Liquid Research

My next book is set in a bar. What a great reason to sample some boutique craft beers, right? Learn to savor the flavor. Sadly I have discovered I have no ability to taste beyond om nom nom beer gone.

The labels, on the other hand, the labels I can get my teeth into.

Pirate Biere


Brewed by United Dutch Breweries, Belgium. 8.5% alcohol.

This is not beer. This is beer-flavored lemonade. This is why the pirate is pointing. He’s telling the parrot to bugger off and bring him an actual beer. Maybe the parrot is the one who already screwed up by buying Pirate 8.5 for the carousing. It already designed the label, and proved to have a very poor understanding of graphic design. Why make the gauntlets black and so hard to read against the dark blue of the can? Why is the pirate standing with his feet so far apart? Is that a pistol stuck into his sash, or is that the handle of an artisan Parmesan grater? Where did the barrel of the cannon go? And what, exactly, is the parrot eyeing, because if it’s the pirate’s basket then I want to rec that parrot Black Wade.

Entirely unsatisfactory on every front.

Death From Above


Brewed by Garage Project, Wellington, New Zealand. 7.5% alcohol.

Holy hell. The first thing I noticed about the beer was the blast of chili, mint, and lime. The beer reached into my mouth, yanked out my tongue, and forced itself upon my tastebuds. As I softly wept I picked up the bottle to realize, with growing horror, the second thing about this beer: the label features a fleet of helo gunships about to commit the same atrocities against the people of Vietnam. No shit.

The beer was originally going to be called Hopopalypse Now. Would that I were making this up. According to Wellington newspaper The Dominion Post, “Garage Project co-founder Jos Ruffell said the promotion was “a playful pop culture reference” to Apocalypse Now, although the name “Death From Above” was also that of a rock band. Like many of their brews, the beer recipe “fell outside the typical conventions”, which was reflected in the packaging and promotion. As an “Indochine” pale ale with American and Vietnamese ingredients, the advertising played on the history of the two countries. We’re not trying to glorify anything. I wouldn’t have thought it would be offensive.”

*cradles head in hands, moves on to next beer*

Velvet Boot


Brewed by Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, New Zealand. 8% alcohol.

Apparently this complements chocolate cake. Next time I have cake I am so trying that. Clearly I picked this because tentacles, which is all the excuse anyone needs for anything. But why is the octopus trying on a velvet boot? Velvet is not a suitable fabric choice for underwater wear. The fact the cephalopod wants footwear at all I have fewer problems with: they’re tool-users, after all. Delicious beer. Smelled like ginger, tasted like yum.

None of this gets me any closer to completing my first draft, but I think hops might be an anti-microbial agent, so maybe drinking will keep me healthier to write more. Cheers!

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