Last month when we were in the process of moving, one of my many menial tasks was cleaning out the fridge. For a normal person, this means checking dates on condiments and lunchmeat and chucking expired mayonnaise. For me, it meant sorting through bottles of booze. The night before the movers arrived I packed up my treasures and put them in the “One of us takes these in our car” pile. Because who trusts movers with wine and good beer? But, in all my wisdom, I left a few bottles of beer in the fridge for moving day and future visits for cleaning and loose ends. Among these items were: the remainder of a 1.75 of Bailey’s my mother-in-law had given me for Christmas, half a bottle of bloody mary mix, a tired bottle of Bell’s Winter Ale, a couple bottles of Boulevard Zon, a Victory Golden Monkey, and a can of Paddy Pale Ale. In the freezer sat about two ounces of Sobieski, a darn good vodka for folks on a budget.
Moving day came and I was stuck at the condo with the movers. It was ninety-two degrees. On the second floor. Up and down the stairs with boxes. By four o’clock I needed a beer in a bad, bad way. So I opened the fridge and smiled at the Golden Monkey. I reached in, grabbed the bottle and hugged it to me like a mother to her newborn baby. I was trying to be discreet because it didn’t seem fair to the movers, who could only have gatorade. But I didn’t care. I put the bottle on the counter and opened the drawer where I kept the bottle opener………..
Thus began one of the worst panic attacks in the history of mankind. I was scrambling. Where… did I pack… oh my God….. No…. It can’t be…. Nooooooooooooooooo! They were gone. My old bartender’s tool, my magnetic bottle opener, all my winekeys. Everything. They were packed and already on the truck or in my husband’s car on the way to the house. I searched my purse. Nothing. How could I be so foolish?! I scolded the grinning Golden Monkey and tossed it back on the shelf in the fridge. Boulevard surely used a twistoff. No. Shit! This isn’t happening. Dammit. Even the old lonely bottle of Winter Ale wouldn’t budge. Fuck. My mind was racing. Maybe I could use the kitchen countertop like I’ve seen in frat movies. I looked at the bottle, then at the counter. Then again, we just spend $1500 on new counters and I’m pretty sure Jeff wouldn’t understand. The idea of a bloody mary sped through my mind but the thought of tomato juice on a disgustingly hot day made me a tad nauseous. Besides, all the glassware was packed. I opened the fridge one last time, hoping to spot a Goose Island or… something. Anything. Damn my beer snobbery! If I drank Miller Lite this wouldn’t happen and my thirst would be quenched.
Then, on the verge of tears, the clouds parted and one ray of sun shone down on the one and only option: Paddy’s Pale Ale. An amazing, brilliant, delicious, thirst-quenching craft brew. In a can.
Suddenly my colleague Pat’s voice echoed in my memory: “You should take this home and try it. You should know this brewery if you’re going to be living up there!” I looked at the can and there it was: Onion Pub & Brewery, Lake Barrington, Illinois.
The beer itself was a classic American Pale Ale. It was golden amber colored, smelled of fresh cut grass, lemon zest, and a hint of fresh biscuits. It was medium bodied, not overly complex, but extremely refreshing under the circumstances. For me the beer was just ok, but the experience was exhilarating and will last in my memory for many years to come.
Thanks for the sample, Pat. And thank you Onion Pub & Brewery. You saved the day.