Friday, March 13, 2015

A man's not dead while his name is still spoken.

Atrial Rubicite

or

A MERE BALL OF FLAMING GAS ILLUMINATED THE WORLD.

You will like if you:
Enjoy sour farmhouse ales
Aren't put off by descriptors such as "musty" and "mildewy" or "tastes like barrel"
Are willing to throw everything you know about wild beers out the window

You will not like if you:
Don't enjoy sweet or sour beer (like woah, this beer is sweet and sour)
Prefer your beer efficient and perfected
Think this whole wave of fruit beer is just a fad and will thankfully pass

The man. The legend.

I just....

I have no words. 

My favorite author in the history of authors has passed away. Sir Terry Pratchett, creator of Discworld. I think the above image satisfies how he wanted to be remembered. And I was surprisingly gloomy about it. So many famous folk have passed away, actors and musicians and artists that I admired and looked up to, and though I felt sadness, I was never really hurt by their deaths. I didn't personally know them, but I respected their work and what their loss meant for their medium

Losing Pratchett felt like losing a friend. I don't remember when I discovered Discworld. I just know that I was hooked instantly. His words leaped from the pages and filled me with happiness. I can't think of any other way to describe it. His take on Death was magnificent:

“You can't give her that!' she screamed. 'It's not safe!'
IT'S A SWORD, said the Hogfather. THEY'RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE.
'She's a child!' shouted Crumley.
IT'S EDUCATIONAL.
'What if she cuts herself?'
THAT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON.” 

His reasoning through Sam Vimes was spot on:

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

Much of my philosophy and personal way of thinking was sparked through Pratchett's writing. Which is weird to say about a satirical fantasy author.

I spent two days reading Pratchett quotes and being mopey. And I decided that I would choose to celebrate his life, rather than being terribly sad about it. I think that's he would have preferred his fans to react. So we move on.

I am reminded of my summer road trip to Austin, Texas to visit a friend. It started with the food. The barbecue warrants its own post, and just thinking about it makes me hungry despite having just finished dinner. 

No, the highlight of the trip, despite the hellish temperatures of Texas in July, was Jester King Brewery. A true farmhouse brewery, Jester King changed the way I thought about farmhouse and wild beer. 

Located in the middle of a field, complete with the aforementioned farmhouse and barn, Jester King absolutely opened my eyes. I was taught that beer needed to be meticulous and precise, and that every step needed to be monitored. Jester King just kind of does their own thing. They utilize their own strains of local wild yeasts and bacteria, pulled from the surrounding fields and fruit. They brew according to when certain fruits are in season. They pump their wort to an open coolship atop their barn. And they let their beers just sort of take over themselves. 

As a result, each batch is different, and each beer is a surprise. 

I brought back, among other bottles, Atrial Rubicite.

A bottle-conditioned farmhouse sour brewed with raspberries, Atrial Rubicite pours ruby red with a ruby-hued head. Ruby foam lace rings the glass and light filters ruby through the ruby beer.

Do you notice a theme here? The beer is red as red can be. It starts sweet and fruity and finishes tart. But not terribly sour. Atrial is mellowed by a creamy finish with musty and barrelly flavors at the end. 

It is absolutely amazing. I don't think they distribute outside of Texas, and the seasonal window literally depends on when they are able to get their hands on fruit, but if you can manage to snag a bottle, DO IT. I can't recommend it enough, along with their other beers.

I chose this beer to accompany this post for a reason. I discovered Pratchett rather unexpectedly, and he changed the way I read books. His words rewrote my brain to (try to) use humor to examine the injustices and wrongs of the world. Which sounds like a teenage angsty thing to say, but I feel young at heart and I discovered him in my teenage angsty years.

Jester King kind of surprised me as well. I didn't know what to expect from Texan beer, but it sure wasn't Jester King. It delighted and left me craving more. Atrial Rubicite was a celebration of beer and the unpredictable nature of life itself. 

And my memories of Pratchett remain a celebration of books and silliness and philosophy.

“It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.”

Well said you glorious bastard.

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