Last week was my 52nd column – more than 60 pages and 36,000 words, some better than others. Though DGO celebrated it’s one year anniversary just a bit ago, I’ve missed a few columns. I’ve relished every week, even if I was late to my deadline, even if it was hard to get the piece written, because in the end, I’m writing about something I love, for people who are generous and complimentary. Even when disagreements happen, the conversations are engaging and lively. These are some of my favorite lines, from some of my favorite stories so far.
Against the #drainpour:I want to punch everyone of these pretzel-necklace-wearing, beard-growing, man-baby beer nerds in the face, then push them into a locker or give them a swirly in shitty, domestic light beer until they say uncle.
On beer flaws:I was not prepared emotionally or spiritually to drink a beer of such flavor or potency and hated the beer. I even made jokes about how it smelled like the bathroom of one of those Halloween stores that stays open all year. On another day, and had I known what I was actually drinking, I would have loved Rumpkin. In the end, I still drank the Rumpkin after I got a straight answer from the server about what I was drinking.
On beer surprises:In fact, I hate anything and everything from Indiana except 3 Floyds Brewing, Peyton Manning and Michael Jackson (this applies to the hole of the Midwest, and no that’s not a typo, the Midwest is a hole). So my expectations for the state and the region are super low, but a wonderful series of events led me to drink some awesome beers from rural Indiana.
On the blackout:You can have a good morning banter with your roommates in the morning over brunch discussing exactly what happened. But, no matter what you do, it will still just be pieces, you’ll never get the whole. You’ll only be able to observe the effects, the detritus, the ruin, the wake of what actually happened.
On the proposed Colorado grocery store beer Law:These are some of the unwritten rules by which Coloradans abide: The right lane is for slow pokes and scaredy cats, a max limit of two puffs before a pass, there are no friends on powder days, bring your own PFD, and don’t buy beer at the grocery store.
On how to taste beer:If a beer tastes like Strawberry Shortcake took a dump in a creamsicle factory and wiped with a banana peel, say that. You don’t need any fancy words, you need words that express your feelings about the beer and words that will connect you to the person you’re describing the beer to.
On the origin of beer:Mesopotamian Bro #1: I’m so hungry I could eat a whole turtle. (yes, the Mesopotamians ate turtles)
Mesopotamian Bro #2: Dude, all I’ve got is this jar of nasty old bread. It smells funky and it got real wet. Actually, (shakes jar of decaying sludge) it’s just slimy ooze. I dare you to drink it.
Mesopotamian Bro #1: What do I get if I do?
Mesopotamian Bro #2: You get to keep the jar, but only if you drink the whole thing.
Mesopotamian Bro #1: Deal!
20 minutes later …
Mesopotamian Bro #1: Dude, I’m so messed up, I think the gods are talking to me!
On Durango’s signature shots:I have a love/hate relationship with Joel’s. The reason I love it is because I rarely pay for anything when I go, and the reason I hate it is because I rarely pay for anything when I go ([my friends are] all very generous with rounds of shots, not because the bartenders are giving away the house). This leads me to make terrible decisions or become very forgetful about the rest of the night.
On opening a brewery:Some mistakes you will only make once, like going on salary or drinking too much the night before an early shift, but other mistakes or failures or issues are best avoided and prevented. That only comes from experience or having that experience around when the inevitable shit does hit the fan.
Robert Alan Wendeborn is a former cellar operator at Ska Brewing and current lead cellar operator at Tin Roof Brewing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.