It all began harmlessly enough. A group of foolhardy compatriots gathering under starlight to sample a selection of fermented treasures. There were rich, redolent barleywines. Bracing, bitter IPAs. Strong, complex Imperial Stouts. There was no hint of the terror to come. No indication of the foul, remorseless beast…biding its time.
We talked of past glories and future plans and laughed loud into the night. At that moment, disarmed by the strong ales we had consumed and the convivial atmosphere, the beast chose the perfect moment to attack.
It stood alone on the countertop…a pallid, pink sentry. A gaunt, dead man with hollow, black eyes and a rumpled top-hat he clearly stole from a murdered hobo stared out from the bottle. His fist was raised in the air in a salute both desultory and mocking. Behind him, a matrix of leaves and swine. Everything about the object screamed “WARNING: DO NOT TOUCH”…but we paid those claxons no mind.
Three glasses were procured and the bottle was unsealed. A wisp of visible gas escaped from the top in the shape of a malevolent spirit. It winked at us once and then dissipated into nothingness. We did not take that as a good omen.
We poured the liquid of the damned into our snifters and then sat back for a moment, reeling. The second the beer escaped its livid, pink confines, the world changed. The pale, white moon transformed into a blood-red disc. Three comically oversized vultures circled overhead…staring at us with lifeless, crimson eyes. A skeletal old man in priestly vestments rolled by in a cart pulled by a headless donkey. He pointed at us with one desiccated, bony finger and cackled…a sound like razorwire being pulled through a urethra.
We chalked these events up to happenstance, naturally, and proceeded on our misguided errand. We held the glasses in our hands and breathed deep the tainted liquid’s aroma.
Reader, I am not ashamed to admit that I descended into madness for a moment. The fetid, execrable scent of the potable hit my olfactory bulb like the devil’s own warhammer. Spoiled, rotten scents of maggot-infested ham, thin, over-sweetened maple syrup, and the charred, still-smoking bones of the innocent wafted forth from the glass. The tortured denizens of the 9th circle of Hell would have considered the aroma to be cruel and unusual punishment.
Ah, but that odor was but a trifle compared to the taste. Ignoring all common sense and earthly reason, we sipped the oily flux. It ran roughshod across my tongue like the four horsemen of the apocalypse and tore through my innards like a rusty claymore. The taste was akin to being strapped to an ancient barber-surgeon’s table, having one’s mouth clamped open with iron vises, and allowing a gaoler to pour the liquified remains of long-dead pig fetuses, putrified breakfast table scraps, burning stinkweed, and the material manifestation of sin into one’s gullet.
The moment the hellfire entered our mouths, we were changed men. Even after escaping the initial descent into lunacy, we knew we would never recapture our innocence or sanity. Even now, days after the event, I see things…indescribable things. There are moments when I feel I am in a waking nightmare. My world fills with the lurid pink of the bottle…and the cold, dead eyes of the mocking stranger with the hobo-hat appear in my peripheral vision. They dance just out of my line of sight as I hear the corpse-priest’s endless cackle. This is my reality now.
Why, Rogue…why? Why have you foresaken all humanity and made a pact with evil incarnate? How could you produce an offering of such indescribably noxious qualities that it could make grown men want to tear out their own tongues?
The Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale should have never come to pass. My encounter with this unnatural creation has left me a scarred, empty shell of my former self. Never again will I have a moment of joy or contentment. Life has no meaning. The world grows cold…
…it was a not a good beer is what I’m saying. Please don’t buy it.