I will never forget that smell. When I close my eyes and think back to that day, I can still smell it. It will never leave me.
Seventeen years ago, I visited the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California with my friends Richard and Kathleen. They went to the place a few weeks before then and had raved about how good the beer was. They said it tasted so much better fresh. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was my favorite beer at the time so I was eager to try it at the source. Richard parked his car at the brewery’s parking lot and as soon as I stepped out, that’s when the smell hit me.
“What’s that smell?” I asked Richard, wide-eyed with excitement.
“Oh that’s the smell of the hops roasting mate.”
I couldn’t believe it. I had never smelled anything like that in my life. It smelled sweet, syrupy, and full-bodied. Like burnt caramel, except darker. And richer. I was so taken by that smell I wanted to dunk my head in whatever vat was producing that godly…