Happy New Year, beer drinkers!
Driftwood Brewery, out of Victoria, makes some truly amazing beer, of that there can be no dispute. Their Fat Tug IPA is one of the most venerated beers in the province and has come to define a style: the Northwest or West Coast IPA. Some have argued that the grand ol’ Tugboat has lost some torque: that it’s not as good as it once was. Whether this is true or whether some of us in the Craft Continuum have simply grown tired of the ‘Tug being on top and on tap at every pub is a tale for another time.
Instead, this is a tale of Driftwood’s Pilsner offering, the Arcus. It is also a tale of renewal and of hope. And of the fine line poetry walks between beauty and barf-chunks.
This was a bloody delicious beer. I’m not a really a pilsner guy but my friend brought it over for New Years and I’d just finished a fairly heady IPA, so something light, crisp, and refreshing was a welcome change. Then (as we do) we marvelled at the beautiful label. Who is this Arcus character? Is she a historical figure? A Goddess? An earthly goddess of a more Amazonian nature? Who knew? The Googs didn’t really dredge anything up other than Driftwood’s website so I took a moment to peruse it and found a poem penned by an unnamed author.
Well Sir, let me tell ya: that’s just the kind of awesome I love! Let’s make our own damn mythology! Who’s the poet? Who knows? Maybe the brewer, maybe someone in marketing, maybe I’m 100 kilometers off base and it’s an old Grecian translation of a paean to a princess who knocked an arrow and popped a punk! It doesn’t matter. What matters is the imagery and feeling it evokes in the here and now. Here’s the original from Driftwood’s website:
O, Draw your feathered flame, line up your mark,
Let golden arrows trace with brightest daylight
Our earthly dome, and chase away the nightly darkness.
Now loose your fletchings! Fire! Release your spark!
From higher still, let rays now take their flight!
That we may gaze upon your golden grace, shine brightly Arcus!
Is that not lovely on the lips? Listen, if you don’t like poetry that’s fine. The beer stands alone and doesn’t need a Karaoke machine to make it sing. Whether ’twas the fullish moon or the end of 2017 or the many beers imbibed, I too felt the poets quill upon my mind. So, in trying to tie all that shit into a pretty package for New Years I came up with a plan. First I took a picture of my beer, my Arcus, shooting the moon from my back deck.
Then I took the quill that was stuck in my mind, dipped it in ink and dabbed it upon the parchment:
Arcus drew with vain delight,
To vanquish last year’s lonely light
By feathered flame the moon did die
To not but motes in Arcus’ eye.
With not but thought to think upon,
The New Year wakes to challenge dawn.
With stainless step and hopeful glow
Towards the light of Arcus’ bow.
It that not lovely on the lips? Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Beauty (like conjunctivitis) is in the eye of the beholder.
The point (I think) of Driftwood’s poem is to give an additional layer to the label and bottled bounty within. Mission accomplished. The point to my poem is that it’s now 2018. We’ve said good-bye to 2017, for all its slings and arrows, and hello to the new year and all the hope and promise it, you know… promises.
Personally, 2017 kicked ass and I hope 2018 does the same. I’ve learned a tonne about the BC craft beer industry and am acutely aware of how much more there is for me to learn. So I’ve got that journey to look forward to and hopefully you’ll want to tag along.
But whatever journey you find yourself on this year, wherever 2018 finds you, I hope you can share the tale with friends over beers. Good beers. Craft beers. Like this one.