CRAFT BEER STORIES – Hatch Panda
Parallel 49 with The Hatch Wines
Gewürz IPA / 5.5 %
For the longest time the worlds of beer and wine have been separated by distances so great it could only be described as “oodles apart”. Those who drink wine either don’t enjoy beer at all or do it for completely different reasons. Generally speaking, wines range from dry to sweet, while beers are fucking bitter or less bitter. Craft beer changed that with fruity variations, sour beers, and citrusy IPA’s. With that change, a portal opened up that showed the world of beer a landscape of grape vines ready to be crushed into must and turned into a brand new creation. Something that would bring both worlds together.
At least that’s the legend of the Gewürz IPA, and I was determined to find out the truth about it. Armed with the reality bending travelling powers of the Super Galactic Space Dragon, I set out on a journey to the parallel universe of Parallel 49. I grabbed a can of Trash Panda to guide me into the right direction when I summoned a portal in front of me. The silver dust particles sprayed all over the carpet, ensuring that I’d never get my damage deposit back if I moved out, as the portal opened up. I took a look at the can, checked my pocket for the tulip glass, and stepped through the galactic gate.
The stream through the portal itself can already tell you a lot of your upcoming destination. This space tunnel was hazy and yellow. The carbonation levels made my blood bubble. It already felt almost like a river of wine. I was on the right track.
When I exited the portal on the other side, I seemed to have stumbled into the ghetto of some big city. The streets were empty and dark, but even in the barely present illumination of the few functioning streetlamps I could detect the piles of garbage lying around. Trash cans seemed to be knocked over at every corner. I decided to follow the trail of garbage cans because I had nothing else to give me a hint. This would either kill me or provide me with all the answers I needed.
After a few minutes, I finally reached the end of the trash can massacre. The last bin was lying on its side with something rummaging through it. I couldn’t remember the last time I updated my tetanus shot, but I kicked the can anyways and waited for the creature to come out and bite my leg. Instead I heard someone curse.
“Son of a bitch, why in the fuck would you do that?”
A racoon climbed out of the garbage bin, jumped on top of it and stared at me with its bright, red eyes.
“A talking, sassy racoon? What is this, a Guardians of the Galaxy fanfic?”
“Oh harr de harr, Captain Comedian over here thinks he’s the first to make that connection”, the racoon did not seem amused. “You know how many goddamn times I have to listen to people tell me how I remind them of movie racoons?”
“I can’t imagine it happens that often.” I gestured towards the empty streets with no soul in sight.
“Well, still. Fuck you. It’s annoying. Anyway, what do you want?”
“I just want some beer, man.”
“Some fucking beer is what he wants. Ever gone to a store? I’m sure they got plenty wherever the hell you’re from. Now beat it, I’m busy.”
He turned around and dug through some trash on the ground.
“Not any beer. I’m looking for a Gewürz IPA.”
The racoon’s ears perked up. For a second, he stopped digging through garbage, then continued but much slower, as if he was trying to appear busy and not too interested in the conversation.
“What’s so special about that?” He asked.
“It’s a unique blend of two entirely different worlds. I just need to know what it would be like.”
“And what would you be willing to do to get your paws on that?”
“Listen, man, you do you, but I’m not into that kinda stuff.”
“What? No! I meant…ah, forget it. You really want to find that special beer of yours? Well, I’m telling you now, you’re too late. It’s all gone.”
“What do you mean it’s all gone?”
“The fuck you think I mean? First time we got a taste of that beer, people here went nuts. Now there’s nothing left. What do you think I’m doing here, rummaging through this shit?”
“I just figured that’s what racoons do, you know?”
The critter turned around and hissed as he pointed one finger at me.
“Watch it, punk. One more racist garbage about my species and I’ll rip off your left foot’s toenails.”
“That’s…so specific, I believe you’re serious. Ok, then. No Gewürz IPA, huh? Bummer, I guess I’ll leave now.”
Disappointed, I opened another portal to lead me back home. Just as I was about to step through it, the racoon tugged at my pant leg.
“Hold up there, buddy, what in the shit’s name is this?”
“It’s how I got here.”
“You can just summon these portals?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty neat. Learned it from a dragon, long story. Though, I’m sure there will be some sort of limitation forced upon me once it’s convenient for storytelling purposes.”
“This looks exactly like it”, the racoon whispered as he stared into the mesmerizing swirl of silver particles.
“Right, so, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna go now.”
“Wait, wait, wait, not so fast, friend. Maybe we can help each other out.”
I closed the portal and sat down on one of the trash cans. The racoon explained how a portal that looked just like the one I created, appeared out of nowhere and let the people of this world to a flourishing field of grapevines. The people came back with a substance they used in their beer, creating the Gewürz IPA. But once the portal closed, the connection to that world was lost. No one could replicate the substance used in the making of this deliciously refreshing beer.
“But if you can find a way to that world, we could both get us some tasty-ass beer.”
“Cool beans, but there’s one tiny problem: if I knew how to pinpoint that world I would have done it already.”
“That’s where I come in, buddy. Here, let me just, one sec.”
The racoon rummaged through some more trash. I didn’t want to interrupt his animalistic instincts and I certainly didn’t want to get cursed out by a garbage squirrel again, so I just waited for him to finish. He eventually brought a tiny piece of brittle egg shell and held it up to me.
“This is it.”
“Right.” I let him place the egg shell into my palm. It was still slimy on the inside. “How exactly is this…it?”
“Trust me, it’s from that world. Now go, open the portal, there’s no need to waste any more time.”
It wasn’t very comfy sitting on that trash can but I still had to force myself up. Despite everything else that ever happened to me on my journeys, this seemed the most unbelievable. That racoon might just be delusional, yet the only way to get him off my back is to prove to him that this yucky piece of shell won’t get us anywhere close to a beautiful field of grapevines. Again, I opened the portal with no problem. This could only mean that there surely will be an issue during a more climactic scene.
With the egg shell in my hand and the racoon on my shoulder, I stepped through the portal. The transportation was almost instant, as if the worlds were actually closer together than anyone imagined. Maybe they were pulled closer together since the first portal that appeared? Well, the lore didn’t matter at this point.
We stood on top of a hill overlooking vast fields of grapevines. Just like the landfill monkey promised. I left the portal open to avoid the inevitable, tension driven plot twist of not being able to summon another portal in time during some sort of hectic pursuit.
“Sweet, I can’t believe that actually worked.”
“Yeah, but you better watch out. There’s some strange people living around here.”
“Stranger than you?”
“Oh wow, you sure are hilarious. Can’t wait to see you shit your pants. Let’s go that way.”
We walked through the fields. I expected the smell of fruit, rain, and sunshine to envelop me, but there was nothing. The vines also seemed not to carry any grapes whatsoever. But I didn’t know shit about wine so maybe that was considered normal.
“Can’t we just pluck any of these vines for the juice we need or is there a specific one you’re looking for?”
“The fuck you want to juice the vines for? We making grass smoothies or beer?”
“I just figured we’d use grape must to achieve the-“
“Shut the fuck up! There it is!”
The racoon pointed at a man standing several feet ahead of us. Perhaps “man” was a bit presumptuous. This…thing…had the body of a wiry human, dressed in 1800’s gentleman clothing. Yet instead of a neck it had a giant bird nest; and instead of a head a huge egg floating above the nest.
“Greetings, travelers”, it spoke. The egg vibrated with each word. “I welcome you to the world of the Hatch.”
“Alright, that was unexpected.”
“What is it that I can help you w-“
Before the egg gentleman finished his sentence, the racoon lunged at him. The egg man fell backwards. I heard a deafening crack. After a few seconds of being stunned by what just happened, I approached the twitching body of Sir Humpty Dumpty. His head was cracked open, with a yellow fluid leaking onto the ground.
“Stop staring and get a cup or something”, said the racoon while he licked the egg fluid.
“Never mind what I said before. THAT was fucking unexpected.”
I pulled out my tulip glass and filled a third of it with the eggy fluid. Then I reached for the can of beer I brought to reach the previous world, cracked it open, and let the fizzy liquid mingle with egg man juice.
Behind us on the hill, an army of racoons entered the Hatch world through the portal that I left open. While I drank my delicious beer, masses of vermin scurried through the vines in search of more egg gentlemen. I heard sudden outcries, cracking egg shells, and the slurping sounds of the successful rat bandits.
“Damn”, I said as I took another sip. “I hope they’ll leave some more for me.”
Rating: One Groot out of ten