Pretty Ridiculous Things
One night this past December, the rumor mill informed me that the Somerville, MA-based beer brewery Pretty Things would be closing shop.
I loudly guffawed as I always do when I hear something too absurd to be true, waking my slumbering children upstairs as well as several babies in the neighborhood with my melodramatic explosions of laughter, shaking my head vigorously at the preposterousness of it all, ending the laugh session with a chortle and a few trailing snorts as I wiped away tears of laughter.
Once in control of my senses, I followed up the laughter with a few indignant harrumphs. “Someone is spreading stupid lies!”
Pretty Things was the responsible party behind one of my all-time favorite beverages, Jack D’or, a “Saison Americaine.” I’m not saying that Jack D’or was one of my favorite local brews, or one of my favorite farmhouse ales. I’m saying it was one of my all-time favorite beers of any kind. And it was soon to be gone forever!
I went out to the Macy’s in West Roxbury to stock up, but my beer guy gave me the bad news: “They’re all gone. No more of the Jack D’or for you, my friend. Thanks for all the bottles you bought these last several years. Now run along like a good boy.” (Slight embellishment.)
Is this what it feels like when your favorite obscure insect becomes extinct? Jack D’or was a bright and happy beer, sharp and crisp, a little spicy, a little tangy, a mouthful of flavor from the first to the last sip of the 22 oz. bomber bottles they came in, all acheived without slapping you in the face with hops. To give you a sense of how much I loved Jack D’or, I’ve made a few lame attempts at cloning it, and then gave up, telling myself to make my own beer instead of trying to replicate the perfect saison.
My beer guy surmised that the reason Pretty Things closed shop was because they were blackballed by Boston bars for calling a few out for the illegal practice of requiring distributors to pay for tap space. The owner of Bukowski’s Pub was quoted in the Boston Globe as saying that Pretty Things had “an inferior product” at its cost.
More excessive laughter. A Jack D’or used to run me $5.99 for a 22 oz. bottle, whereas Hennepin (another great Saison by the Ommegang people in Cooperstown) costs more like $11.99. Favorite beer plus low price doesn’t equal inferior product at its cost.
I’d say that I’m never going to set foot in Bukowskis again, but they won’t miss me, since I’ve had maybe one beer there my whole life. Not to mention that after the Red Sox won the world series in 2004, they denied entry to a certain acerbic high school principal I know because he was emotionally exhausted.
Anyway, I suppose I have the moral duty to take up the Petty Things mantle and start brewing farmhouse ales for public consumption. Stay tuned.