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A beer

What difference does a beer make in one’s life?

Allow me to relate a story centered around the sharing of a beer.

For quite sometime, my neighbor and I have always ended our conversations by saying we need to share a beer together. But, life kept getting in the way and that sharing didn’t happen. However, it hung in front of us — constantly.

Why would I want to share a beer with my neighbor? Because of what he and his wife have meant to me and my family. They (Now known at T&K) have served as music educators for many years, and our children had the honor of being their students. Because of this relationship, our kids continue to play, sing and enjoy music to this day.

T & K are special to us — personally and professionally. We have shared many moments but have never felt we had to do something with them. We understood them and they understood us — let’s be good to each other and life will be good.

Then, it became time to share a beer. It’s funny (or sad) that a finality has to finally bring something to fruition but that’s what happened with us. Because our time together was getting short, we scheduled a time to sit and sip.

They were going to provide the needed liquid refreshment and I wondered what type of beer would appear before me. There’s been a lot of talk about Pilsner beer lately and I must admit that I enjoy a good Pils. Is that what they had in store for me?

As mentioned, there’s been a rebirth of the Pilsner — a naturally fermented and nicely balanced tasting Old World beer. Pilsners have a long and interesting history and it’s worth knowing a bit about them.

Depending on whom you talk to, beer making dates over 9,000 years ago but Pilsner began appearing in the mid 19th century in what used to be called Bohemia but is now the Czech Republic. It took a little time to learn how to make a good golden lager because it takes time to make it. The beer is bottom fermented rather than top fermented and that causes the yeast to very slowly do its job of converting sugar to alcohol.

The best of these golden lagers came from the Bohemian town of Pilsner and by extension, a can or bottle of today’s Pilsner should be created in the same way it was made in the Bohemian town of Pilsner.

For many beer lovers, a Pilsner is the top of the line beer. They are clean tasting, balanced between hops and malt, crisp and extremely refreshing. Some big brewers use Pilsner on their mass produced beers but it’s basically false advertising. They aren’t a Pils!

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate a Pilsner and one of my favorites is Schells Keller Pils brewed in the wonderful town of New Ulm. It has a nice citrus taste and aroma from its German hops and has a pleasant lemon body. Hmmm, would my neighbor place one of these in front of me?

Or would he give me a nice bottle of Summit Keller Pils? This one is brewed in St. Paul and is made with heritage barley grown in Germany. The hops and the yeast are of German origin, too. It has a beautiful full head of foam, bright citrus and lemon flavors and aromas and is dry to and through the finish. What a delight to drink! Would this be placed in my hand by my neighbor?

I walked to their patio overlooking their backyard and we began to chat. My beer was placed before me — encased in a nice cozy –and I looked to see my gift. I was thrilled to see what it was!

Sitting in my hand was a bottle of perfectly chilled Shiner Bock — a sterling beer from Texas. Like a Pilsner, a bock is bottom fermented and has noticeable malt sweetness and very little hop taste — they are a delight to drink — especially with good neighbors!

Needless to say our time together was a chat about good old times, current events and a promise to share another beer in the near future. It really didn’t matter what beer I would be given by my neighbor. Why? Because of our special bond — a bond formed over years of mutual respect and understanding. And so, I raise my glass of Pilsner to my dear neighbors and to them I say: “Thanks for the memories, T & K!”

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