Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why beer for a scotch drinker?

I'd like to tell you a bit more about myself, to make clear why I created a microbrewer as my protagonsit in my new mystery A Deadly Draught. Let me give you a quick tour through my drinking history. I'll do this over several postings. I call it "Memories of Brew" and I'll begin with the early years.

Memories of Brew

The Early Years

Let me tell you a bit about myself. If you already know me, then the question you may ask is, why are you writing about beer? Aren’t you a wine drinker? Or a scotch drinker? Or didn’t you say you like to sip pomegranate cosmos in the summer out by your trout stream?
Yes to all those questions, but beer and me, well, we go way back. And perhaps if beer hadn’t betrayed me in my early college years, I’d have discovered microbrews a long time ago.
I was raised on a dairy farm in Illinois in a family where the only booze in the house was a dusty old bottle of Mogan David wine left over from a Thanksgiving dinner right after the war, that’s WWII. As a child of three, I found it, and then my mom found me, a little silly on the back porch floor.
A continued interest in spirits continued throughout my preschool years fueled by the attentions of my father’s sister, my Aunt Fernie, a six foot tall, redheaded, blue-eyed, opinionated woman who often baby sat for me when my mother was not feeling well, which was often (I wasn’t a bad child, but I was a trying one, much like Aunt Fernie). Fernie worked as a part-time bartender at one of the local bars called the Brass Rail. My mother discovered years later that Fernie was a creative babysitter who took me with her to work, sat me on a bar stool, and served me Shirley Temples. I found them not so exciting as that bottle of Mogan David.
I didn’t learn much about beer, but I did get insight into beer drinkers. First, you can drink a lot of beer if you run back and forth into the bathroom frequently. You can also make your beer regain its head by putting salt into it. Most importantly, beer is cheap so you can drink a lot of it and, you know, run to the bathroom. And if you want to make the brew even more healthy than it already is (think cereal in liquid form) dump in tomato juice. It’s called a red one.
By the time I entered kindergarten, I considered myself quite sophisticated. My mother considered me corrupted.

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