I know what you’re going to say. “Angelo? Stone cold gangster? Absurd! Angelo’s probably the nicest guy in the entire craft beer industry. Have you ever heard that laconic drawl of his? Adorable! The way he pronounces “bruuthaa” and “homey” in the absolute whitest way possible? Ridiculous! And even when he’s giving you shit about something, he’ll bookend it with, ‘naah, bro, I’m just messin’ with ya!’ Charming! And then he’ll blind you with one of those big old goofy grins of his as he tries to simultaneously hug you and give you a playful noogie.”
To which I reply, I know. It seems insane, impossible, incomprehensible. But the imaginary evidence is piled up here on my entirely real desk, and it’s damning. I spoke with the craft beer Illuminati themselves, pushed and prodded until I got the answer I expected, and then I completely changed what they said, put words in their mouths, and forgot what those words were. But I wrote it all down here so that you can see I’m being completely truthful about this whole lie. They’ve confessed their crimes with pleas for forgiveness and understanding, and I’ve changed their names to protect their innocence, but more importantly to avoid being sued for libel.
“You have to understand, Angelo isn’t really anything like his public persona,” Upright Brewer ‘Ali G’ revealed to me. “He’s a bully. A monster. And the demands he makes… they don’t even make any sense. Originally, our plan was to name all of our beers after numbers. We were going all the way up to 17. I had such great plans for 11. 11 was going to be my masterpiece. It’s a prime number, so I really wanted to get it right.
“Anyway, Angelo breaks into the brewery and starts screaming at me. He tells me that he doesn’t like to count past the number 7. I tell him that doesn’t make any sense and he threatens to go back in time before my parents met each other, marry my mom, have two kids with her and then leave her 100 miles from civilization. That seemed really improbable to me, but the way he was saying it, he kind of convinced me that maybe he could actually do something like that. Like, maybe he’s got that power. I figured it wasn’t worth the risk.”
Breakside Brewer ‘Benjy Eggmoney’ agrees. “Angelo once came to me and said ‘Bro, you’ve gotta put asparagus in your next beer. It’s gonna be dope!’ I told him he was out of his mind. There was no way I was putting fucking asparagus in a beer. That’s ridiculous. And this is coming from a guy who’s brewed with beets, chestnuts and elderberries! Shit, I don’t even know what elderberries are! Anyway, I told him no. I said, forget it.
“The next day, I wake up in bed and it’s like that scene from The Godfather, only instead of a horse head laying next to me, it’s the whole top of my mash tun. I still can’t figure out how he got it through the bedroom door!”
“Angelo may look like a harmless vegan hippie, but man, he’s wiry and has the sharpest elbows I’ve ever seen,” reveals Rogue President ‘Brettanomyces Juice’. “I thought Ezra was a rough character, but that guy’s a puppy compared to Angelo.
“One day, Angelo rolls up to my office and says he wants to talk about raising the prices at Rogue, and I’m like, ‘Hey, no way. Our ingredients are expensive, sure, but we’ve got a healthy mark-up that the Profit Division of the Board of Directors has already approved through the Fall Quarter!’
“Then he says we should discuss it over a Boston Handshake, so I go in for the shake, not knowing what a Boston Handshake is, but certainly not thinking anything is the matter, right? And the next thing I know I’m eating out of a straw for two months. Seriously, if you ever get cornered in a dark alley by someone and he tells you it’s either a Cleveland Steamer or a Boston Handshake, you take the Cleveland and you thank him when it’s over.”
“He’s a lunatic,” agrees ‘Matty Van Winkle’ of Oakshire (“ oʊk-sheer”) Brewing. “I tried to reason with him once and he started voraciously humping my fermenter and screaming like a squirrel getting its nut off. Just awful, high-pitched bawling, babbling incoherently. I thought nothing of it, until I started hearing reports that Hellshire II was infected. Coincidence? I think not.”
For the heartbreaking conclusion to this epic yarn, click below for PART THREE!