​March 22, 2019


Tripping over the threshold, I will land with the grace of a rhinoceros on Xanax, to the delight of some and the chagrin of many, a portly, screaming lunatic, bedecked in only the finest black t-shirt one can buy with eleven bucks. The sun plays just right off the maniac’s glint in my soon to be bloodshot eye, as the drivel I speak ricochets off whitewashed, concrete walls, rattling windows and more than a few cages. Rejoice!, the Ambassador retorts to temperance’s weekday hold, offering hijinks unleashed and more than slightly unhinged.

“A beer, my friend, and keep them coming! It is a good day to be alive, let’s make it better with a stout and a shout!”, a bellowed admonishment to the work week’s weekly demise, a warcry to a forgotten heaven, where there is no rational requirement, and women laugh at even my most foolish pronouncement.

Smiling in my customary way, a grin that makes people nervous, as though at any moment I may suggest a cannibal feast or naked four-square, I celebrate the Spring with fervor, a tall glass is as good as dance, in my considered, albeit often colored by the fine brush of drunkenness, opinion.

Now that the amateurs have left the building with Patrick’s green conformity, I can let the loose the stored Dionysian fervor, and leave bare the heart of Spring’s emergence, beating as it does in every lurid display of floral magnificence. That is, I can drink, loudly and with purpose and resolve, to celebrate whatever I may, not to be held down to some fabricated holiday codswallop.

Further, I will not be saddened though sad things might be stood out, as there is always a moment for joy and cacophonous cavorting, despite what follies flit. I am loud, and for reason, that the drudgery will not take hold of heart entirely, but be lassoed long enough for a moment of song and revelry.

Forsooth, and a hundred other antiquated admonishments, let us loose what insanity we can on Friday’s willing stoop, yet that the sky will echo with merriment, like a Scottish birthday or a Russian wedding, the drunken howl heralding the weekend’s respite! There are times aplenty to be sober and grave, here’s to the toasted revelry that makes them all worthwhile!


February 8, 2019


​Bubble, my friend, and do your fine work; 
It is asked of you for simple solace.
Your singing soul reflects so well
A dawn though dark and funereal you be

Give me the vision that leaves behind the worrygocks 
And the gleaming tribute to their lies.
Give me standing orders, to stand in tent or box, 
And gulp away the itching time where the dollar dances.

Slip around the safety nets ever tugging,
And let me swim in earnest, not so close to shore
Wave off the guardsmen, waiting, still in order
I have a pick to cheat the day.

Louder the temperament, and even smiling still
Make no glance in fear.
It is a simple casting off, yet needed so much more
Than prising out the hand the shovel or the ax.

I will slip down the slurry path promised
And glow in the light of beer
As coming back to life once more
After dying last year.

Drink deep, patrons, lest St. Amand look down and grimace!!!

December 28, 2018


The reckless nature of Friday evening makes for a powerful thirst. Friday is inelegant and untamed and raucous, a stiffened middle finger for the rest of the week, crossing the threshold of obligations and spilling into the town. It is a high pitched vibration that begins in the spine rather than the ear, intensifying with every deal done, hammer nailed, or file closed, a madness of modern industriousness, quickening every gait.

An alley opens into an oasis, unsophisticated but beckoning; not a supercilious, candlelit table in some smug cafe, just an unassuming, squat concrete building jutting from cracked asphalt. Its appearance belies its worth, fostering in the work-flogged soul a kind of salivation, a thirsty release for our bridled desire. The vibration gets more insistent with proximity.

A speaker plays a near-forgotten melody, "...𝐻𝑜𝑤 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑎 𝑟𝑢𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑘𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠? 𝐷𝑜𝑛'𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑏𝑒 𝑠𝑜 𝑐𝑟𝑢𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑒𝑐𝑘𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠...", as one passes through a flat, white door into the heart of the thing, smiles and welcomes sometimes slurred, a twitch at a shouted salutation, and the sweet black nectar fills a simple glass. Finally, the vibration is quelled, the week slips off to its sullen grumblings, ignored and forgotten for just a little, precious while.

I'll have a Hideout and keep them coming. The week is sneaking up again but for now I am delivered.

February 22, 2019


There is no benefit to teetotalism that a reasonable person can see, despite what careful consideration and reasoned debate might say to the contrary. It is no feeble task, this deliberation, but perhaps among the greatest rhetorical exercises.

I will not argue that the body, with its complex and scientific workings, would not run at greatest efficiency if fed the simple, miserly diet. This is above argument, verifiable as it is through study and expert opinion. But beer is not nutrition for the body, dear reader, oh no.

If one were to live with only one's body as consideration, we should all suffer and be uninteresting. We would not seek company nor cooperation should only these mechanics be of sole worry. We have a greater thirst, an infinitely more valued need, to administer with the simple, luscious beauty of fermented grains and hops.

Beer is food for the soul, the nectar of forgotten Gods, passed down through ages by powerful shamans and witch doctors, to fortify the human experience and its artistry, the greatest invention of man's ingenuity. We elevated to Olympus itself upon this theft, stolen by an unknown cousin of Prometheus, a true bringer of fire to humanity, who needs no other celebration but raise a cool glass and empty it quick, to be refilled as our soul does the same.


​March 29, 2019


18. A number stacked with layers of meaning in the United States, part of the new American numerology. The dubious, missing ritualism, reforged in the conformist anti-culturalism of the post-war, we make meaning where we can as our memories of European, African, and Asian teachings and philosophies slip into the void of ignorance. We make meaning of what we have, what we have tagged, through law and self-reference and necessity, practical always, broad but not deep.

Our eighteenth birthday, the day we have designated as the doorstep of adulthood, arbitrary, and considered by many measures too soon. Once it was the age we could first legally imbibe alcohol, but rampant moralism beat that back, studiously, by the teetotalers. We wallow through adolescence for that day of imagined freedom, carving another notch in the doorframe of life’s measurements. It means little, of course, and gives only a few days of nebulous pride before the reality of ignorance weighs the yoke.

The most abundant gas in the atmosphere, argon, has an atomic number of 18, one of the noble gasses. Its name is derived for the Greek word for lazy or listless, a chemist’s joke by Henry Cavendish, that referenced its natural tendencies toward lethargy. Chemistry, the science of life, tying together biology and physics, the ultimate unifier, responsible for, among many things, the brewer’s art, though it could be argued, and eloquently, that chemistry came about because of the brewing arts, humanity’s keen interest in making gold from grain, the real alchemy.

Let us not forget the coincidental calamity of the 18th Amendment, the scourge of the brewer, prohibiting the production and sale of “intoxicating liquors”, passed by the mad mavens of temperance, moralists (a more filthy word I cannot pronounce), who declared the timeless, ancient art of brewing an abomination. These people were the disingenuous hypocrites, changing the annals of history to suit some false superiority, in a misguided attempt to erase the art of beer from the charter of American culture and industry. Instead, they gave rise to some of the most powerful criminal organizations the world has ever known, forcing brewers to spend decades resurrecting their industry and good name.

Mathematics, the study of the relationship of numbers as representatives of things unseen, has much to praise 18. It is an abundant number, the sum of its proper divisors are greater than the number itself (1+2+3+6+9 = 21). It is a Harshad number, meaning it is an integer which is divisible by the sum of its digits (1+8= 9; 18/9 = 2 - this term derives from the Sanskrit words harsa and da, meaning joy-giver). It is the theoretical perfectionist, sublime in its rationality.

Perhaps in response to the numerological influence, the Bern’s most perfect oasis of brewed art, Brewery 99, reflected in some magical distilled Kabbalah, double-nine, the numbers of Friday’s crystallized essence. Maybe there is some esoteric meaning there, some deeper, magical understanding of the balance between science and art, as revealed when the first sip hits the lip. Or perhaps it is the serendipity of the universe, playing its trickster games, fooling us, yet again, to try to find deeper meaning in the mundane, or slip some chains of stifled knowledge, long forgot.


March 8, 2019


There is a nymph at the bottom of your brimming glass, reaching down into the corners of your mind-slush, stirring it around, softening everything. It is the emotional solvent, served in a suspension made for the tines of the heart’s fork. The nymph didn’t get there by accident.

Reason is sure, though it has been admonished not to say, that the purity of this concoction is under suspicion, it being so free of the tarnishment of baleful industry. Perhaps, reason ponders, these rarified beverages are best left to the cold logic of machined precision. Reason is wrong, I can tell you, in earnest, without hesitation or reservation.

Best leave it to the mad scientists, the crazed artists, left alone in their hideaway hovels, to toil and churn at the cauldron like alchemists, to be released only with the seal of some controlled insanity. Flashing Frankensteinian lights, a whiff of some forbidden smoking cinder, it is all to be half-expected when this mad experiment ensues, the laughter of some dryad admonishing the Brewer, in his state of transfixation, to not be careless with forces they do not understand, but laughing all the way to the dancing end. Not even the faerie forces can resist.

It may be well that we chase reason from the building, if just for a moment’s tarry, so that we can hear the faer folk whisper through technobabble and modern consternation, and hum a bar of their ancient songs, and grasp the mantle cast off by some dreaded Anheuser or fat-cat Miller, and fly it ‘round, a cape to shed the toil of modernity.

Brewers make the food for the soul, and give to light the Speech of the Faer, so that we can bask for long enough to catch our breath. It is their favor you should always keep.

Yours, in thirst.

Geoffwithag, Brewery 99 Ambassador

January 25, 2019


Some days, you just can’t shake the bastards. Some days, they just keep coming, easing up on your blind side, quiet but for the sound of saliva slurped between gritted teeth, a feral pack of shit-fiends, always on the prowl. They can be slipped, but not for long.

It is important to have a place to hole up, keep the bastards at bay, and gain a proper moment to put the words right. Some fort with liquid barricades, a frothy moat of black civility to ensure a little rest before the hunt is back on and fiends start to nip again. The bastards never sleep, the old timers say, and I’m inclined to believe them.

I’ll take my chances with Pete at the tap, and let some feral beat stomp into dusk, loosing the slings and chants, scaring the locals into some kind of placidity. For my part, I need the nerves to oscillate at a frequency further down the goddamn dial, give me a chance to settle, and chase off the shoulder-devil, if only for a bit.

Fear not the bastards, ye of black-soaked heart and amber-tinted gaze, the oasis is open and the week is on the run. Meet me for chatter and a lifting of the wrist. My language will relax and make some altered sense soon enough, when the liquid begins to do the brain magic.


Copyright © 2015 Brewery 99.  All Rights Reserved.

Brewery 99

417F Broad Street

New Bern, NC 28560

Hours:  Fri - Sat


(252) 259-6393

April 5, 2019


The downtown New Bern streets are largely rough and pitted, and scarred by train tracks, and damn near liquid hot in midsummer. These black veins heat the city and its residents like a broken boiler in a tenement house, and the sweet Southern charm can fast make way for invective and gnashing of teeth, if you let it.

Enough of that negativity; the baying hounds will chase any rabbit you point to. Right now, the Spring is sprung or springing, or threatening the populace with pollen, at any rate, with shotgun accuracy, indiscriminate in its targeting. So speed is the byword, the faster the better, outrun the thing, then lurch to a stop, ass end three feet past the line, somewhere between joy and lunacy. Winter is always longest, this close to the end.

There is a special grin, not as much shit-eating as verging on insane, that paints the faces of those who lasted through the pants and boots weather, to emerge like yearling cubs bent on a frolic. Too long since the last flip was flopped and cheek made red, there is a mystery in the air that must be sussed, where is that glass and give me two. There is that little burst I get, when the Sun’s just right, low and warm, a bubbling up of crazed exuberance, like the start of an acid trip or the last day of school, half-remembered from aes lost, that harkens to some release. And I will take advantage of every last drop, down to the bottom of the glass; you have to drink ‘em fast, because the glass warms quick, or that’s my reasoning, at any rate.

Sit down slick and grasp the chalice, it’s not easy in our weakened state, all full of working and wintery bullshit Tired but wired, the rule of the day. Grab it with two hands if the first one shakes, and crawl back home once the ceremony is over, and remember the streets for getting there, the sidewalk’s for crawling. My mind writes verse, with the end in sight: “A laugh, a sip, a broken spell, the goddamn winter can go to hell.”

Come write the lyrics for your release, mine are already done, and the chorus is just the sound of glasses getting empty. I’ll listen for a bit, then crawl on.


I couldn’t tell you when I had my first taste of beer, any more than I could tell you when I first looked at girls and realized they were decidedly less covered in cooties than I had originally considered. These events were probably close to contemporaneous, I’d wager, though, and heralded a new appreciation for things I once considered at best icky.

As a young man, delving into the swirling waters of adulthood with the confidence of a giraffe on roller-skates, I took many chances on drink, often to excesses that would make Caligula pale and need to sit down for a bit. I, like many other young people, embraced my new-found interest in alcoholic beverages in part out of a desire to be considered “adult”, and partly out of curiosity for the sensation of euphoria it produces, a confident slur as some carnival hawker with a speech impediment, ten feet tall and bulletproof. But those are a young person’s feints at the specter of adolescence and inevitable change.

My tastebuds matured and the allure of beer changed, morphing from a mere delivery system for intoxication into a burgeoning libational obsession. The taste of beer, its complexities and variations, unlocked a new pallet of sensation, as complex as the color spectrum, as enriched as language, which unfolded for me, and bade me to explore, to experience. Experience, I did. Oh, boy, did I experience.

Much of the writing contained here within the 99 Lit page is, in one way or another, a celebration of the taste of the product, but also a solemn yet joyous acknowledgement of the brewer, as much as his or her art. It is an art expressed through the brush of science, of chemistry and biology, coming to a head in a beer glass, a liquid painting, redolent and bright and convivial. Brewing is no less than the apex of human ingenuity and expression, a triumph of its creators to be consumed like a communion to honor the water, barley, and hops that combine to make this elixir that, in many real ways, saved the world.

I hope you enjoy the words contained herein, and that, perhaps, you gain new perspectives on beer’s place in the annals human achievement.

Ambassador GeoffwithaG