|W.L. Weller Special Reserve,|
$19.99/750ml at Siciliano's Market
I was about to make the turn onto Bass Lake Road when I saw Joe Parker stacking a load of firewood into the woodshed next to his pole barn. I glanced at my watch then pulled into Joe’s gravel driveway and parked next to a flatbed trailer that was hitched behind an old Farmall tractor. “Morning,” I yelled through the truck’s open window. “Looks like you’ve got some work ahead of you.”
Joe took off his dirty John Deere cap and while walking over to my pickup he wiped his brow with a red bandana. “A couple of hours’ worth maybe. Where you off to so early?”
“Dublin,” I said. “How was the winter? Go south again?”
Joe took a pipe out of his back pocket, a box of wooden matches out of his shirt pocket and after lighting the pipe he blew the match out and pinched the burnt end between his fingers. “I did,” he said. “It’s not the same without Marie. I’ll be spending my winters up here from now on.”
“Might make for some long winters,” I said.
“I’ll get by,” Joe said. “I’ll keep myself busy in the pole barn.”
“I think there’s more tools in that pole barn than there is at the hardware store in Dublin.”
“Like I told you. Any time you want to use any of them.”
“Thanks, Joe,” I said. I grabbed my own pipe and relit it with a Bic lighter. “I was sure sorry to hear about Cal.”
Joe put his hat back on and looked at the “For Sale” sign stuck in the grass between the dirt road and his neighbor’s split rail fence. “I’m going to miss that old boy,” he said. “Last time I saw him we sat on my deck listening to Ol’ Blue Eyes. Killed a fifth of bourbon that night. We talked about refinishing the hull on his ’63 Thompson this spring.” He looked down and kicked at the gravel with his steel toed boot. “I’m sure going to miss that old boy,” he said again.
A few minutes later when I walked into the cottage my wife looked up from her crossword.
“I thought you were going to the hardware store.”
“I stopped to talk to Joe Parker,” I told her. “He’s coming over this afternoon to help me fix the mower.”
My wife smiled and took a sip of coffee. “What happened to wanting to try fixing things on your own?”
“Oh there’s still plenty of things around here that need fixing.”
That night after Joe and I finished with the mower we sat on my deck and talked about fly fishing on the east branch of the Au Sable while listening to his Frank Sinatra collection and drinking a couple of tumblers of W.L. Weller Special Reserve.
New and Returning Beer
- Arcadia Ales Cheap Date Session Ale, $1.79/12oz - "There are times when the sun is at it’s highest, the days at their longest, and the bright embrace of summer squeezes every last drop of our reserves, like so much water from a stone. There are times when every hop head needs a break from the tongue distressingly bitter creations roaming the world. There are yet more times when a brightly bold, yet exuberantly playful pint is of the highest appeal. Cheap Date is for all those times and more, with a soft malty, biscuity body, supporting a wildly fruity hop flavor and aroma. Roundly capped-off with gentle lemon aromatics, this is a beer to provide sweet succor for the wounded, fulfillment for the unfulfilled, and delight for the delightful" (source).
- Vander Mill Apple Raspberry Cider, $2.99/16oz - "Hard apple cider blended with Michigan Raspberries" (source).
- Short's Alien Einstein, $1.99/12oz - "Alien Einstein is a light bodied India Style Pale Lager with a dull golden color and an inviting aroma of tangy grapefruit juice. A bright burst of fruity and earthy hop flavors immediately hits the palate. This beer exemplifies the well-rounded versatility of the American Mosaic hops used exclusively in this beer" (source).
- Dogfish Head American Beauty, $14.39/750ml (1 per) - See video below.
- Atwater Vanilla Java Porter, $1.99/16oz - "A robust Porter made with chocolate malt. This malt Beverage is brewed with coffee beans with Natural Flavor added (Vanilla Extract), and we balance it with U.S. Golding Hops. Our award winning brew is sure to please! Open it" (source).
- Stone Stochasticity Project Hifi+LoFi, $8.99/22oz (1 per) - "A beer that pays homage to a centuries-old tradition of combining new beer with aged “stock ales.” Freshly brewed beers of the day often were very smoky and bitter tasting, and were blended with older beer that had mellowed with age to produce more drinkable libations. This modern brew will showcase our brewers’ talents by blending a stock ale aged more than three months in oak foudres (large wooden fermentation vessels) with a fresh version of the same beer to create a perfect harmony spanning end to end on the taste spectrum" (source).
- Victory Sour Monkey, $10.19/750ml (1 per) - "This electrifying transformation of our famed Golden Monkey may just blow your mind. Tastefully twisted to offer nuances of sweet fruit and a sharp tang of tartness, this exhilarating combination of flavors makes this brew a Monkey all its own" (source).
Video of the Week | American Beauty