The morning of Cinco de Mayo, 2018 was rough. The previous night consisted of my sister and I, along with Connor O’Connor at Haymarket, Cruz Blanca, and a sad ending at Sportsmans Club where Connor O’Connor was asked to leave because he was falling asleep.
Waking to a mind-numbing head and full-body pain combo, I decided to tough out a drive to Batavia. Energy City Brewing is only open one day per month, for four hours. Their coordinates combined with our mere four dimensions, as of this writing, represent the only area of space-time where/when one can score bottles from the Energy City guy.
The Energy City guy’s microbrewery is his chocolate factory. Nobody ever goes in. Nobody ever comes out. I arrived within the window and got to chat with him a bit. With curly locks not unlike Gene Wilder’s, he is a chemical engineer and goes on one hundred-mile runs – assumingly in a crushed velvet purple suit. He doesn’t have a tap room…but he has a room. He stands with you and pours his bottled poetry into your glass. As I tasted stars, he discussed each one – the style, ingredients…he even explained the names of the beers: Hop Nawi (named after a hand-crafted bark canoe indigenous to Australia – boat loads of hops), Hop Scooter Habanero variant (a pristinely balanced pepper IPA named after a flat-boat for fishing in knee-deep waters of the Texas Gulf coast line). The Schnozzberry Ale tasted like schnozzberries.
After a quick rendering of Rachmaninoff on a tiny piano board, I was ushered into the bottle shop. His kids run the register. I’m assuming they are at least twenty-one? Due to my splitting headache from the previous night’s charades, the last thing I wanted was to do was converse with anyone even resembling a twenty-one-year-old. Unshowered and unkempt I just wanted to gaze at the gorgeous tin man-sheen brite tanks I could see in the background. I heard Oompah Loompas singing their joyous hooks while dejuicing Violet and siphoning her blueberry blood to the cylindroconical fermenters.
The Energy City guy seemed blown away that I had taken a trip to Batavia from Chicago merely to visit him. With a twinkle in his eye and a melody in his heart, he handed me a free bottle of his Russian Imperial Stout “Poputchik” – a Russian term for someone you connect with on a long journey. Someone you share the deepest or most secret stories of your life with. A sonnet that encompasses my relationship with the Energy City guy.
I stumbled out into the blinding daylight. I successfully ignored Slugworth’s advances, and I sat near the Fox River for a few minutes in order to take in that Wonkaland encounter. Sometimes the Beeracles are small, but it takes an extrasensory beer nerd to appreciate them.