This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

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When I first moved to Asheville, North Carolina, the hours of my job were quite demanding, especially on the weekends. Every once in a while, as I toiled away on some Friday or Saturday night responsibility, I got joyful, needling dispatches from those who were engaged in happy tomfoolery out and about. There were friends down from Wisconsin on one of those occasions, and they were taking on the town with my partner-in-all-things. Among their stops was the Thirsty Monk, a downtown bar dedicated to making sure every tap gushed generously with the finest beers available. I’d been to the downstairs bar, specializing in Belgian beers, but the upstairs companion expansion, with a wider array of offerings, had only recently opened. As I counted down the minutes to the end of my work night, I got updating texts extolling the pleasures of each new discovery. One beer I know was downed that night was Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard Ale. That inspired the most excited communications of all.

By the time I was able to metaphorically punch the clock and join them, there was evident wooziness among all in the establishment. I didn’t need to catch up, but I was happy to join them. I ordered an Arrogant Bastard, and it was just as good as I’d been promised: malty, caramel-tinged, rich, densely-flavored, and practically designed to leave the tongue abuzz. It was the kind of beer that was worth the wait and maybe tasted a little better when it was well-earned. I checked both those boxes that night. I’ve had it many times since. Though it’s always pleasurably satisfying, it’s never quite had the magic of that first night. That’s not so bad. Lessened magic is magic nonetheless.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.

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