The first sip took me back some years ago to the badlands of South Dakota. The sun had set, the day remaining in waning deep reddish hues. The recollection of that darkly painted sky perfectly matched the color of Revolution Brewing’s holiday Fistmas Ale, a seasonal from a local Chicago brewery with a quality portfolio of craft brews. A lifetime happened since that day. From that first cool rush of beer at the back of my throat, I was back there once again.
I’d gone to the Badlands with buddies, Randy and John. One of us overcoming a divorce, another, an Irish kid out to explore the country. I, as a budding young novelist, yet to set my first words to paper, was looking for stories and inspiration. I was chasing a bit of Kerouac’s impetuousness, something of Hemingway’s devil-may-care adventurism, and a touch of Twain’s whimsical observance of America; a perfect blend, a simple balance, like an artfully crafted brew.
From an overlook the three of us, languishing in our own thoughts were silent, looking out across the arid bluffs quickly swallowed in a sea of ever-deepening shadows. A chill descended from the star-filled sky, contrasting with the heat of the desert floor. I recalled something in that chill evening air, with the first taste of Fistmas Ale. The warmth of slightly bitter hops was quickly swept aside to the soothing, almost reverent coolness of ginger and whispers of citrus.
It is easy to over-think beer, in my opinion. Inherent is a casualness, a looseness and freedom not primary to fine wines, a grand Scotch or an aged Cognac. Instead, a great beer has always reminded me of moments, and simple moments indeed. The layers and depth of Revolution Brewing’s Fistmas might be ideal for such moments. Like those moments, they are not ours alone, and must be shared to be properly enjoyed.
And so we arrive at the season of moments. We arrive amid the season of holidays defined by family and friends; new friends and friends long departed. I’m raising a glass of this fine beer in toast to those close by, but a part of me remains in that desert with Randy and John, watching the whispering end to the day…
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For more on Revolution Brewing, visit their website @ http://www.revbrew.com