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When I first fell in Love…

by Zante Cafe 2 months ago in cuisine
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With Dark Beer

Personal Photo by author

Most people fall in Love during the Holidays. I am no exception. And like most people, I wasn't expecting it. I was not Looking for Love. It just happened.

My story began on a frigid Thanksgiving afternoon. The turkey was about done in the oven. The table was set. All the side dishes were in a ceramic bowl, and each bowl had a hefty spoon for the serving.

But the table lacked something. That special adult beverage that tied the meal together. After panning through the refrigerator, panic overcame me. No Alcohol. It was a WTF moment. I searched, for a beer bottle, a Molsons or a Budweiser, Coors, anything, something, please God, I fear the worst. No beer.

I would have settled for a cabernet or pinot noir at this point as I searched behind the giant pickle jar and old salsa from who knows when my eye spied a large brown bottle. It was a beer bottle the size of a wine bottle. I look at the label, and it reads "Corsendonk'. It's a Belgium beer. I'm desperate. I vaguely remembered it was given to me as a Holiday gift. But I am not sure how many holidays ago it was. It has to be ten months go. I try to convince myself. I look at the bottom of the beer bottle. I see sediments, large sediments the size of peppercorns. I begin to second guess myself, was it two or three holidays ago?

The beer comes with a cork. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. The turkey is out of the oven and resting on a serving platter. In about ten minutes, everyone will be sitting down at the table. Luckily it's only six of us, and I am the only one that drinks adult beverages. My wife rarely drinks. I weigh the pros and cons. The beer may be spoiled, and I could get sick later on. But the fact it's a beer and contains alcohol swings the vote in favor of drinking the darn thing. Heaven, could you help me?

I sit down at the head of the table and pop the cork off. A lovely popping 'poomf' sound comes out of the mouth of the bottle. I have a tall pilsner glass awaiting for the time forgotten, lost in the back of the refrigerator, mystery brew. I gently pour the beer into my glass and am shocked to see the beer is dark brown. I've only known beer to be one color — golden, straw-colored amber hue. My wife has an expression on her face that says it all. Please don't drink it. I can't resist; I have no other alcohol in the house. I fill my pilsner glass. There is a perfect set of foam on top of the brown brew. I smell it. It smells good. Aromas of roasted malt and chocolate overtake my olfactory sense. I smell it again. It's earthy and sweet, with hints of nutmeg and cardamon. I like to cook, and I recognize my spices.

It's now or never. I take a small sip. I sip some more. I can't believe it. I'm in Nirvana. It was the best beer I have ever tasted. My eyes widen, and I'm smiling from ear to ear like a boy who got lucky at senior prom. My wife recognizes that look at instantly grabs the glass to steal a taste of the mystery brew. There is a slight brawl, but I relent because I don't want to spill one drop of my ambrosia needlessly.

My wife takes a small sip and puckers her lips a few times to move the brew throughout her lips. Finally, she exclaims, "That's a damn good beer. Pour me a glass."

"But you don't drink." I reminded her.

"But it so good!" she snapped back without hesitation.

I hoarded whatever was left in the bottle, all to myself. No guilt and no remorse. This dark brew was mine, all mine.

They said the Belgian monks used dark beer to carry them through their fasts. I can see that happening.

That was the day I fell in Love with Dark Beer. Thursday, November 28, 1996. You never forget your first time.


About the author

Zante Cafe

The Coffeehouse to the World

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