How's that for a big picture of my book cover? If you don't recognize the plants entwining around the glasses, bottle, and the body, those are hops plants, essential to producing a great brew whether lager or ale--the bitterness factor.
Now here we go with the final installment of my travels through brew. Now you know the ugly truth about me and beer.
The story of how beer betrayed me ( and how I forgave the brew).
I go to College
Here’s the betrayal part which I find hard to forgive. I had my first beer at a college party. What I remember of the party is that it was held outdoors, and I went to it with the college bad boy, a guy from (shudder) New Jersey. I don’t know how many beers I had, but enough for this nondrinking gal to feel really sick. My date told me I needed to throw up (I already knew that), and he clapped me on the back. Up everything came. I felt better, true, but, sincerely deceived by a golden liquid that seemed so innocent. No more beers for me until graduate school.
I Discover Good Beer and a Good Man
I did part of my graduate work at the University of South Dakota where an annual “Hunt Party” occurred every spring. It went on for a long weekend and included both graduate faculty and students from the psychology department. Everyone brought food and drink. The food was some of the best I remember and included squirrel, rabbit, antelope (Pronghorn), and deer, whatever was left in the fridge from hunting the previous fall. The beer was homebrew, the wine also homemade. It was my first taste of good beer—strong, rich, hoppy—sometimes necessary at the bottom of the bottle to strain the dregs through your teeth, but it was great.
I went on to the University of Georgia for my Ph. D. At the time, the university was located in a dry county. You could buy beer and wine at a few restaurants, and finally some stores came in selling packaged beer and wine. Those were the lean years. No one I knew made home brew and, looking back, I realize, for that reason and many others, I didn’t know the right people.
Off to upstate New York to teach at one of the universities there and then to spend time in Connecticut where wine is the drink of choice. I followed along with the crowd, my university colleagues, from whom I hid my secret urge for a cold one. Then I met the only cowboy in all of Connecticut. He saved me from impending yippie-ishness by introducing me to microbrews, first in Utah, of all places, then throughout the Southwest. We finally moved to New Mexico. In all that heat, those people understand the need for a cold one.
Now my cowboy (he’s a keeper) and I spend summers on the Butternut Creek in upstate New York restoring an 1874 cottage. The best part of being there is I live in an area filled with microbreweries. They are fun to visit and they make some of the best brew I’ve ever tasted.
Of course I still drink wine, and scotch, and cosmos, but there’s nothing like a hand-crafted beer on a hot summer day. In the winter? I’m in Florida. Not on the beaches. Don’t be silly. I told you I live with a cowboy. We have a house in rural Florida where you have to watch those spurs on the dance floor. And, oh yeah. They have brew pubs and how!