Nigh on 20 years ago, in the middle of our honeymoon, I spotted the blonde.
As Amy and I enjoyed an evening of suds and song in an Irish pub, I noticed signs advertising a new offering, Guinness Breo. It was being test-marketed in a selection of Dublin taverns, a “white beer” that promised a novel twist on the traditional Guinness stout.
I tried a glass (or two… or three…) and truly enjoyed it. I remember that it had more flavor than typical US or Canadian beers at the time, but wasn’t so overpowering that you felt like picking hops and barley out of your teeth after finishing a glass. It certainly went well with the guitar player singing John Denver tunes in a thick Irish accent (“country roads… take me home… to the place… where I belong…”).
The pints even came in commemorative glasses with the Breo logo on them, which a local patron helped us smuggle out of the pub. Amazingly, it survived the trip back to the States and still sits in my cupboard today.
Breo turned out to be a flop, however, disappearing from the market and never making it over to America like my glass did. Over the years I forgot about that beer, and the glass sat unused, tucked away in the back of a kitchen cabinet.
A Flame Rekindled
This week we enjoyed a vacation home in Sarasota, Florida, and upon arriving we headed out to load up on drinks, snacks, breakfast items, etc. As I cruised through the grocery store, a six-pack of Guinness Blonde caught my eye. Sure enough, I swept it up and brought it home.
As I enjoyed a couple Blondes that evening, Amy and I shared the tale of that night in Dublin with our fellow vacationers. The sights, the sounds, the atmosphere of that night all came back in vivid detail.
Hardcore beer drinkers may look down their nose at just about anything produced by a mega-brewery, and I can’t say that there’s anything particularly distinctive about Guinness Blonde’s taste – these days the beer market is flooded with quality offerings. But that really didn’t matter all that much. As soon as I saw that package it brought me back to those great memories of a special trip in a special place with a special person long, long ago.
And that’s surely worth the price of a six-pack.