Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Peaks and Pints: A Barleywine Carol

Ron Swarner

Expect Barleywine flights during A Barleywine Carol Thursday, Dec. 22 at Peaks and Pints in Tacoma.

A mean-spirited, miserly old man named Shaw Moore sits in his fire-suppression business on a frigid Dec. 22 night. His clerk is bored to tears because Moore refuses to spend money on music. Moore’s nephew, Scruggs, pays his uncle a visit and invites him to A Barleywine Carol at Peaks and Pints in Tacoma. Two portly gentlemen also drop by and to offer Moore a 10 Squared Barleywine from Fish Brewing Company. Moore reacts to the holiday visitors with bitterness and venom, spitting out an angry “Bah! Bluegrass and craft beer!” in response to his nephew’s “Merry Christmas!”

Later that evening, after returning to his dark, cold apartment, Moore receives a chilling visitation from the ghost of his dead partner, Chuck Cranston. Cranston, looking haggard and pallid, relates his unfortunate story. As punishment for banning bluegrass and Barleywine in his business his spirit has been condemned to wander the Earth weighted down with 1,000 iPhones. Cranston hopes to save Moore from sharing the same fate. Cranston informs Moore that a spirit will visit him that night. After the wraith disappears, Moore collapses into a deep sleep.

He wakes moments before the arrival of the Ghost of Barleywine Present, a strange childlike phantom with a brightly glowing Stetson hat. The spirit escorts Moore to Peaks and Pints’ A Barleywine Carol. Invisible to those he watches, Moore see a festive scene with jolly folks, Barleywine flights and the Tacoma bluegrass band Barleywine Revue jamming in the corner. Moore, deeply moved, sheds tears of regret before the phantom returns him to his bed.

Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself and grateful that he has been returned to Dec. 22, Moore rushes out onto the street hoping to share his newfound bluegrass and Barleywine spirit. He sends country ham and corn pudding to his clerk’s house and attends the Peaks and Pints A Barleywine Carol party, to the stifled surprise of the other guests. As the years go by, Moore holds true to his promise and honors bluegrass and Barleywine with all his heart.

A BARLEYWINE CAROL, 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 22, peaks and Pints, 3816 N. 26th St., Basecamp Proctor, Tacoma, no cover