A shadow swept across the road just as he was turning off the roundabout and when he looked up he spotted a red-tailed hawk banking north above the apple orchard. While he followed the curve of highway around Half Moon Lake he imagined he was the hawk. He flew over fallow muck fields and roadside shacks with huge front yard satellite dishes. He gazed down at the farm with the weathered red barn and the ivy covered, yellow brick silo and the clapboard house with the rusted steel roof and fieldstone porch. He saw a village in the distance and when he was on the outskirts of Grant he circled down and landed at a gas station on the edge of a brown corn field. While he filled his tank he watched an old man slowly get out of a faded blue pickup and he wondered what the man did that day to get his overalls so dirty.
Driving through the tight cluster of buildings along the south bank of the Muskegon River in Newaygo, he remembered the day he sat with his father drinking dollar draughts at the Sportsman Bar. His father was dying but he was very happy because they were drinking dollar draughts and were heading up north. On the way out of town he remembered how bare the river banks looked after they took out the dam and how bad the traffic jams at the narrow steel bridge were before they straightened the road.
In White Cloud he smiled at the faded outdoor banner on the side of Charlie’s Pub announcing the arrival of Oberon. He knew the banner would be there until it was replaced by a bright orange one welcoming the deer hunters. He smiled again in Baldwin when he thought about the chain-smoking waitress in the Log Cabin Bar who told him he couldn’t smoke his pipe. When he was passing the boarded up Crossroads Tavern he remembered the time, many years afterward, when the tattooed bartender hid an ash tray because he thought he was a cop.
He turned west on 6 Mile and the autumn colors of the tall roadside weeds in the muted afternoon sunlight reminded him of Monet’s haystacks. He was thinking of the haystacks and wondering about this remarkable ability to see in color when it suddenly occurred to him that if humans could only see in shades of greys, blacks and whites, they wouldn’t even realize that there was this incredible beauty in the universe that they were incapable of seeing. This made him begin to wonder whether there was something else that he was not seeing.
He reflected on this while standing at the end of his dock that evening listening to the cries of the loons and while watching a V-shaped gaggle of honking geese flying south over the deserted lake. Later when he stepped outside into the enveloping blackness of the night he was momentarily blinded by the light of a billion blazing stars.
New and Returning Beers
- Deschutes Black Butte Porter, $1.79/12oz - "With a dark beer as our first and flagship brand, Black Butte defined Deschutes as a radical player. A slight hop bitterness up front enhances the distinctive chocolate and roasted finish. It’s prized for its creamy mouthfeel and intense complex flavors" (source).
- Deschutes Jubelale Winter Warmer, $1.79/12oz - "A dark, malty celebration ale with layered flavors and beautifully balanced hopping. Jubelale pours deep garnet in color, medium bodied, with notes of chicory, earth, spice and fruit. To beer lovers, it’s like Yule fire and family" (source).
- Deschutes Inversion IPA, $1.79/12oz - "Enter, if you will, all the glorious aromatic complexity of the hop. This big, bold IPA's intense multi-hop kick gets a subtle dose of restraint from select Crystal and Carastan malts. For discriminating hop heads" (source).
- Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale, $1.79/12oz - "Our most popular beer, Mirror Pond Pale Ale is the quintessential northwest pale ale. Cascade hops and more Cascade hops give this tawny colored ale delicious hop-forward aroma and flavor. Pale malt allows the hops to linger, not overpower" (source).
- Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, $1.69/12oz - "Old Brown Dog has been cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Compared to a typical English Brown Ale, Old Brown Dog is fuller-bodied and more strongly hopped" (source).
- Smuttynose Robust Porter, $1.69/12oz - "A hearty ebony colored ale that starts with a rich malty palate finished with clean hops and notes of coffee and chocolate" (source).
- Bell's Cherry Stout, $2.79/12oz - "This unique ale begins its life as a powerful and richly sweet stout to which Michigan tart cherries are added. The resulting black brew is complex, sweet and tart with a distinct cherry finish. It will improve with cellaring" (source).
- Bell's Special Double Cream, $2.09/12oz - "Sweeter and smoother than Kalamazoo Stout. A beer for special winter occasions. Great with chocolate desserts" (source).
- Bell's Java Stout, $2.79/12oz - "The satisfying elements of both stout and coffee come together in this full-bodied treat. A marriage of Sumatra's best with rich chocolate and roasted malt provides for a truly enlightening beer" (source).
- Founders Harvest Ale, $3.39/12oz - "This liquid dream pours a hazy golden orange straw color with a large puffy white two-finger head. First sip of this beer rewards with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh orange and lemon citrus then continues to introduce toasted malt undertones" (source).
- Ommegang Valar Morghulis, $9.29/750ml - "Valar Morghulis possesses a deep chestnut brown color with a persistent and creamy tan head. Rich aromas of caramel, toffee, ripe fruits and burnt sugar, with a hint of cloves. The taste is delicately balanced with rich malty sweetness, caramel and just enough bitterness to balance out its malty backbone. A surprisingly dry finish is light on the tongue, which belies the initial aroma" (source).
- Ommegang Scyth and Sickle, $2.79/12oz - "Scythe & Sickle Harvest Ale is brewed with barley, wheat, oats and rye. Scythe and sickle is a seasonal brew that celebrates the richness of the grain harvest. Brewed with barley, wheat, oats and – in a nod to traditional upstate New York grains – rye, this fine ale is malty and creamy on the palate. The flavors of the grains and earth shine through. Enjoy the refreshment of the season and joys of fine brewing" (source).
- Oscar Blues Ten Fiddy, $4.19/12oz - "This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hide a hefty 98 IBUs underneath the smooth blanket of malt. Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and boundary-stretching beer" (source).
Picture of the Week | Wood Aged Beer Fest
|Thanks to Brewery Vivant for throwing a great event last weekend!|