On February 16th, 2013, my grandmother, Barbara Lanier, gave up her ghost. With it she took 91 years of memories - laughter, love, highs, lows, toil, joy, and sadness. She was affectionately known as “Ma” by her family, and we’ve named a special American Amber Ale in remembrance of her. It will be released for the first (and perhaps only) time this Saturday.
I have thought about this post for weeks since we first brewed the beer and each time I came up with convoluted thoughts as to exactly why we have chosen to honor Ma with a beer. Did she love amber ales? Nope. She drank warm Genesee on Friday nights and had conversations with my mother until all hours of the night while my father worked late shifts at the hotel. Did she love the grapefruit rind taste of high-alpha American Hops? Absolutely Not. But you can rest assured the only person in the room getting the coveted End Piece of a rich chocolate cake was Ma.
I was driving home from the brewery tonight and it finally hit me. We are honoring Ma because she loved us, and loved whatever path we chose. We are honoring Ma because without her there would be no Tree House Brewing Company. There would be no spirit to create, and press on. There would be no inherent drive to make something of ourselves, and move forward. There would be no memories of childhood. . . no instilled sense to be a good person. There would be no memory of a fiery Irish soul that instilled lifelong values of love and compassion.
We are honoring Ma because she loved us and we love her. And because if we didn’t, she would kick our ass with that big wooden paddle she kept on the wall if we ever dared get out of line.
You’re an angel now. I miss you, and I’m thinking of you every day.