Please, Don’t Make Me Eat Grandma

by Jim Lundstrom

Once again I have faced down the awful reality of another early deadline due to a holiday (Thanksgiving, in this case), meaning that we had to send this week’s edition to the printer two days and two hours before the normal 5 pm Wednesday deadline.
It puts a strain on everyone to pull everything together in such a short time, and every time we have to do it I worry that we won’t be able to pull it off this time, and I lose sleep about it, turning up for that early deadline day dead tired but determined to make it happen once again.

The newsroom is abnormally quiet on such a day, everyone focused on cranking out whatever they have to do – turning white space into a newspaper. I’m focused on that as well, but at the same time I’m thinking about what I’m going to do when I finally get home in the evening. That dialogue is taking place in a corner while the rest of the brain is working on getting the newspaper out.

Not long into the day, that little corner of my brain set its mind on what I would make for dinner – a smashed bacon cheeseburger with my new smashed burger-making tool. 

OK, next for that little corner of the brain, what will I drink with the smashed bacon cheeseburger?

A variety of fruit-forward beers flashed in my mind, beginning with New Glarus Raspberry Tart, followed by Lindeman’s Kriek and Founder’s Rubeaus. Red wine even floated in there for a minute.
But then all of that was crushed by the press of deadline and I just hunkered down and cranked stuff out until the final pages were sent to the printer.
Finally, the day ends and I head for the market. Picking up dinner stuff was easy, but then I turned my attention to the accompanying beverage. Lotsa big, barrel-aged beers that would be entirely appropriate on what turned out to be a full day of unexpected snowfall, but I still had fruit on the brainpan.

Nothing was lighting the old synapses as I perused the beer aisles until a flash of red caught my eye on a bomber bottle of Rogue. The red is Santa, riding a barrel down a snowy hill. The beer is called Santa’s Private Reserve Ale, from Rogue Ales, and it’s a Belgian-style dark ale brewed with tangerines and boysenberries.

They had me at boysenberries.
After I set the bacon to slow cook in the oven, I cracked the bomber bottle open and dove in. Tangerine on the front end, boysenberry on the back end. I’m not really familiar with the boysenberry, but I am going to guess that it has a flavor much like a blackberry. At least, that is the pleasant back end flavor I’m getting.

This really is just what I was looking for. There is a nice, malty beer under the forward fruitiness. It weighs in at 7.9 percent.
On the label, Rogue offers three food pairings for this beer, none of which are smashed bacon cheeseburgers with spinach salad and crisped garlic.
Their first suggestion was goat cheese. Second was roast duck. But number three, I could not decipher because a portion of the famous Rogue silk-screen label had rubbed off and all that remained was “Grandm” – I hope it wasn’t Grandma. That doesn’t sound like a good pairing to me.