Dan and Ari were both watching as I revealed the bottle from the refrigerator, struggling a little with its weight. The three-gallon jug was nearly full of dark brown liquid, sloshing back and forth with a bit of foam cresting the tops of those waves. The liquid inside was dark, murky, the brown of bloodsoaked mud.
It didn’t look especially appetizing, I had to admit…
Staring at the big jug, Dan lifted his silver can of beer up to his lips and chugged the rest. “Dude, arr you sure you mmrade this stuff right?” he slurred, his breath probably high enough proof to be flammable. “I mean, it kinda looks like ah beer…”
“Yeah, if you close your eyes,” Ari cackled. He was the designated driver, and thus his wits were somewhat sharper than his sloshed companion. There was a reason why I’d waited to reveal this until fairly late into the evening, after all.
I shook my head at them as I fumbled in the cupboard for a couple of cups. “Look, I might have taken a couple liberties with the approach, but I’m sure it can’t be that bad,” I protested. “I mean, people have been making beer for thousands of years! How hard can it be?”
The cups were out, and I carefully poured a couple fingers of beer into each. The liquid swirled into infinity, dark and mysterious.
The three of us gathered around and stared into it.
“Tryy it,” Dan whispered, waving an elbow vaguely in Ari’s direction.
“Heck no,” his friend returned, not taking his eyes off of the dark miasma. “You’re the drunk one, you’ll taste it less.”
I waited, trying to seem as innocuous as possible. I mean, sure I brewed it, but that didn’t mean that I necessarily wanted to try it!
And to tell the truth, I wasn’t really sure about this batch. I’d tried my hand at brewing a couple times before, strictly following the recipes that came with the yeast, and it had turned out decently acceptable. But this time, I’d decided to experiment, take some liberties, just tossing things in.
I had been expecting something nice and full-bodied, with a taste of coffee. I hadn’t been expecting the blackness and consistency of motor oil.
Finally, all eyes on him, Dan picked up the cup and took a gulp of air. “Screw youse, I’s not afraid,” he announced, and took a sip of the oily liquid.
When he lowered the glass, he looked as though he’d just taken a big bite of lemon. His whole face puckered up. “Wow, that stuff is bitter!” he exclaimed, lowering the still half-full cup. “My god, man, that stuff is strong! Tastes like the most concentrated coffee I’ve ever had!”
Dan shook his head back and forth, but Ari glanced over at him. “Hey, what happened to your voice?” he asked.
“My voice?” Dan repeated. “What, is something wrong with it?”
To be continued on Friday!