feel like talking about how a drinker of american macro lager became enamored with the beauty of beer as an artform and not a way to get wasted.

my friends taylor, ryan and john drove up to richmond back in the fall of 2003. john was looking for rochefort 10 and i was looking for an excuse to get out of raleigh for a few hours. during the drive up, john spoke about beer with the wistful lilt in his voice that i have come to realize is due to love and respect. he drawled out his syllables when he tried to describe the westvleteren he had had in st. louis. listening, i tried to concoct a perfect beer in my mind based on what i knew i liked. no dice. i simply had no idea at that point what i was capable of enjoying. all i knew is that we stopped every few miles for lottery tickets and diet coke.

on the way back, stopped at a mexican restaurant. john and taylor passed around a small bottle of the rochefort 10 they had found. we sat in the car, sipping and sighing as the day grew to an end. after lunch, i realized what i had had in the car to drink reminded me of the mole sauce i had strewn across my chicken. it fancied raisins; but i didn't realize that until i found myself craving raisin bread on the ride home.

i don't think i bought anything on that first foray into virginia. i remember, though, that by the time we got home and they dropped me off at the jackpot so i could make it to work on time, i was full-blown sick with some kind of flu. which brings us back to present-day.

here i am, how ever many years later...i've managed to explore beer like a modern-day viking. i've met two of the purest souls in beerdom at the raleigh times and together, we tend to catch ourselves grinning when talking about what's new and exciting. i've turned people on to beer; my parents, my sister in south carolina and my friend peter (god bless him...he's got the fever for this stuff now, too). and the beautiful part of this "sickness" that i have is that i hope it never goes away. i hope the fever builds and spreads into uncharted areas and makes me gasp for air out of sheer pleasure and surprise of what good beer can be. until then...i could do without the constant 102.5 and the body aches.

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