Recently, I found myself sitting in a car on Friday afternoon, at the border of the United States and Canada, anxiously awaiting a weekend of delicious Seattle hop-bombs on the way back from suffering through nine days of weak Canadian swill.* I thought I had nothing to fear. I thought my suffering was over. I thought wrong. When my passport was scanned, a warrant popped up for my arrest for a crime I did not commit, in a Missouri county I have never been, on a date when I wasn’t even on this continent. I wasn’t going anywhere.

I spent the next 44 hours in a Washington county jail, waiting for the authorities to take a few minutes off from their busy weekends to review my case and realize that I was being held on utter nonsense. In the meantime, I was locked up with between four and nine other women, mostly junkies and meth heads. This was no music video jail. There were no pillow fights—we didn’t have pillows. The only women walking around in a state of undress were the junkies going through withdrawal who had the sweated through their jail-issued greens. At one point, I was trying to sleep and one of the aforementioned junkies tickled my feet, because if she couldn’t sleep, no one could.

When Missouri dropped the warrant and I was released on Sunday afternoon, I discovered it would take another three hours before anyone could pick me up. I did what any self-respecting Alehead with a dead phone and in a strange land who had just spent two days in the can would: I followed my nose to beer. As luck would have it, I soon found myself at the Chuckanut Brewery, pounding through a bowl of locally-fished clams steamed in beer and garlic and a pint of British IPA. A tasting note follows:

Notes: poured into a glass that was not made of brown rubber. No one was heard sobbing in the background about how they were going to prison for a long time, this time.

ABV: 5.5% Merciful on a stomach that had spent two days trying to digest jail food

Appearance: The rich golden glow of freedom with a finger of foam the color of clouds over a peaceful sea

Aroma: Citrus with a rapidly fading bitter note of resentment and anxiety

Taste: Refreshing citrus with a clean finish, like a cool ocean breeze after being locked up in a cinderblock room with no windows for two days

Mouthfeel: Like angels skipping en pointe across my tongue

Drinkability: Oh, yes


Maybe I was biased slightly by the situation, but if you ever find yourself in Bellingham, pay them a visit, sit at the bar, and reflect for a moment on how awesome it is not to have to defend your dessert from the bossy skank the next cot over.

*I hyperbolize. Hop Circle by Phillips was quite a welcome palate wrecker.


        1. Never had the opportunity, Hoppa. They counted the spoons very carefully after meals, and it’s hard to sharpen a toothbrush that’s only two inches long.

      1. I’m glad this had nothing to do with that orphanage you burned to the ground (after chaining the doors shut).

        Look, if having access to high-quality craft beer means occasionally spending a few evenings in prison for a clerical mix-up, then I say that’s the sacrifice all Americans must make.

  1. Let me see if I got this correct . You are from U.S. Returning to the U.S? & you were detained in the U.S.? ( same thing happen to me but no warrent ) after telling them I didn’t really want to return to the U.S. because of too many jerks like you . They let me go. ( pre 9/11 ) sorry about your luck that would suck. This is what happens in the land of the fee ; )

  2. Sorry to hear you guys keep having a crappy time with Canadian beers. I still think that the beers in BC are a kind of extension of what’s happening in Washington and Oregon and, for the most part, tear the shit of anything from areas not called the Pacific Northwest.

    Next time you are in BC, make an effort to try:
    – Lighthouse’s Switchback IPA
    – Lighthouse’s Tasman Ale
    – Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA
    – Driftwood’s Belle Royal
    – Storm’s Hurricane IPA
    – Hoyne’s Pilsner
    – Moon Under Water’s Bitter
    – Red Racer’s IPA
    – Crannog’s Back Hand of God Stout
    – Whatever the daily cask is at Spinnakers in Victoria

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