Which Poet, Which Beer (3)


Nebraska Brewing Company’s Melange a Trois, a strong Belgian-Style Blonde ale, aged for six months in French Oak Chardonnay barrels, carries a good bit of the wine, with citrus and a hint of vanilla. A little musty, with an excellent frothy head, which, I believe, could describe me most mornings. But I digress. Deceptively strong (11+ ABV) with a pleasant bitterness. I would pair this with a plate of cured meat and David Wevill’s Other Names for the Heart: New and Selected Poems 1964-1984.

He writes in “Grace”:

… Sometimes lately

a bird you can’t identify has flitted close
and sung from the branches of his hands.

He leaves us touching ourselves.

Over the past thirty years, much of Wevill’s writing has left me with unrequited questions, with an itch to branch out, to learn more, to delve deeper into what makes us human.

But there are those days when introspection flies out the back door into the overgrown backyard, and all you want to do is sit back, watch the football game, relax, be entertained, escape. On those days I’ll break out a few cans of Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap, a German-style pilsner, moderately malty, straw-colored, with citrusy hops evident. A clean, palate-cleansing drink, good with nachos or chips, or hell, even with a Greek salad (heavy on the feta and olives, please). And if you’re like me and can’t devote yourself fully to the game, multitask – dip into Jeff Schwaner’s Goat Lies Down on Broadway, and absorb “Goat Reads the Signs”:

The sun rises like music
every morning. Wind goes
around the world and comes
back in a week or two. Goat
waits on top of a hill, judging…

As do we. Don’t stop there. Continue. Turn off the tube – one team will win, the other will lose. But Goat never wins. Goat never loses. Goat befriends Jerry Falwell. Goat eats Jerry’s tie. Goat ingests Sartre. Goat dies. “Goat is never dead.” A lively read, to say the least.

And speaking of lively, Independence Brewery’s Lupulust is a traditional Belgian-style tripel with a touch of modern hoppiness. It pours with a big head and spicy, floral notes, with a dry finish, reminding me of Karen Craigo’s No More Milk, in which she speaks of life – ordinary life – which, in her hands, becomes like that floral scented, big, hoppy beer. In “Scat with Mourning Dove” the narrator wakes “to syncopated song” and marvels at the bird’s jazz refrains from her place in bed with “a body warm against mine,” celebrating

how God made us, made jazz,
made an instrument of a dove.

Sip this book. Share it with friends. Take it to bed with a glass of warm milk. Savor it.


43 thoughts on “Which Poet, Which Beer (3)

  1. this reminds of Jan Kott’s Shakespeare criticism in which, in one text, the name of which escapes me, he begins (a book of criticism, on Shakespeare) with an anecdote about a drunken brawl himself & his Polish friends got into. why this reminds me of that i can’t say, it has that disassociation from its theme, from what is its twin, the evil Thaddeus twin with the handlebar mustache, stiffly waxed & one foot long.
    lovely writing this. you would get on in England if you like your beers, so many good draughts on tap in an English pub.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve managed to avoid drunken brawls since I left the Navy (and even then wasn’t a true participant) thirty-some years ago, but my taste for beer has unabated. If anything, it has increased, and somehow poetry seeped in over the years.


  2. First… you really are a poet after my heart. Second, I LOVE this post. Third, you can imagine my delight when the mysterious building they were building down the road turned out to be Uncle Leo’s Brewery. Which in turn has turned out to be one of the finest craft breweries in Nova Scotia. Cheers Robert! Enjoy your weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. beer and poetry? weird. but that’s just my take on that. I’m sorta more likely to wine and prose. “I went in to the woods to live more deliberately” thoreau/life in the woods/walden. rossi special of course chablis. I might step it back to a whiskey “” which means it’s not a whiskey but Schweppes ginger Ale which has been retired in favor of Ale8One of Kentucky and read how “dirt is as gold in the hands of the wise” – a Rumi quote poetic sure oops, but tucked neatly into “Earth Architecture nadir khalili of the cal earth institute hesperia california and no longer with us…but i have to limit my sugars same thing with just plain oxygen must be limited while facebookingas two words or perhaps a sentence in and all of a sudden someone struck up an orchestra of oppurtunity to rewrite/ruin any 80’s pop hit crossing the top/eyes of my thoughts….. but you mention beer and quite a lot of belgians. heavy b’s I will combine this with the milk mention too and “ding dong, another bright idea brought to you by the guy who invented BeeEERRR milshakes!” – confidence and paranoia, Red Dwarf *Lister’s Confidence speaking after fish rain.) and mention Sweet Water Brewing company of Georgia’s Hop Hash Seunset a lighter ale with hop tones to tap the tongue all across a smile with a Vanila bean ice cream… madagascarian vanilla? French vanilla, whatever Vanilla while not a milk shake proposal it is a beer ice cream float and can go with a fine bio on van gogh despite it haven’t any tomatoey eggy beery proess whatsoever. but it just might distract you from how not so brilliant it’d be to lop off body parts in the frantic search for the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t suggest chocolatety stouts and ice cream as i tried that to dismay. however i never can quite shake the idea entirely of beer and ice cream so have moved into a new phase of life wherein I must have more ipas which i traditionally dislike as i’m not overly keen on the hops…. however, lured to the darkside of beer or not maybe it’s the light afterall, I admit they’ve very much improved in the twenty years since all i got to know of was the highly NEW thing called Miller Genuine Draft….rat wizzle in a bottle… or i didn’t care very much for it then. and with standard premium lagers of that or wimpier ilks of taste, ice cream? those slop and foams? bad combo! and ipa or the PA i got to try to gain entry to smooth but flavor heavier beers was sierra nevada pa and it is both good but NOT an ice cream float type thought either … but I have been touched by the bitter beer face ipas and thus the darkside. I liked a seasonal offering of a red beer with new zealand berry toned hops. and yes, there is quite a lot of flavors out there…isn’t there? I wonder how you’d do with a blueberry dog’s paws of mainish brewing. I wonder if it’d have you into the old man and the sea – hemmingways.

        Liked by 1 person

          • many wheats are spiced with coriander if i remember correctly. thus technically both the standard vodka tones and the spicing blends have a beginning of a more classic vodka based bloody mary delight. yes, while this is fine cilantro the fresh corriander the dry seed of said connects in a weird way to the chellation of heavy metals within one’s blood to not necessarily clear them but bind them so they neutralize for a moment so we can for that moment get some healing done… however forgive me if this means oil potency to other factors and likely corriander present hasn’t enough to and i really never knew how well the cilantro did either…to be medically effective but there you have it, maybe ;0 beer is a health clense too 😀

            Liked by 1 person

              • beers. medicines come in many uses, since you claim a nebraskan brewery i will assume general location similar. I don’t mind if I’m wrong and you needn’t share. cold sleeting nights of blowing snot after a previous day of bummer dull overcast. beer: for me it might be a vanilla port I like what’s sadly becoming coors two row or bbb beer but it was breckenridge brewery once and delightful. i say this saying george killians prior to me being legal was riotously good then it went national as I was becoming of age and no offense to them two row coors and that means at the end of it a clay filter… is watery. it isn’t as welcome with the oomphier beers but darn fine for pilsners . hows about that — or haiku along 00 colored dread hath bled out, ‘nilla porter for the save!, light to my roadway.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a well-written, engaging post.

    I especially like this section:
    But Goat never wins. Goat never loses. Goat befriends Jerry Falwell. Goat eats Jerry’s tie. Goat ingests Sartre. Goat dies. “Goat is never dead.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I just can;t get into beer appreciation. I used to know tons about single malt whiskeys, but lost interest after first going to Japan and trying their national whiskeys and beer! Even the cheap stuff is like fine wine to me!

    There is now nothing I like more than Suntory 17 Hibiki and Asahi Super Dry beer. It is all I drink if I drink. Freezing cold zarusoba dripped in freezing cold soy sauce chased with Asahi, followed by a little Hibiki? Heaven! I even dream about eating/drinking more the same night I have had it for dinner! My girlfriend is so tired of my obsession with zarusoba and Hibiki, but I persist in my joy!

    I am a Suntory/Asahi/zarusiba dai-fan… desu!!

    Liked by 2 people

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