In the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
In the spring, a young woman's fancy lightly turns to thirsts for beer.
Tennyson might not have penned it, but the fact remains. At least for this young woman it does. (Frankly, I prefer "chick" or "girl" or if you want to be really Jerry Lewis about it, "Laayayayayayadeeeeee," because "young lady" sounds like my mom caught me out after curfew.)
The first warm waft we got that the world was turning mud-licious and puddle-lovely -- which came last month right before that blast of cold had us turning the heaters back on. You know, for the cats. -- I had this odd quirking in my mouth. My tongue felt dry and edgy and my throat was clicking in a greed for something cold, bright, topaz. Something fat. Something tire.
Whizzing by our neighborhood BevMo, we picked up a handy case of New Belgium's Fat Tire and chilled it. A few hours later and, for the first time in many months, I lovingly coaxed that smooth, cylinder out of the fridge and held it close and throttled, enjoying its cold weight.
With a crink! and a spliff!, I let loose my amber beauty and slid it into a gently curving glass. Nose to mouth, nose to soul, heart to lips, I breathed it deep. Yeast and sharp and quench and tang.
Cheese. Cheese? We interrupt this Harlequin Romance: She Bore All for Beer to bring you this breaking announcement: Cheese. Seriously, I started to quaff this amazing beer that brings the full, teaming rush of summertime to my mouth and all I could think of was, "I SMELL cheese! What IS this CHEESE?!" The beer didn't pass my parched, cracked, lusting lips. The beer didn't slide down my willing, hungering throat. I sniffed it. I smelled it. I damn near SNORTED it!
Finally, it came to me: Ardrahan! Gubbeen! St. Nectaire! Durrus! One of those cheeses was the soul mate -- the Ilsa to its Rick, the Rhett to its Scarlett, the Pacey to its Joey -- to this beer. My friends, it was clear that I couldn't revel in my spring fancy until I requited this pairing.
After testing each and every one of the pungent cheeses above, it became abundantly clear to me that Fat Tire was a slut. It had no "perfect mate," no desire to be monogamous, no real loyalty. It slopped as well with Ardrahan as it did with Durrus. And Gubbeen. And St. Nectaire. It was a bi-cheesal beer.
The tart, yeast-bosomed cheeses brought out all that was giving and sensitive in this simple beer. None of them were favored above another, but all of them were deeply loved.