Constant Readers: I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little ale recommendations of my colleagues. You may remember the inquiries I made among the various presidents whilst away, and the journey I undertook for that purpose. Imagining it may be agreeable to you to know the results of my explorations, many of which you are yet unacquainted with, and expecting the enjoyment of an evening’s uninterrupted leisure in my present habitation, I sit down to write them for you. To which I have besides some other inducements. Having emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born and bred, to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation, and having gone so far through life with a considerable share of felicity regarding the availability of crafty and considered ales, the conducing means I made use of, my readership may like to know, as they may find some of them suitable to their own situations, and therefore fit to be imitated.
That felicity, when I reflected on it, has induced me sometimes to say, that were it offered to my choice, I should have no qualms accepting the recommendations of those presidential Capitales with whom I have had occasion to have congress. And so to their consideration I presented a Conundrum of sorts: Describe the ale most gratifying to your habits and preferences.
I have received a query from that loathsome drunkard and frequenter of houses of ill repute…Mr. Benjamin Franklin. Tho’ I would preferest not to respond, I fear that if I choose to avoid his inquest, that slave-banging atheist, Mr. Jefferson, will pen the response that is etched in history. And I’ll be damned if I will let Tom get the best of me!
But, my sweet Abigail, how to RESPOND to such a broad request? That filthy Franklin asketh my fellow pillars of American political life to describe the ale that most gratifies our particular habits. It is like asking which child one prefereth? How can one answer such as that?!*
*Abigail’s Note: My inane husband prefereth John Quincy. Everyone knoweth that.
Nevertheless, I am a man who does not vacillate. If Mr. Franklin requireth an answer, then answer him I shall!
I give complete credit to alcoholic beverages for allowing my corpulent, mortal vessel to live to such an advanced and sagacious age. Had I partook of the fetid, rank water that the less privileged classes imbibeth daily, I would have perished decades ago. No, for John Adams, only liqueurs and spirits will suffice. Not a day passes when I do not consumeth at least a gill of cider. Whisky and madiera wine are also nearly daily vices of mine. But if I had to relinquish all but one form of liquid refreshment for the remainder of my days, my drink of choice would be ale.
In times such as these, the varieties of ale are simply endless. Cascadian Dark Ales from the unexplored West? Good heavens, they sound like beer straight from the devil’s own brewery!! Imperialized India Pale Ales! In the United States of America?! We have no imperial ambitions! No, my preference, as a New England man born and bred, is for a dark, warming, fulfilling beer. A stout, of course!
But not just any stout. While I famously defended the British assailants in the massacre of 1770, I have no love for the Redcoats. Those tea-drinking fops can ram their muskets up their own arses for all I care! So what variation of stout would most anger those King-worshipping, Oolong-sippers? A coffee stout, naturally. I have not consumed tea since my fearless cousin, Mr. Jim Koch…I mean, Mr. Sam Adams…first fomented rebellion and had his compatriots dump tea leaves into the deep harbor waters near my home. But coffee…ah, coffee. A drink that both invigorates and angers the Brits. Perfect!
So which coffee stout will I select? None other than the Wake ‘n’ Bake from the Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Georgia. What could possibly anger King George more than a beer brewed with coffee in a state named after his “highness”? And speaking of “highness”…a beer called “Wake ‘n’ Bake”? From what I understand, the term refers to partaking of the smoke of the hemp plant immediately upon rising from bed in the morning. Or as my dear friend, General Washington refers to it…breakfast!
The dark, luxuriant, coffee and chocolate-flavored liquid from the master artisans at Terrapin is one of the finest ales on Earth. Though it will cost us a pretty penny, I plan on importing at least a firkin a week, my dear Abigail. I hope you will join me in consuming this ambrosia every evening as we toast our continued prosperity and freedom from tyranny. Does this answer pleaseth you, my love? Do you think it will pleaseth Mr. Franklin? And what about Mr. Jefferson? Will he be intimidated by such an ingenious response? Do you think this might cause him to returneth my last letter? I certainly hope so.
Your Dearest Friend,
I hiv traveled ahcraws this great land iv aws. And I hiv sampled the great beeyahs that awa fooafawthas brewed, owa that awa fooafawthas fawced othas to brew fowah them. I hiv seen the brewmastahs toiling in theyah wehrkshawps, shook theyah aromahtic hands, and looked into theyah serious, awlbeit glayized-ova eyes.
And let me tell you, deeyah citizens iv Americker, ayilheads young and awld, stahlets hawt and willing to keepah seekrit, that theyah is no ayil mowah wehthy iv this man’s approbation than the Foundah’s Haavest Ale from the great state iv Mishigin!
The wet hawps, much like Jackie’s expression after I return from an unannounced bizness trip, delivah beautiful bittahness: shawp and hawpie. The malt in the background waits fowah me like Marilyn: sweet and robust, a peufect payah.
And though you may criticize me fowah nawt being one of the founding fahthahs, I was still President of these heeyah United States, so fahk you.
Four score and seven beers ago our Alehead fathers brought forth upon this Internet a new website, conceived in drunkenness, and dedicated to the proposition that all beers are not created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great conundrum, testing whether that blog, or any blog, so ill-conceived and so uninformed, can long endure. We have met at the great beer list of that conundrum. We have come to dedicate a portion of that urinal as a final resting place for those beers who hereby will give their lives that that conundrum might be answered. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a still drunker sense, we can not consecrate, we can not micturate, we can not boot on this ground. The brave beers (half-fullers and empties) chugged here have consecrated it far above our poor ability to squeegee or mop. Aleheads will little note nor long remember what we say here (due largely to outrageous alcohol consumption), but we can never forget what we did drink here (primarily because I’ve scrawled all my tasting notes on this napkin). It is for us, the conscious and upright, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished beers which they who drank before have thus far so nobly advanced, leaving debit nor credit card to serve for deposit. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored empties we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full guzzle of their yeasty sediments, we here highly resolve that these beers shall not have been consumed in vain—that this nation shall have a new Lincoln’s Favorite Beer- that beer of the Aleheads, by the Aleheads, for the Aleheads, shall not perish from thine glass.
And that beer is the Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout. Why? Because it’s a cold, dark drink of depressant from Illinois. And because that’s what I wrote on my napkin. Now does anyone know if they’ll let me take my beer into the theater? I’ve got a play to catch.
BENJAMIN “BEERFORD” FRANKLIN
After the journey, when the company, as was customary at that time, were engag’d in drinking, I took myself aside into another room, and began setting down what results, by my sundry inquiries, I had come away with. I have been the more particular in this description of my journey, and shall be so of mine own resulting deliberative and thoughtful preferences in this, a matter of great import, and imperative to the welfare of our newly conceived union. To that end, attend closely, and hear well my fondness and even, I may be excused to say, true liking for Victory Prima Pils. Brewed closely in Philadelphia, that seat of my birth*, and even of this union of states, let not its unlikely beginnings belie its true essence, as an American beer. Ever victorious over its peers, as we, unified in opposition to tyranny must always stand, this beer must, like all others, stand evidence that god loves us, and wants us to be happy.
*Adams’s Note: Let us excuse Mr. Franklin’s senility due to his advanced age and his likely affliction from a score of venereal diseases contracted during his tenure in Paris. But he was, in fact, born in Boston, Massachusetts…just a few miles North of my own birthplace and a few miles East of that of our fellow scribe, the incomprehensible Mr. Kennedy.
To conclude, these small thoughts:
What one relishes, nourishes.
Who gives drink to the wise, he is wiser.