If I knew then what I know now….

So, I’m drinking some Piraat and quite enjoying it and wondering how did I get here (this is not my house, this is not my beautiful wife…), you know, getting to where one really enjoys a nice belgian ale over, say, the ubiquitous Budweiser.  Where does it come from?  I trace my lineage back to Three Dollar Dewey’s in Brattleboro, VT.  I went on to live in this town, but at the time I was visiting from Maryland.  The wife and I head up to see some friends and mountains and snow in March (just a few days mind you since I had to be at court on Monday but that’s another story).  Three Dollar Dewey’s was a run down bar on the edge of town that had one hell of a beer list.  After drinking with friends all evening, all over town, we end up at closing time at Deweys (oh, we’d made earlier visits during the evening) and I have this memory of trying to make sense of the beer list, what to have for that last beer of the evening.  Ray McNeill, friend of a friend and beer connoisseur, tried to talk me through it.  Problem was, Molson’s was extravagant to me at the time.  I don’t know what I ended up with, but I know that I didn’t like it.  The condition I was in was no condition in which to be venturing into Belgian beers.  Well, as I say, I ended up moving to Brattleboro and even working at Deweys.  Ray went on to open a quite nice Brewpub downtown (if you’ve seen “American Beer” that’s him playing cello and being quite witty and charming early in the film with a definite shift in tenor in the late-night scene soon thereafter–if you haven’t seen it by the way, I’d say see it) and I really learned beer from Ray.  Still not sure I got it by the time I left Brattleboro (my tastes were still far from out-of-the-ordinary, but I was certainly equipped with a real love of beer and the readiness to explore).  I wonder now how life would have been different if I’d had a real love of Belgians and other good beers when I lived in Vermont.  I’m guessing life wouldn’t have turned out that different, except that I’d probably still be in Vermont because I wouldn’t have had the money to move away–I’d have drank it away in those beautifully cloudy tulip glasses.  Ah, as the zen master says, we only see what we’re ready to see and the teacher comes along when we’re ready for the teacher.  Thanks Ray.


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