“You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be“
I originally started writing this blog because I was encouraged to do so by a few people. One of those people was Brent Herrmann. Brent was one of our IT guys here at Twin; he passed away on Sunday, July 18, very suddenly, and very young.
Those of us who work here at Twin are all a family. We all at least know of each other, and the folks who work out of our corporate offices are known to everyone in the various stores. I probably talked to Brent weekly, if not more. I know he liked electronic gadgets, I know he was an amateur filmmaker, I know he had a great sense of humor, and I know that he was one of the most positive and upbeat people I have had the privilege to know . He had spoken to me a few weeks before his death about writing a screenplay for him; he enjoyed my writing, and encouraged me. I would go so far as to say that people around Brent loved him, and that’s not a word that I bandy around lightly.
I wish I’d known him better than I did. I wish I’d had the time to know him better. Every day, as I walk through life, I try very hard to remember that every person I meet is their own story; they have loves, fears, passions, wants, needs, secrets, aspirations. I am entering the age where I start losing the chance to learn some of the stories around me; I have seen two friends and two co-workers die in the last four years. As Chuck Palahniuk said, every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. Brent’s death sorrows and saddens me — and I choose to take the gift he gave me, his encouragement, and turn it into something else.
Partially because of my loss, I choose to do more, to write more, and to stay aware that every day I am surrounded by a thousand stories. I choose to remember Brent by focusing on the things I did that he enjoyed. It is, in the end, the only substantial answer I have to his loss.
What is remembered, lives. Thanks, Brent.
As for beer this month, well — I don’t really have an overarching theme or topic. I just have a few beers that I’d like you to try; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
While it is not official yet, there is a growing movement among American brewers in the Pacific Northwest to officially recognize a new style that they’ve create — the Cascadian Dark Ale (see this month’s BVB for a definition). Deschutes’ Hop In The Dark CDA is one such beer; it opens with citrus and resin flavors from American hops, but finishes with chocolate and espresso tones reminiscent of a good dry stout. It’s a limited, seasonal beer, so check it out now; I have a small supply at the Galleria store.
While we’re on the subject of limited edition beers, I want to make sure I tell you about the Brooklyn Sorachi Ace Saison. Sorachi Ace is made with the rare Sorachi hop. Developed by Sapporo Brewing, the Sorachi is an incredibly fragrant hop with lemon flavor and aroma. When you combine it with Saison — a style that Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver loves — it’s an incredibly refreshing punch. When it’s gone, it’s gone, so grab some now.
Finally, I want to mention one of my favorite summer tipples, Southern Star Brewery’s Bombshell Blonde. Southern Star was one of the first small breweries to can, rather than bottle, their beers; made just down the road in Conroe, Texas, the Bombshell is a hoppy, malty, light refresher that still has considerable substance behind it. This is probably my favorite beer currently being brewed in Texas, and it’s perfect for late summer and early fall.
Until next month, keep your head up, your lace delicate, your malt toasty, and your hops snappy.
THIS MONTH’S BVB (Beer Vocabulary Builder):
CDA (Cascadian Dark Ale) — Cascadian Dark Ales are hoppy and dry like an IPA, but are made with dark or black-roasted malt for an intense smoky, toasty flavor that balances the hops nicely. The style was first developed in the Pacific Northwest, and most examples still are brewed there.