When the topic for this month’s Session was announced, my mind immediately went to work, searching out ideas for beery animals. Dogs, cows, fish, monkeys. And then came my moment of clarity. The Zoo would provide me with my desert island beer. If I had to drink from one brewery for the rest of my life, it would be from the Belgian brewery with the tiny, timid creature gracing its labels: Brasserie Caracole.
Caracole is the Spanish word for snail.
To be sure, there are any number of cooler animals out there. It would have been fun talking about Hair of the Dog Adam today. Or Victory’s Golden Monkey. Or Great Divide’s Oak-aged Yeti.
But the snail is a deeper choice. It’s a lifestyle choice. It’s how brewing gets done at this brewery. And it’s very representative of this place called brewvana.
They do everything at a snail’s pace. They have no fork truck. They have no conveyer belts. They carry the milled grain by hand to the mash tun, a process that takes a half a day. Even more beautifully, Brasserie Caracole utilizes the last wood fired kettle in Europe. And to keep me supplied, I’d want them working overtime on Nostradamus.
I’m a Romantic. What’s wrong with that? When beer loses it’s romance, we call it macro-swill. All of the craft beers we love so much harken back to history, to art and to what one can do with his or her own two hands. In order to live a better life, we must not only support our local brewery, but also our local farmers, buying fresh sweet corn and eggs. We must buy meat from our local butcher. From time to time, we must simmer tomato sauce all day. We must bake fresh bread.
These beers are labor bottled. History bottled. Art bottled. Love bottled. If I were on a desert island, I’d want to give my money to the brewers of Caracole.
This month’s Session is dedicated to the memory of Michael Jackson.
Many thanks to Rick Lyke at Lyke 2 Drink for hosting.