A trip to Texas in incomplete without a Malone sighting.
Malone is an enigma of a man. A tattooed literacy professor at a junior college somewhere in center of the state. He is an Ozarkan by birth and sports the facial hair of an Appalachian moonshiner. His beard comes to a point somewhere around mid-shirt, generally a concert tee-shirt of some type or another. And though you might suspect such a man to don the shirts of a hard charging metal band or punk-bluegrass group, Malone opts for those shirts emblazoned with the faces of Katy Perry or Kelly Clarkson.
He is a set of walking contradictions. I think he prefers it that way.
If there are two things Malone knows, they’re irony and beer, so when I touchdown at Bush International, I am not surprised to receive a text message asking me to meet him for drinks at beer joint generally frequented by fraternity boys. It has the most Texas beers on tap, he texts, and if I want to experience the best the Lone Star State has to offer, this is the place. I text him back, ask him whether we’re going to be drinking Bavarian lagers all evening, and he says there’s more to Texas beer than the Spoetzl Brewery. “ We’ll see,” I think.
An hour later I am sitting with Malone in a booth and he is telling me about the new Katie Perry movie, trying to convince me that the poor dame is merely misunderstood, that there is depth to her. “Even if you don’t buy that,” he says, “she’ll by golly bring a good show.” I tell him I’d be more than happy to be misunderstood for the kind of money that Katy Perry makes. The waitress hears our conversation and says, “really?” in an overly sardonic tone. Malone smiles, orders two beers from (512) Brewing Company, an Austin brewery.
“Texas beer is a bit like Katy Perry,” he says. “Misunderstood. For instance, what do you think of when you think of a Texas brew?”
“Mostly, I think of Shiner Bock, which isn’t my favorite.”
“Exactly,” he says. “There’s more to Texas beer, though.”
About that time, our waitress brings us two pints of (512)’s India Pale Ale. The aroma is nice and citrusy, maybe with a hint of mowed grass. He raises a glass to Katy Perry, and I’m half-tempted to play my own sardonic comment, but I like these little nuances that comprise Malone. I oblige him his toast and take Texas-sized gulp.
I am astounded by the fullness of flavor, how this beer delivers on its aroma. “This is a gem,” I say, and Malone laughs.
“It’s better than the swill that comes out of Little Rock, no?” he says. He’s treading on dangerous ground now, and he knows it. I happen to be a fan of Diamond Bear’s Presidential IPA, but it’s no match for this stuff, I must admit.
We run through tasters of the (512) line, and each is delightful. (I confess, the pecan porter was not my favorite as it tasted more of pecan husks that the actual nut itself.) When the flight is over, Malone asks me whether this brewery has changed my thinking about Texas beer, and on cue, “Firework” plays on the house sound system. I take the last swig from my pint and say, “I can get behind this beer Malone. Katy Perry on the other hand?”
“To each his own,” Malone says, and bobs his head to the chorus.
Poetry Prompt: Every region has it’s own brew. The folks from California are awfully proud of Stone Brewing Co. In Kansas City, they tout Boulevard. Oregonians love their Rogue. What about your neck of the woods–what beers (or types of beers) do the folks in your region prefer? Pen a poem about your local brewers—whether a regional brewing company, a local brew house, or your home-brewing buddy. Leave it for us in the comments, and we’ll tweet it to the Tweetspeak community!
Now, let’s get our creativity brewing!
Tweetspeak’s October Beer and Wine Prompt:
This month’s theme at Tweetspeak is beer and wine poetry, and we’re using words and phrases from beer and wine related products, articles, or musings as poetry prompts. We’d love you to join with us. How do you participate?
1. Grab a cold one or a bottle of wine, a magazine article relating to beer or wine, or your favorite short story touching on the subject.
2. Arrange a found poem containing words from the products. Make sure your poems touch on themes of beer or wine.
3. Tweet your poems to us. Add a #TSCheers hashtag so we can find it and maybe share it with the world.
4. If you aren’t a twitter user, leave your found poem here in the comment box.
5. Each week we’ll share a few of the poems. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a winning poem and ask the winner to record his or her poem to be featured in one of our upcoming Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.
Last week, Maureen Doallas used Halloween imagery in her poem, “Witches Wine.” She wrote:
From the cauldron rise
no spirits distilled. The line is
drawn, the circle cast in forest
dark as the raven’s hair. Now
from primal well is drawn vinum
sabbati — black wine of owls.
Feathers swirling, witches fly out,
dance on the face of a Blood Moon.
Check out the comments to last week’s post to read Maureen Doallas’ entire poem.
Now, let’s brew some creativity and see what we can uncork! Who’s first?
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In October we’re exploring the theme Wine and Beer.