BEER REVIEW — Removing the cork all at once, in a romantic gesture of pretending I know the right way to open a beer, I smile. The imperial stout is currently 46 degrees, as I left the beer out in the car on a warm November evening. As the bubbles extended slowly through the neck, they formed an astonishing and perfect hexagonal grid pattern. It was around 5 minutes before, placed to the side of a 13 watt light bulb, the mountain of pillowy bubbles rolled the head of its segmented worm body over the lip of the bottle. When the beer snail’s ooze trail dripped down its glass shell and permanently stained the unfinished plywood desk, it was obviously time to pour.
I poured a small amount recklessly. A satisfying black, reddish liquid reminiscent of motor oil filled only half of the cup, topped by an equally thick band of a loose foam, the same bubbles that were once arranged in a perfectly crystalline pattern. I looked closely in the bubbles for the hexagonal pattern again, and successfully envision the shape of the pattern after being jostled by the vigorous pour. There were bands of bubbles of different sizes swirled around like fudge melted into ice cream, and upon imbibing the effect was extraordinary. It was as if I was drinking a nitrogen infused beer mixed with a carbon dioxide infused beer.
Thinking of the flavor, I flashed on fruitcakes: wet, dense dark cakes packed full of overwhelmingly flavorful dried fruits. People seem to be very divided about fruitcakes, but I am on the side that regards them as a rare and wonderful delicacy for year-round consumption, not just on holidays.
I’ve had half the bottle, or nearly half the bottle. I read the advertising yarns on the front and back and at the same time I find that it’s 10% alcohol by volume, I realize the drunkenness is taking effect. I’m about to play an ancient multi-user dungeon text-based online video game and become engaged in dangerous deals where I can suffer a kind of microdeath, wasting weeks of effort. I will need my wits about me. The logo couldn’t be more perfect, evoking an image that any of the millions of regular Virginian folks riding west into the great beyond will recognize: Afton Mountain, the gateway to savagery. Roanoke, now there’s the “big apple” of the region, a nexus of healthcare facilities that turned green and grew in a big way once Obama waved his magic money wand. It used to be a kind of railroad slaveyard, but now things are looking up again. The rural Virginians funneling into Roanoke for their poverty-induced sicknesses have been left out of the free money Federal health dole by state level constipation of liberty. Their best option is to defy the Federal Law by not purchasing healthcare, because they will not have to pay the fine due to Virginia’s defiant malice towards the poor. I remember when I learned that I would not be fined, only after paying for the Obamacare. This beer has indeed taken me down a Dark Holler. The Dark Holler of Virginia’s back yard. And it ain’t any different than West Virginia, we just make fun of ’em because they don’t have the throbbing mechanical heart like we have in Northern Virginia, the world’s most concentrated dystopian suburban hellscape. And we’re damn proud of it. Especially out here past that gateway perfectly encapsulated in that logo. Virginia is a house divided. All of that, in a logo. Just Incredible.