Arlington, VA

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.

“Phew!” Was not a thousand percent sure I’d finish the column by Friday.

Took a day off (well, from the store) this week and… ya know how three day weekends often just mean fitting a 5 day work week into one less day? Well.. yeah. I’m there. But we did it. It’s finished, you’re reading it as a finished piece right now. And listen, this may come as a shock to you, but I will often have a beer open as I finish this column.

I’ll pause a moment for many of you to unclutch your pearls.

We’re adults here obviously. This is a beer column. While coffee is in charge when for editing, whilst writing, well… a picture speaks a thousand words.

And that Vleit Pilsner is really true to form, more often than not it’s a lager. I can pop one open as an idea that’s been bouncing around in my head takes more solid form, and one sip after another, one very rough paragraph begins to form, and then another and then a few sentences.

Before I know it I’ve finished a lager, but… boy I still need to see through that last thought. So, that first beer wasn’t bad, I may as well have one more for dessert. Most columns are a two beer write up — I think I’ve had one column that was a three beer job, and that required a full pot of coffee for editing the next morning. But finishing a column feels great — I wish I could do the same more often with books.

Listen, I am great at buying books. I’m pretty good at starting them even — Finishing them however?

The above was an attempt by me to get so many books at once that I’d almost certainly pick one up and finish it. It was a blind box purchase from Capitol Hill Books and to their credit I’m really interested in all these titles. To my credit I polished off one in a single afternoon — The Nose by Nikolai Gogol… yeah… it’s 45 pages.

A book I started the same month I started at Arrowine is perfect for my writing process —  it’s titled Lager, well “A Brief History of Lager, 500 Years of the World’s Favourite Beer” by Mark Dredge.

It opens with an absolutely enchanting scene in the caves under Schlekerla and moves into their tavern space Dredge recalls, “Today the tavern feels like a place where time has stopped: it’s paused a few centuries ago… It’s handsomely cathedral-like, cloistered with dark wood and white walls; the grey stone floors have been worn shiny; beechwood burns in the fireplaces; the bar has a copper surface with two wooden barrels on it both tilted, and one has a burnished gold tap in its round belly.”

Sounds quite pleasant yeah? I had a similarly pleasant yet completely dissimilar experience (because 2020) at Port City this past Sunday. I drank lager. Many much lagers. Outside. From a tap!

I really have to hand it to the crew over there, I have not felt that at ease and safe outside of the store or home in awhile. Check in process was easy, but also very direct and clear about what precaution were in place on the brewery’s part and expected of us. They’re there for you to have a good time but no one’s playing around either. Sipping on their German Pilsner under the shade of a festival tent is about the closest I may get to an Oktoberfest party this year, but I’ll take it.

Part of me wishes I’d have just brought the book with me. I suppose I’ll have to make an attempt at replicating the experience with some of the Yacht Party Lager in my fridge or some fresh Rocket Frog’s Helleanor Helles this weekend.

Because really, I’d love to finish Dredge’s “Lager” as easily as I can finish Yacht Party lager. Maybe that’s my reward for wrapping up some around the house projects this weekend. Some concentrated read time with a series of lagers while I polish off the last four sections of the book.

I don’t have Dredge’s book in stock, but I sure have some lagers in stock. So let’s go ahead and put that 4 beer reading flight up on the store until I finish his book and at 15% off what the singles price would be anyhow.

Have any good reads during the last 6 months of “free time?” I’m obviously not in a position to take recommendations (see earlier photo), but anything can count as a good read — fall asleep with the paper on your lap in a hammock? That’s a good read. Finish off a favorite novel for a second time with your pet in your lap? That’s a dang good read.

Let me know in the comments — maybe a beer is only the start of what I need for settling in to a good read.

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