NR Digital

A Better Brew

by Matthew Walther

From, and to, the beers of our fathers

Philip Larkin once wrote, only half-jokingly, that “it was that verse about becoming again as a little child that caused the first sharp waning of my Christian sympathies.” And it was, I like to think, the bit from the third chapter of Genesis where the Almighty tells our first parents that from now on they will be earning their bread with the sweat of their brows that turned me off “craft” beer and so-called microbrews.

Beer, like reading, is one of those things that many of us become attached to in childhood. I come from a proud line of non–craft-beer drinkers on both sides. My father and uncles and their cousins drink Budweiser like water. It was my paternal grandfather, the first adult in whose presence I ever used tobacco, who taught me to call the old-fashioned snub-nosed bottles of Coors “yellow bellies.” Even in her old age, my great-grandmother — Justice Jackson’s secretary at Nuremberg, a lifelong hater of cats, and the only Republican with whom I share DNA — liked to take the edge off with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon poured into a glass.

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