Craft Beer Stories – Rainbows & Unicorns

Rainbows & Unicorns

Breakside Brewery

Portland, Oregon

IPA, ??? %

“I don’t know if I can do it again”, I said, holding a full bottle of beer in one hand and an empty tulip glass in the other.

“You chose this. Now that you started, there’s no turning back.”

Aisha pressed my arms closer to my chest. The cold beer nearly froze my heart.

“I know that I wanted to combine the niches of travel and craft beer blogging into one with the power of writing. But these beers send me to strange places. Each time I feel less in control. Each time I risk to get yelled at by Gordon Ramsay. I don’t know if I can take another hit.”

Then it hit me. What if I skipped a trip to the craft beer world, without compromising my material, by letting someone else go?

“Aisha, you don’t like IPA’s, right?”

“If they’re too hoppy, I can’t stand them”, she replied calmly but then it dawned on her. “No. You don’t want-“

“How about you try this one.”

“I don’t think I can do that.”

“You like colours, right? This one is called Rainbows…”

“I really shouldn’t-“

“…and Unicorns.”

“Pour it!”

I cracked the lid off the bottle and filled the tulip, making sure Aisha didn’t see the label. Rainbows and Unicorns sound magical and colourful, but this art design on the bottle looked more like the portrait of a mad taxidermist.

The soft smell of citrus enveloped the tulip as the bubbles swirled in the glass and delivered the smooth scent. Aisha slurped while drinking it, showing off her professional side.

“Actually”, she began, immediately emphasizing that she expected the opposite of what she was about to proclaim, “it’s really good.”

“That’s nice, but what do you see?”

“I see you standing in front of me, asking stupid questions.”

“No, Aisha, close your eyes. Take a sip. Where does the beer take you?”

She took another sip, slurped and smacked her lips, followed by a surprisingly big gulp. Then her eyes shot open. Her pupils were gone. Waves of colours washed over the canvasses that had been her eyeballs. Blue, purple, red, orange, yellow; it kept changing every second.

“What do you see?” I asked again.

“I see a vine”, she said with her rainbow eyes wide open. “A vine of hops, and it looks rough and scratchy. I walk closer, I want to touch it. The hops are smooth, I didn’t expect that. Light and smooth. But there are other things hidden in the vines, faintly shining behind leaves. I’m trying to find them, trying to follow the beacon they send out for me. I reach deep into the vine and find fruit.”

“What kind of fruit?”

“Fruity”, she ignored me. “At first there’s fruit everywhere, but then you look closer and the fruits transform into hops. My mouth turns bitter and numb, but not in a harsh way. A very subtle way. I see colours. So nice.”

“What kind of colours?”

“Yeorange.” She actually said that.


“It’s not very strong. The alcohol, it doesn’t attack you, doesn’t jump at you and force hops down your throat. It’s just there, behind you, with one hand on your shoulder, watching you consume its fruits.”

“Oh, right, I wonder, what is the actual alcohol percentage on this one?”

I looked at the bottle and turned it in all kinds of directions but there was no alcohol by volume to be found. I got the name of the brewery and the warning about drinking while pregnant and other fun activities, but nothing that would tell you whether you’re about to drink a 9 % monster or a 3 % hamster. How was I supposed to know that it even had alcohol in it? Without it, the warning not to drink this while pregnant just comes across as misogynistic.

“This has to be a mistake”, I said out loud although I knew Aisha wasn’t listening at this point of her journey. “I get that in some states they don’t need to print the percentage on it, but you’d think when they export it into Canada they should abide by our laws.”

I kept searching for it, hoping it was hidden inside the terrifying artwork, but the print was nowhere on the label.

“Unless it’s a trap set by the unicorn wizard on the label”, I said laughing.

When I looked up, I saw Aisha stand in a T-pose as if she was trying to recreate a meme that was irrelevant decades before these words even hit the page. Her eyes were still wide and colourful. The tulip, half-full with beer, stood perfectly still suspended in mid-air.

“The vines have consumed me”, Aisha said in a demonically deep voice. “I will become the next fruit.”

“That sounds like something I already did in a different format. This whole thing is getting too Meta, I think we should stop.”

“Taste the rainbow. Unleash the unicorns. Taste it! It is godly delicious!”

I shrugged. Who am I to deny a lady’s request? Possessed by dark wizard unicorn business man or not, this could be a good IPA if even Aisha liked it. I reached for the tulip and picked it up from the middle of nothing it was floating on.

“Taste it!” She demanded in a hoarse voice.

I took a generous sip, let the beer float side to side in my mouth, and swallowed the brew.

“It’s kinda flat.”


Rating: A painted donkey in an Egyptian zoo out of 10





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