RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, November 11

James River Pale Ale

AFFORDABILITY: So I went into the new swank and gaudy Whole Foods in congested Short Pump, Virginia, in Richmond's far west end, looking for some Harpoon Winter Warmer for the wife, and they had a lot of stupid fauntleroy beers, so I stood around looking like a goof in oil-stained housepainter clothes for about fifteen minutes. I eventually picked up this brew because it's a big double deuce bottle I can use for homebrewing, and it's named after the James River, where I have often dipped my shitty body over the years. When I went to check out, the girl ringing it up, a late 20s/early 30s light-skinned black chick, was all extra-friendly, because I got it like that. This one didn't have a bar code, so she was looking at it, and I said, "It said $2.99 over there." And she said, "Well, it don't say it over here. It doesn't have a bar code, so it's on the house," and she put it in the bag. I tried, "Did I tell you I meant to get four of those?" just to gauge her reaction. She laughed a haha, that's funny but probably not laugh, so I didn't push the issue. But still, the motherfucker came home free. 6 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: I only got one, and to be honest, the cap was barely on the fucker, so it wasn't really carbonated too well, tasting kinda flat. It had a little kick to it though, but it was also a pale ale, which always tastes like the smell of dirty socks from a Grateful Dead show in 1989 smell after doing acid for three days straight to me. Normally, that might seem bad, but being I am mired in the realm of responsibility and financial struggle as I grow greyer with weaker bones and more spasmodic muscles, I have romantic memories of doing acid half the week while wandering the fuck away from the home base without concern for the future. 4 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Being it is a microbrew double deuce, it is a big booming brown bottle with ample space for a label, which is a very standard and crudely printed one with bland colors. But the center picture is the Lee Bridge over the James in Richmond, and looks to be an old one, before the foot bridge over to Belle Isle was built. It brings back wonderful memories of being a young and stupid adult in Richmond. My first kid was born like five blocks from that bridge, at a house we rented from a bitch ass lady. One time, with some friends, we went down there and I showed them how to get up on the cat walk (which was a steel grate you could see through) underneath that bridge way over the river, and those three dudes were pretty nervous, and I was naked except for some overalls and kung fu slippers, and of course I ran ahead full speed, even though there were pipes that ran across that you might knock yourself out on if you weren't careful, not to mention the whole plummet to your probable death thing below, and tucked into one of the accesses to underneath the roadway where homeless dudes slept as minor league mole people, waited for my nervous friends to pass by and get ahead on the catwalk a little, then I came storming out with a deep authoritarian voice, "HEY! YOU BOYS! FREEZE!" stomping real loudly behind them. Man, that was good times back then. 8 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Blue & Gray Brewing Company, out of Fredericksburg, Virginia. I like the idea of a little microbrew company doing this, but Fredericksburg? The James River isn't even close to up there. Plus, I'm of the stubborn southside Virginia belief that everything north of Richmond (including Charlottesville, and points north as well) is just the fake south where yankees who like to pretend to be southerner have moved to get away from cold weather and stupid Italians. So I am distrustful of this Blue & Gray Brewing Company. 3 out of 5 though.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: Obviously, from my review thus far, it has filled me with nostalgiac memories. I drank part of this out back under the bright almost full moonlight, listening to many penned up hunting dogs howling at rutting deer in the woods. My old farmhouse was warm from the wood stove, smoke billowing out the chimney up into the shadows of the big oak tree perched precariously over the front yard, and everything was fucking good. I wish I had gotten 17 of these for free, and I'd sit out there all night long in my t-shirt, lifting weights between beers, and enjoying every fucking breath of oxygen I was sucking in. 5 out of 5.

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