This sponsored column is written by Steve Quartell, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.
I’ve been thinking — when you can’t go places in space you can always go places in time. Beer is a lot of things to a lot of people and call me sentimental or overly nostalgic, but I’ve always seen it as a time machine. It slows down time, it steals away time from tomorrow if you have one too many and it takes you back.
In Tasting Beer, (cicerone alert) Randy Mosher talks about the neuroscience behind taste and smell and the double redundancy of the nerves transmitting taste sensory information to our brains. And how beer hacks directly into that hardwiring. It’s a connection so potent you can hold it in your hand every time you open a bottle. I love beers that bring you back. There’s a lot we have in store right now that fire synapses for me immediately — but there’s one that I can’t ever get in store or ever again.
Fall 2007, Chicago. About 11 at night and eleven friends and I are walking out of a theatre in Roscoe Village after having talked our way into a sold-out show called “The Magnificents,” presented by the truly amazing House Theatre Company. Nine theatre majors in town for auditions near the midpoint of senior year, high on a show that lived up to its name, en route to a bar around the corner called The Hungry Brain.
The night air is cool and damp as an evening thunderstorm rolls in. We turn the corner from Western to Belmont headed towards the lake. The wind and rain pick up, and we huddle together, walking faster and laughing at the timing of this cool shower during our five minute walk.
The Hungry Brain is familiar and new all at once. I quickly scan the familiar beer brands but pause a moment on a distinct telephone tap handle; it’s calling me. I take my first sip of Goose Island 312 and am blown away by how different it is from what I’m used to. Fruit, lemon peel and light pepper notes with an aromatic sensation I’d only picked up on hikes and walking along midwestern prairies — earthy, floral, piney but not aggressively so.
I snap out of my beer inspired reverie and a friend asks what I’m drinking. To date, my go-to beers had been Keystone and Bud, so lacking any distinct descriptors I holler, “Dunno, but we’re drinking it all night!”
We take turns bringing pitchers of that unfiltered wheat ale back to mismatched leather couches. Playing quarters, laughing at jokes that made more sense freshman year and putting on songs we’ve listened to before, but not in this place, not in this time. We talk about what, where and who we will be after graduation, and we hold on to what we are now.
We all have stories like this one, “Fall 2007. Chicago” — a memorable experience paired with the perfect, memorable beer. These beers turn into time machines in miniature, they take us back to moments when all we needed was the pint in front of us and the people around us.
Opening up a 312 was dialing in “Fall 2007. Chicago.” no matter where I was. The smell of fall leaves on the sidewalk, a thunderstorm coming in, the electricity of friends going from one incredible experience they watched as an audience — to another they lived as a community of twelve.
I can’t dial up that time machine ever again, at least not easily. There are worse things a brewery can do than get bought out, but that doesn’t change the fact that the recipe for 312 is forever changed. It took six batches of homebrew to zero in on something that “hit” like the original, and I just don’t have the energy for that anymore.
And, to throw salt in my wounds, the Hungry Brain as I briefly knew it closed in 2014.
What I can do is crack open a Corruption IPA from DC Brau and be taken back to stocking that beer in my fridge at multiple overseas posts and finding fellow beer drinkers that quickly became dear friends.
I can pour a Troeg’s Nimble Giant into a tulip glass and laugh about the night we flew back to the U.S. via JFK International and the absurdity of my wife and I losing contact with each other when her cell phone died on the way back from dropping extra bags off at her sisters’ studio while I was buying toothpaste at the bodega closest to our AirBnB and she was the only one with our rental information and “boy I guess I’m gonna buy this four pack I haven’t had before” while this bodega cat stares at me (it was a night).
And while I can’t guess what beer takes you back, I can spot you 5% on your next order from now until my next column. Use code TakeUBack at check out for 5% off your beer order with us.*
Let’s all look forward to that next pint we raise with friends and dear ones — hopefully closer together and sooner than later.
Until then folks — to your health.
*Discount Code does not combine with other active discounts. Supplies limited. Applies to beer only, may not apply to all beers in inventory (mixed cases, 12 packs, large format bottles etc)
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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village