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STEVE BARTLETT: The neighbourly thing to brew

Mmmm ... beer.
Mmmm ... beer.

Adam (his real name) is on the phone and sounding a Code Red.

“Steve,” he says, “your beer is exploding!”

Adam is my neighbour and “beero” (beer + hero = beero).

He brews his own and used to drive a beer truck for a living.

He helped fulfil a frothy fantasy of mine a few months ago when I bought a stout mix and we brewed it.

Well, he did all the work. I had the extremely dangerous and difficult task of tasting beer he had already made.

But with his panicked call, it appears the froth of his labour that memorable night was in serious jeopardy.

So I race to his place and discover a few beer have gone off in his basement.


Adam has already cleaned up the mess.

What do you want to do, he asks.

Cry, I feel like saying.

But I really don’t know what to do with, or about, exploding beer.

Should we let it sit longer or dump it?

What if they start bursting during transport and glass flies everywhere?

Or should we try selling them on Kijiji or to his brother-in-law Jason?

Regardless, Adam needs to get them out of his basement, which now smells like a university dorm on Saturday morning.

He advises against transferring them to my house because they could explode around my children.

For the sake of uninjured kids and marriages, he’s right.

So he carts the beer to his shed until we can find out if they’re salvageable.

As a test, I bring one home and gently place it in the small fridge to chill.

I shut the fridge door, and within seconds, BOOM!

It explodes.


The inside of the refrigerator is covered with thick, sticky stout.

“What happened?” my wife would ask.

“North Korea was doing more testing,” I would offer.

But, thankfully, my wife is upstairs and does not hear the detonation.

So I kneel down and lick the beer off the inside of the fridge. It’s was delic ... OK, that dog-like action is untrue.

It’s actual factual though that I clean it up, and move on to look for a new British crime drama on Netflix.

Then, summer and vacations hit full stride, and I spend months searching for the perfect swimming hole and tastiest ice cream. Oh, the sacrifices you make for your kids.

I have not talked with Adam all summer.

But one last night week, on my way to a function, I spot him in the distance mowing another neighbour’s lawn.

“Shoot!” I say to myself. “The beer!”

I had totally forgotten about it, and hope it hasn’t caused too much destruction in his shed, which thankfully, appears to be still standing.

I need to go see Adam, apologize for not being in touch sooner, and if needed, offer to help to disarm his outbuilding.

Hopefully he’s not too upset, and he never had a big mess to clean up since we last talked or he doesn’t feel I’ve taken advantage of him.

Whatever is brewing, I’ll just have to grin and beer it.


Steve Bartlett is an editor with SaltWire Network. He dives into the Deep End Mondays to escape reality and light beer. Reach him via email at

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