My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky. – William Faulkner
If you are a writer, particularly an American fiction writer and even more particularly a Southern American fiction writer, you have had to wrestle with William Faulkner. His literature has not only shaped American fiction, but it has also shaped how the country sees the South and more importantly how the South sees itself.
Strip away Faulkner’s influence, you still have the writing, the art. To me writing fiction is both an art and a craft. It divines its beauty as much from the constant repetition of the act of writing as it does from the unforeseen inspiration it requires to affect readers. The best writers put their butts in a chair and write every day. They practice the craft constantly not waiting for the beauty to come to them, but chasing it down and hunting for it in their own minds.
The very best brewers are the same way. Talk to any brewer worth their weight in malt and they will tell you about the beer that is just about to finish fermenting, the beer they are boiling right now, and the beers they have in planning. The best constantly practice their craft in hope of finding that perfect moment of inspiration to make something truly great. In the meantime they are content with creating consistently good and enjoyable beer.
One of my favorite breweries is Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough, NC. Here is a quote from the Mystery website as to why they chose the name, “…So, it’s a tribute, it’s recognition that there is just as much art to brewing as there is science…”
Founder and head brewer Erik Lars Myers and the rest of his team choose a barrel aged sour peach ale to give the name Faulkner. Usually, when you think of a barrel aged beer you think bourbon barrels and high ABV (knowing William Faulkner’s history would have cemented that idea). This one is different.
It pours a clear gold/light amber color. The head is a little thin and dissipates pretty quickly, but it still has a nice carbonation to it. On the nose you immediately get a sweet biscuity and peach aroma. There is just a little fruity hop aroma in there as well.
There is little alcohol (5% ABV) to detect. There is also very little hop bitterness to detect under the sourness. Where a lot of beers that use fruit get it wrong is they weigh the beer down with so much fruit that it taste like a Jolly Rancher. In this case, the peach flavor is subtle and becomes most noticeable on the back of the throat. It is a very dry beer that begs you to take another sip which you will not mind because it also a very good refreshing beer for the summer.
Since this beer is named for one of the most famous Mississippians, today’s playlist will be blues musicians from Mississippi (you thought I was going to say Elvis).