“I don’t know what Angelo’s referring to there, exactly,” Alex Ganum of Upright Brewing revealed to me while I was making up all this in my head. “So maybe I roughed him up a couple times, I dunno, whatever. Bitches get out of line sometimes, you know? But whatever, the real story is what I’m giving up to that tumor-headed hack. I wanted to help him out this year, get him back on his feet, because if he doesn’t pay off his bills, those doctors will hunt him down and turn that tumor cancerous. They have the technology, you know.
“And if Angelo croaks, that safe deposit box opens and he’s got a notepad inside and it names names, man. It tells where all the bodies are buried. And that in and of itself wouldn’t be that bad, but if you dig up the bodies, you’re going to ruin that farmland for growing barley and hops, and that would be truly tragic. So this beer I’ve been saving for my third born’s marriage to a Russian supermodel, I’m letting it go, I’m passing it along to Angelo to tap at Bailey’s Taproom this Saturday.
“All modesty aside, this beer is better than sex with your unattainable high school crush. It will extend your life by ten to fifteen years and erase wrinkles from your face. You remember how the water from the Holy Grail dissolves the bullet hole in Sean Connery’s chest? It’s like that, only better. It’s called Jeux d’eau. I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds like a Frenchman having an orgasm inside a horse’s anus.”
I had hoped to press Ganum for more details regarding De Ieso’s potential mistreatment at his hands, but my boss urged me to stop fabricating interviews with Portland’s best brewers and just wrap this damn thing up as quickly as possible, post it, and pray that no one would accidentally read it. So I went back to my computer, compiled my notes, and mulled over everything I’d learned.
I had to hand it De Ieso. The guy has been through the wringer, but through it all, he’s managed to maintain his sense of humor and optimism. The way that the entire beer industry community has stepped up to help him has been just as admirable, and it’s clearly a testament to just how ridiculously likeable this guy is. I’m sure that were I in his ale-soaked shoes, I would be a wreck: a humorless shell filled only with cynical fear and depression, consumed with fatalistic thoughts of death and debt. But Angelo’s response? Humor and hope. That’s wild, man.
Hopefully, I’ve provided him a couple more chuckles while the rest of you looked on horrified and offended.
And in that spirit, here’s one last quote from Gigantic brewer Ben Love, using only the words I supplied him:
“When we heard what had happened to Angelo, we wanted to help,” Ben said, “and the best way we could think to do that was to make the most kick ass beer imaginable and get people to show up at Bailey’s and drink the hell out of it to raise some money for this guy that we really care about and want to see make it through this lousy situation.
“Charity makes people uneasy. They always feel like someone’s trying to get something out of them, like they’re about to get scammed. So we wanted to make this easy. This isn’t charity. This is: come down and drink amazing beer from guys like us, and Upright, and Fort George, and Cascade, and so many other great breweries, and just know that simply by being there, having a good time with your friends and drinking amazing brew for a great price, you’re also helping out a fellow human being who has had this awful thing happen to him.
“I think I speak for just about every one of my fellow brewers when I say we think of Angelo not only as a great ambassador for microbrew and the beer culture, but personally to us, a friend and a brother. Well that, and the prettiest mouth this side of the Cascades.”