I recently had a beer-related email exchange with my Mother that brought me much joy.
My Mother is a wonderful person who has always supported me in everything I do. We have a great relationship, and I enjoy seeing her as much as possible. But our family is not a family which talks every day. As a result, a lot things I do in my daily life she might not completely know about.
For example, I am a DJ for Clemson University’s college radio station WSBF, but it is not something I ever shared with her. There was no specific reason for me not to, but I figured she would not be too interested in the obscure German electronica I play (plug alert) every Tuesday afternoon from 5-7pm. Of course I was wrong. She might not be too interested in the music, but she thinks it’s great that I have my own radio show. She found out about it because my Aunt mentioned it to her after she had seen me post it on Facebook. That led to this wonderful email from her:
Yes, I heard you for about 5 minutes and so did Frances before we left. I heard you tell everyone that your Mother was listening - that was very sweet.
I think you are doing a great job. Love, Mother
And while I was typing the above, a message came in from my Uncle:
Harris, I think you will be great on radio. You have a very good speaking voice. I'm proud of you!
That’s pretty awesome, even for this sometimes way-too-cynical, almost 45-year-old.
My Mother, however, does know that I love beer and even knows that I write for BeerGraphs. She, however, sticks to her wine that has evolved from screw-top, next-to-the-fridge bottles while I was growing up to pretty-decent but not-too-pricey .75L bottles from which ever store has them on sale at the moment.
However, she recently tried an IPA that I had left in the refrigerator, and this is where the story starts.
My Mother is a retired home economics school teacher. A few years ago, she and her two sisters bought a small house in their hometown of Cuthbert, Ga, which is a small town in the southwest part of the state near the Alabama line. The closest cities are Columbus and Albany, and I love being in that part of the world because it is where I was born (in Blakely 30 miles south) and where all my kinfolk are from and where many still live.
The house is great. It is has become a retirement house for her and a gathering place for us during Thanksgiving. And as a college instructor, I spend a fair amount of time there during the summer. Last May when I was I making my way south after the semester ended, I stopped in Athens, Ga, which I often do, at the Five Points Bottle Shop. One of the beers I bought was Stone’s Enjoy After 07.04.16, except when I bought it I thought the year was 2015. I like to drink beer as soon as I buy it and have never been one to age beers. Nonetheless, when I discovered my mistake, I put the bottle in the bottom of the fridge as there is not much cellaring that goes on in South Georgia in the summer.
Fast forward from May to September when I received the above-mentioned email from my Mother with the subject line of “IPA.” Had it been from sister, I wouldn’t have batted an eye, but this gave me pause before I clicked to open it. It read:
The IPA you had in the fridge - I drank it and it was delicious. After reading the label I realized I probably shouldn't have. Where did you get it and how can I get you more?!!
Haha, that's too funny. When I bought it I thought it was drink after 07.04.2015 and then when I got it to Cuthbert I realized it said 2016. So I put it in the fridge and mostly forgot about it. It is still being sold so I can't get it all over. It's not rare or special or anything. Also, the beer was fine to drink, and I am glad you liked it. It is just supposed be even better after it ages for a year. I am still not used to aging beer. I like to drink them as soon as I get them!
The email thread continued with us quickly getting on the same page.
Well, I am glad. I thought it might be something very special. Actually I did pull up the web site and they said you could drink it after 7-4-15 but it was completely aged on 7-4-16. It was really very good. I don't need to develop a taste for craft beer and get fat.
Well, if you find it again I will buy you one. Love, Mother
Not a problem. For Thanksgiving you can bring me up some Florida beer I can't get here. And I can bring some fancy beers so we can all have a taste test.
OK. You will have to tell me what Florida beers. Later. Love, Mother
Isn’t that the best? I often get asked in real life and on Twitter about beers? And now my Mother is looking out for me and my sister, who is also a huge craft beer drinker. What about you? Has your craft beer passion reached the level of you being an expert and mini-celebrity in your own world? Let us know in the comments!
In the meantime, I have to buy at least two more bottles of Enjoy After 07.04.16, one to drink at Thanksgiving because my Mother says it is delicious and one to drink next July for comparison purposes.
Harris can be found on Twitter @ohkiv where he is often the ornery, old guy talking (sometimes in German) about baseball, music and beer. But now you know he has the sweetest Mother in the world.