Stillwater's Cellar Door
If you had asked me what I thought I would be when I went to college, I would have said a writer. There was a literary magazine called Cellar Door that had been around for thirty years and I desperately wanted to be on the staff. All the cool writer kids were there. I wanted to wear a houndstooth blazer and jeans with busted knees and the cuffs rolled up and smoke clove cigarettes and talk about pathetic fallacy, or whatever. I thought this was the dream. After multiple rejections - for both my staff applications and my awful submissions - I was astounded to make it onto the team my junior year. Within six weeks the senior editor was let go for various indiscretions, and I was even more astounded by my prompt promotion.
It turns out being the editor of literary magazine wasn't the dream I imagined it to be. Suddenly I was the gatekeeper that I had resented for so long, and there were too many egos and too much insecurity and too many young hearts to crush. I had no bloody idea what I was doing. But I had some good times that year, the highlight of which was interviewing Tim O'Brien and asking him such searing personal questions that he said he hadn't thought that hard about his life for a long time.
Stillwater isn't on my fave list for their naming practices (I'm looking at you, Gose Gone Wild series), but they knew what was up when they went with Cellar Door. These two words together are supposed to be the most harmonizing words in the English language, a belief made famous by J. R. R. Tolkien.
It's a lot to live up to, but rarely has a beer been more appropriately named. Cellar Door exemplifies one of the things I adore most about farmhouse styles: the infinite possibilities of their range. It's bright and cool and effervescent. It's the driest liquid you'll find on a humid southern summer day. The sage has an almost minty effect that is purifying, grounding, and, if you listen really closely when you drink it, healing.
This is the part where I try not to say drinking a certain beer makes me want to be a better person and live a fuller life, but...drinking Cellar Door makes me want to be a better person and live a fuller life.
You don't have to be a believer to be cleansed by Cellar Door. This is a beer that is is unapologetic in its spirituality. This is a beer that strives for holding complexity and simplicity simultaneously. This is a beer that reaches for beauty. And it's a beer that reminds me of what it was like to have such big feelings and big dreams and ask searing personal questions and hold such big hearts in my hand, even if that big heart was really only ever my own.