Beer School 3: The Fly in the Ointment

LAST TIME ON BEER SCHOOL: We took a quick snapshot of the state of beer in America, and it’s quite a vista to behold:

Man Drinking Beer in a Deck Chair in England

Man Drinking Beer in a Deck Chair in England

However, deep within the fertile soil of the new renaissance there writhes already a turning worm…

Picture this:

In lieu of the idyllic, stable upbringing I’m sure you all enjoyed, you pampered lapdogs, pretend that you were raised instead by a stern, joyless great aunt, who ascribed to the John Harvey Kellogg school of childhood nutrition. For every meal she would prepare, and insist you eat, a homogeneous vegetarian mash that she called ‘rootmarm’.

Now, there was nothing wrong with rootmarm. It contained all the whole grains, vitamins, oat proteins, fiber and carbohydrates a growing what-have-you needs, and indeed you grew strong and sturdy. But every day, at every meal, there was the same steaming trough of mottled rootmarm. Gradually, within you The Madness grew.

Then one day she accidentally spilled a thimbleful of salt into the mix. Your head swam, your taste buds sang, and angels formed from mist about the room. Life, redolent with fertility and beckoning experience, unfurled before your dilated eyes and you escaped into the great unknown, kicking your great aunt deep between the buttocks on your way out.

When they finally found you, mere weeks later, you were squatting in a dilapidated flophouse surrounded by your own filth, chewing a massive chaw of pickled ginger and you had sold your kidneys for a sack of tarragon.


That, my friends, is the worm that turns. That is the fly in the ointment. For too long we were starved of flavor, starved of passion in our beer, and already, so quickly now that the spirit is back, we have begun to lose control.

It is a disturbing yet undeniable fact that a great many of the new brewers are out to be nothing but different, nothing but iconoclastic. They hop their beers and hop their beers until it burns through bulkheads like when you bag one of Ripley’s badguys, and they mistreat ale conditioning until the flavors push you around like the Hell’s Angels doing concert security.

For anyone who didn’t get that first reference, James Cameron has made much better movies about Marines than ‘Avatar’. Look into it.


We must not forget, here in the midst of an American beer revolution, that most revolutions fail after they succeed because they merely go against something, and have little better to replace it with.

NEXT TIME ON BEER SCHOOL: I’m not sure yet. Probably something about beer, but you never know. Life can be weird that way.

Want more informative comedy from Brian? Try his Space Marines! and Dirtbag, both available here from Smashwords. Or Check out his articles about the Marine Corps at

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About Brian

Brian is a retired drill-press operator who lives voluntarily off the grid in a cabin in Montana. He has apparently been sending fake letters to businesses and prominent citizens for decades, as a hobby. We became aware of him when he sent us an envelope filled with white powder and some uncooked alphabet soup letters that spelled ‘ANTHRAX”. We spent over $100,000 sanitizing our offices and testing the staff before labs identified the substance as baking soda. We thought it was hilarious and asked him if we could publish his outgoing mail.