|(Photo by Andy Anderson)|
Back in the late 1990s, whenever I would spend a few days traveling in the Traverse City area, I would always make it a point to visit the rural watering holes and small town taverns on the Leelanau Peninsula. This routine was partly due to my conviction that one of the best ways of getting a true feel for a locale is by hanging out in its bars. But an ulterior motive for having a beer or two in those Leelanau County saloons was the hope that one day I would run into the poet and novelist Jim Harrison.
Jim Harrison was my favorite living author. He died last Saturday of heart failure at his winter home in Patagonia, Arizona. He was 78.
Harrison was born in Grayling, Michigan and lived on a farm in Leelanau County before moving to Montana in 2002. When he wasn’t distracted by hunting, fishing, drinking, eating or carousing with his artistic and literary cronies, he worked hard at his craft, often in a remote cabin in the woods in the Upper Peninsula. The northern Michigan landscape is woven into the fabric of much of his prodigious body of work: twenty-one volumes of fiction including the novella Legends of the Fall, fourteen books of poetry, two books of essays, a memoir, and a children’s book.
I was introduced to Harrison’s writing through a series of essays in Esquire magazine called The Raw and the Cooked. The pieces focused primarily on the author’s unabashed passion for food and drink and many are included in a volume of erudite, often witty, and sometimes deeply philosophical essays on a wide range of subjects entitled Just Before Dark. A worn copy, its dog-eared pages smudged with pipe tobacco ash, is among the books that have a permanent place on the table beside my easy chair in my den.
I never had the good fortune of meeting Jim Harrison but if I did I would surely have bought him a drink. Perhaps he would have been gracious enough to discuss literature and philosophy with me. The bartenders, waitresses and locals in those Up North saloons who knew him well had nothing but good things to say about him and it was obvious they liked him. I’m quite sure I would have liked him too.
New and Returning Beer
- Pike 51 Wild Syd Dickerson, $19.39/22oz - "American Wild Imperial Stout" (source).
- Stone Enjoy By 4:20, $2.99/12oz, $8.99/22oz - "This is our own celebration of resinous green buds: Besides brewing this intense double IPA with more than 10 different hops, we hop-burst and dry-hop the beer to amp up its peach and tropical fruit notes and overall hop factor. Brewed specifically NOT to last, this devastatingly dank, golden beauty should be enjoyed by fellow hopheads within 37 days" (source).
- Kona Koko Brown, $1.69/12oz - "Is there anything more iconic of the lush tropics than the coconut? The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko Brown, brewed with real toasted coconut, and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste. Available Winter/Spring Koko Brown pairs well with coconut and caramel flavors, such as Thai curries, BBQ meats and carne asada. Its refreshing nutty aroma makes for the perfect beer after a day on the water" (source).
- Dark Horse Sapient, $1.99/12oz - "Why is the Grim Reaper holding a mailbox? Well, that mailbox is from a dead Dark Horse beer. The Grim Reaper better know as "Death" was quite fond of our classic Sapient Summer Wheat Ale. When we changed it into a Belgian Style Triple, Death thought it would only be appropriate to bring something from that beer into this beer. So he picked the mailbox, and we weren’t about to argue with him. You can say what you want about him, but that Death sure has a big heart. So anyway...we brewed this beer with a Trappist yeast strain so it is very traditional. The flavors are incredibly complex with notes of mild fruit and finishes with a bit of clove. Although this beer is higher in alcohol it is very smooth and finishes dry on the palate" (source).
- Bruery White Oak, $15.99/750ml (1 per) - "White Oak is a hardy, blended wheatwine-style ale, grafting elements reminiscent of caramel, vanilla, coconut and warm oak with the creamy complexity of wheat. Crisp effervescence spirals around sweet bourbon barrel-aged layers, expanding into a refreshingly robust ale" (source).
- Bruery Terreux Batch #1731, $15.99/750ml (1 per) - "Batch No. 1731 is a 100% brettanomyces-fermented hoppy session ale created by homebrewer Kevin Osborne of Los Angeles. When we judged through all of our competition entries, his complex yet quaffable creation shouted WINNER! (as well as tropical!, funky! and dry!). It puts El Dorado, Mosaic and Chinook hops on a pedestal as much as one possibly could" (source).
- Bruery Terreux Humulus, $12.99/750ml - "Humulus Terreux is the type of beer that gets our stomachs tied up in knots of excitement. It’s a chance for us to experiment with both hops and yeast, creating unique, juicy & funky flavors with just these seemingly simple, earthen ingredients. Each batch of Humulus Terreux will use a different hop varietal and one of the several strains of Brettanomyces yeasts that we have incubating in our laboratory to create a one of a kind, wildly traditional bière™. The flavor possibilities are endless when combining possible hop notes of citrus, pine, flowers or grass with the barnyard funk, earth and tropics that can come from a 100% Brettanomyces fermentation. While each beer will showcase a different, distinct character, the overall result will always be dry, funky and delightfully hoppy" (source).
- Ommegang Glimmerglass, $2.89/12oz - "Glimmerglass - The name given to our lake by James Fenimore Cooper - is a beautiful body. Nested between gentle mountains, it reflects any object held up to it, just as it reflects our joy at the arrival of each spring. To help celebrate, pour new spring saison offers a perfect balance of maltiness and hops, with a touch of yeasty fruitiness and a whiff of pepper" (source).
- Dogfish Head Squall, $10.19/750ml - "It's been such a stormy winter and windy spring we thought to ourselves, "let's brew a batch of Squall!" Continually hopped and brewed with three types of malts, this Double IPA weighs in at 9.0% ABV. Also dry-hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, Palisade and a special hop, Squall is a citrus forward IPA" (source).
- Weyerbacher Blasphemy, $9.59/750ml - "Blasphemy is our award winning QUAD aged in bourbon barrels. But not overaged, so we've picked up gentle vanilla oaky notes which complement rather than supercede the complex qualities that already make QUAD such an incredible beer" (source).
- Rogue Cold Brew IPA, $7.39/22oz - "IPA with cold brew Stumptown coffee" (source).
- Greenbush Doomslayer, $3.49/12oz (1 per) - "Brewed entirely with maple sap instead of water and naturally carbonated with maple syrup, this delightful maple brown ale will help you usher in a whole new season" (source).
- Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, $2.19/12oz - "Summer Solstice Seasonal Ale is not just your average summer seasonal. This unique copper colored ale is smooth, malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice for that oh-so-drinkable, extra velvety flavor" (source).
Picture of the Week | Jim Harrison
|"Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness.|
And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy ...
... or they become legend."