Posted by: Sally Ingraham | November 6, 2010

R.I.P. V Wrap-Up Post, + One Last Tale

As it turns out, moving into a house that isn’t pre-furnished and needs a paint job and is missing most of its ceiling means that a quick weekend move from one town to the neighboring one is just the beginning. I’ve been moving every 6 months or so for the past 5 years so I’m thrilled to be squaring off with year-round housing, and totally psyched about setting up a sewing/crafting room, finally getting a real piano, and of course building a few more bookshelves. These happy dreams are still shockingly far in the future though, I’m realizing, as I tear nasty old wall paper off the bathroom walls and my boyfriend muds and tapes the freshly hung sheet rock in the living room…and we both collapse into sleeping bags on the floor in front of the fireplace – which thankfully is fully operational and given to roaring when blazing.

Anyway, due to excessive business, blah blah blah, I’m late on a R.I.P. V wrap-up post, even though it was the most fun I’ve had doing a reading challenge since last year’s Orbis Terrarum. (Erm…and the only reading challenge that I’ve done since then I suppose – I count group reads and reading marathons entirely separate.) Many thanks to Carl V. for hosting such a wicked event. I’ll definitely be making a habit of this one!

For the record, and because I LOVE lists, here’s a run-through of my perilous imbibing over the past two months:

Authors –
Peter S. Beagle (The Innkeeper’s Song)
Barbara Comyns (Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead)
Peter Dickinson (The Yellow Room Conspiracy)
John Harris Dunning & Nikhil Singh (Salem Brownstone)
Edward Gorey (The Gashlycrumb Tinies)
Daphne du Maurier (The Scapegoat)
Nathaniel Hawthorne (story – Young Goodman Brown)
Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House)
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby)
Edgar Allen Poe (stories – 1/2 a dozen or so)

Reviews –
The Haunting of Hill House
Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead
There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby
Salem Brownstone

Poe, Hawthorne, and Gorey
The Raven

The Haunting

Last but not least, here is a complete list of the autumnal beers that I sought out – some of which never got mentioned in my blog posts. My favorites are in bold, and I have one more story to share about the Unibroue brew, which is not exactly autumnal…

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE – Punkin Ale ****
Otter Creek Brewing, Middlebury, VT – Oktoberfest ***
The Boston Beer Company, Jamaica Plains, MA – Samuel Adams Octoberfest ***
Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company, Portland, ME – Halloween Ale ****
Atlantic Brewing Company, Bar Harbor, ME – Leafpeeper Ale **
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA – Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale ****
Shipyard Brewing Company, Portland, ME – Pumpkinhead ***
Eel River Brewing Company, Scotia, CA – Raven’s Eye Imperial Stout **
Magic Hat Brewing Company, South Berlington, VT – Hex Ourtoberfest ***
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Chippewa Falls, WI – Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest ***

Smuttynose Brewing Company, Portsmouth, NH – Pumpkin Ale ***
Long Trail Brewing Company, Bridgewater Corners, VT – Harvest Ale ***
D. L. Geary Brewing Company, Portland, ME – Autumn Ale ***
Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, NY – Imperial Pumking ****
Blue Moon Brewing Company, Golden, CO – Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale **
Peak Organic Brewing Company, Portland, ME – Fall Summit Ale ***
Unibroue, Chambly, (Que) Canada – Trois Pistoles ****
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, Bloomfield, CT – Octoberfest **
Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton, PA – Imperial Pumpkin Ale **
Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA – Octoberfest ***

So, Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles earns a place on this list for a very good reason. It is a fabulous beer, dark and strong, a bit spicy, a bit sweet – best in a snifter, sipped with care. Its name – which in English is ‘Three Coins’ – comes from a village in Quebec and its inspiration is a wonderful legend (follow the link to Unibroue’s website to hear a very enthusiastic retelling of the tale!) I knew none of this when I saw a 4-pack of the stuff at a local beer store late one night after a long day at work. Bleary eyed with fatigue, all I knew at the moment was that the artwork on this beer startled me so much I nearly dropped whatever pumpkin ale I was currently holding. Check it out:
trois pistoles
The significance of the image is this – that very morning I had read Poe’s first published story – Metzengerstein. When I saw this image on the side of the 4-pack, the ending of Poe’s tale came rioting back through my head:

‘One instant, and the clattering of hoofs resounded sharply, and shrilly, above the roaring of the flames and the shrieking of the winds — another, and clearing, at a single plunge, the gateway, and the moat, the animal bounded, with its rider, far up the tottering staircase of the palace, and was lost in the whirlwind of hissing, and chaotic fire.

The fury of the storm immediately died away, and a dead calm suddenly succeeded. A white flame still enveloped the building, like a shroud, and streaming far away into the quiet atmosphere, shot forth a glare of preternatural light, while a cloud of wreathing smoke settled heavily over the battlements, and slowly, but distincly assumed the appearance of a motionless and colossal horse.’

Whoa! The lateness of the hour and my exhaustion added to the astonishment that I felt, but it was really a very weird moment, and it was all I could do to bow to fate, purchase the beer, and get myself home to a cozy chair where I nervously imbibed this perilous brew. Thanks to the skill of Unibroue’s brewers (and perhaps due to the entirely good vibes of the legend the beer was inspired by) the beer proved to be fantastic and my spooky moment (seriously, I FROZE in my TRACKS when I saw it!) slipped quietly away, not unlike what Poe’s cloud of smoke and glare of light must have eventually done. 🙂

And so I bid farewell to R.I.P. V and to the Halloween season. Same time, same place next year folks – see you there!


  1. […] been tempted to write about my beery adventures since having so much fun in Sept. and Oct. with my spooky book and beer combos, I haven’t encountered a brew that I felt I simply MUST point out – until […]

  2. […] The only reading challenge I joined was the extremely self indulgent and devilishly enjoyable R.I.P. V hosted by Carl […]

  3. […] Anne-Julie Aubry’s work is SO lovely. And Carl V. is an excellent host, as I found during R.I.P. V last fall. His challenges leave plenty of wiggle room, and you can dive right in or just play in […]

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