“Then, I said, let us begin and create in idea a State; and yet the true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention.
Of course, he replied. Now, the first and greatest of necessities is food, which is the condition of life and existence.”
They say beer is liquid bread. This means, technically, beer is food. By extension, beer is among the first and greatest of necessities as posited by Plato circa 360 BCE in his exploration of government, “The Republic.” See? Transitive thinking isn’t so hard. Take away the togas and olive trees and all you’ve got is a bunch of dudes sitting around arguing about life over cups of libation and, heck, that’s a common occurrence in my world.
Necessity is the mother of invention. I wanted to go to the source of the oft-used quote explaining how need and demand drive change and, sometimes, wonderful new things. It’s fitting that it lies with pontificating ancient Greeks. We beer nerds, too, have been known to wax philosophic about our tipple.
Musical philosopher and miscreant genius, Frank Zappa, took the notion to its eponymous zenith when his record label wouldn’t let him re-name his band “The Mothers,” the title, in their minds, a little too close to something usually insulting. The logical – and wholly to the point of its meaning – thing to do was to dub his troupe “The Mothers of Invention.”
When folks from Marietta, Georgia’s Red Hare Brewing Company paid the Flora-Bama line a visit for a little R&R, they were drinking Stiegl Grapefruit Radler from Austria. The low-AbV blend of beer and grapefruit juice was tasty enough for them, to be sure, but why weren’t they making their own version? After all, they already craft their own sugar cane-based sodas and Radler beer is one perfect foil against a blazing hot Southern day, so…
Necessity, meet your child. Red Hare blended their grapefruit soda with their Gangway IPA for a concoction they’ve dubbed an India Pale Radler, and it’s probably one of the most refreshing Summertime drinks you’ll come across.
One could posit that it’s the hop content of Gangway that made the perfect complement to a naturally-sweet and tangy soda. Between the Willamette, Chinook, Cascade and Falconer’s Flight hops there’s a boatload of flowers, elderberry, citrus, pine and spice to balance out the sugar cane while elevating the grapefruit.
A choice far more wise than Plato’s teacher’s last drinks, the newly-minted SPF 50/50 is a seasonal offering that’s hazy gold with a fluffy, meringue-like head settling into a fine cap. SPF’s ale roots grow into a tree of citrus peel, candied ginger and turbinado sugar scents. Drinking like a carbonated iced tea, this medium-bodied glass of fizz delivers the expected grapefruit along with red rooibos, a touch of spruce, lemon peel and Earl Grey with a long finish.
Plato once said “All the gold which is under or upon the Earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.” However, I’m pretty sure, were he alive today, he’d part with a coin or two for a crisp can of Red Hare.