Late Summer 1987, and I am backpacking around Europe with Pete S. We had Eurail passes and we were not going to let them burn holes in our pockets, so we were rolling arond Western Europe like Patton racing towards Germany.
Our trip took us to Copenhagen. I pulled out my dog eared copy of “Let’s Go:Europe” and start reading about Copenhagen. Per the advice of Let’s Go, we saw the statue if the Little Mermaid. I dutifully took a picture of it, but that was a total waste of time. We decided to go to the Tuborg Brewery for a tour of the works, and then the free beer samples at the end.
On the way to the brewery, we passed a small sandwich shop. Let’s Go had advised trying these open faced fish sandwiches that Denmark was famous for, and the window of this shop was filled with them. Pete and I popped in and each grabbed a sandwich. As we sat down, I noticed that the mayonnaise on my sandwich looked just a touch off, just a wee bit nasty, just a tiny bit rancid, but as you all know, I am an idiot, so I just wolfed the thing down. Pete, to his credit, looked at the sandwich, and asked, “Are you sure about this?” Having already finished my sandwich, I said “it’s fine.” Pete took a few bites, thought better of it, and dumped the sandwich.
Off we went to the brewery. The brewery is part of a massive industrial complex, and as we made our way through the concrete maze to the tour starting point, I felt the first rumblings in my stomach. Nothing too serious, just a little somersault, but I made a mental note to hit the first restroom I came upon.
Our tour guide was an elderly gentleman, and he was impressed with his knowledge of beer and brewing and the role of the Danes in promoting beer around the world. He promised us free beer at the end of the tour, and free snacks as well. He also told us that restrooms were available at the end of the tour, but not before. I thought that was less than ideal, but I was not in a panic mode at this point. I just had a little rumbling in my tummy, and would be able to hold of until the end of the tour. After all, how long could the tour possibly last?
The next 45 minutes was the longest week of my life. First came the sweats, alternating between hot and cold. Next came the shakes, my body quaking with each step. It got so bad that a woman standing next to me asked if I was ok. I said yes, but I was lying. All this time, our tour guide, let’s call him Dagmar, was droning on about bringing the wort to a boil, and adding the yeast, and the pride Tuborg took in their hygiene standards, and I am thinking “Dagmar my man, you’re going to close this place down for a month to get back to your hygiene standards unless you wind this up and get me to a bathroom.”
The tour finally ended, and I sprint to the tasting room, swinging my head wildly trying to find what for me the holiest of holies, a restroom. I see it, and of course it is at the far end of the room, and of course someone else is making a beeline for it. I gallop towards the door, knocking the other guy out of the way, and can barely hear Pete yelling out “Hey, do you want me to grab you a beer?”
I am in the stall, the door is locked, and the race is on to drop my drawers before I ruin them. I won that race, but just barely, and it was a damn close thing. Things came out of me that had not seen the light of day for years. There was at least one, and probably two, and quite possibly three, mercy flushes before the whole event was over. My shirt was soaked through with sweat, but it was over. I cleaned myself up as best as I could, and headed out to find Pete and grab a beer. I couldn’t get a beer, because they turned the taps off after dispensing a round, and Pete was not to be found. The tour guides were moving us out to let the next tour in, and still no sign of Pete. I waited outside and he came out after about ten minutes, saying “man, I just took the worst crap of my life…”
Jester King-Mikkeller Drink’n in the Sunbelt: I am huge fan of Jester King, and while no one can keep up with Mikkeller’s prodigious output, I have usually enjoyed their beers, so I was happy that my brother-in-law stumbled upon a bottle of their collaboration, Drink’n in the Sunbelt, a few weeks ago. I do not know if Mikkeller travelled to Austin or Jester King travelled to Copenhagen (and there is the connection to my crap story above), but I am glad that they did. Too hoppy to be a wheat beer, too ‘wheaty’ to be an ale, this is another unclassifiable beer like Ithaca’s Excelsior Thirteenth Anniversary Ale, and while not quite as good as that bottle of divine awesomeness, it is a fine drink nonetheless, with some nice tropical fruit flavors, a slight herbal bitterness, and a dry finish. Good stuff, 7/10.