24 years. That’s how long the Dohms clan has resided in Pensacola. It’s longer than we’ve spent any one single place as a family. When my parents got married in 1967, they moved to Tucson, Arizona for 13 years. That’s where me and my sisters were born. We then moved to California for 8 years until my father decided to expand a branch of his company elsewhere.
My mother’s family, when she was growing up, spent half their time in Chicago – where she was born – and half in Molino. When it came time for my dad to decide where we would try to settle down, the decision was motivated primarily by our family’s experiences here on the Gulf Coast.
So, a long time later and a lot of roads traveled, I can logically conclude that it’s due to my mom that everyone in our family turned out the way we did. Had she not convinced my dad that Pensacola was the place we ought to have been, my sisters all might not have become registered nurses in very difficult fields of medicine, my nieces and nephews would not be the same wonderful people we now know, I wouldn’t be writing this column for your enjoyment.
I just said my goodbyes to my parents as they’re following their own trail back to Arizona and to a quiet life of retirement. Before getting into her car, my mom stopped and came back for one more motherly hug. I know, right? Awww… Well, ma, this one’s for you.
My mother, whose maiden name is Pajaczkowski, was always very proud of her Polish heritage. So much so that she was even president of the local Polish-American Heritage Society. She, eventually, got me to appreciate dishes like bigos and golabki. However, I found my appreciation Polish beer all on my own. While I’m already looking forward to visiting them for the traditional Christmas Eve Wigilia dinner, I’ll raise a toast to my dear ol’ mom with some Zywiec Porter.
Pronounced “jiv-ee-yets,” this rich porter is, no pun intended, a dark horse. It’s so far off most people’s radars because they simply don’t equate Poland with good beer. Guess again; this one is world-class! It’s black enough to be mistaken for night sky and sports a brown-white head that’s tall, takes forever to disappate and leaves excellent lacing when it finally does. Gorgeous scents here of molasses, fig, cherry flambe and a hint of gingerbread. A bit of the 9.5% abv booziness shows up on the palate with spiced dark chocolate, slightly scorched Turkish coffee, dried dark fruits with a dash of lactose creaminess. Very rich, warming and memorable.
Thank you, mom, for influencing my life and bringing me to where I am today.