Last week, the first in a seven-part, year-long journey began with the beer in tribute to the American poet Walt Whitman.

Named for Whitman’s epic poetry collection, Leaves of Grass, seven different beers will take the names of seven poems within the collection.

Leaves of Grass was an ever-evolving collection of self-reflective poems. Originally published in 1855, it was a small book of 12 poems. It was revised, added to and changed over the last 40 years of Whitman’s life, with the final edition published in January 1892, just two months prior to his death. This final edition contained nearly 400 poems and is an archive of his transformation from a younger man (37 years old at the time of the first publication) to his passing.

A new beer will be released about every two months, started in May of 2019 and runs through May 2020. Each beer of this series will be available in limited runs in six-pack, 12-ounce bottles and in draft. The first beer is Song of Myself, a German-inspired American IPA.

Song of Myself uses 100 percent German malts and hops but brewed to taste like an American-style IPA. At 6.5 percent alcohol by volume, this beer is a perfect late spring IPA, bright, refreshing and very easy to drink.

The second beer in the series, which should be released sometime in July, is named The Prairie-Grass Dividing. This beer is to be an homage to old-world agriculture, creating a German-style Gose, using heirloom grains and adding plum juice, salt and coriander. According to early reports, this beer has a hazy pink hue, is tart, but refreshing.

Other beers in the series are more tentative as to their exact styles. The most trustworthy source I’ve found lists the following for beers three through seven:

• Oh, Captain! My Captain! (September): A Black India Pale Lager

• To a Locomotive in Winter (November): A Smoked Porter

• Song of the Open Road (January 2020): A Winter Warmer

• Salut Au Monde! (March 2020): A form of Lager with old world grains

• Spontaneous Me (May 2020): Wild Fermented Beer

This is not a series of beers to age. The recommended shelf life of Song of Myself is just three months. These are beers that will be out once and unlikely to ever be seen again. These beers give you a wonderful excuse to stop, relax, read some poetry and enjoy your being. With any fortune, this series of beers could nourish your mind and soul while enjoying a unique beer.

Matt Thomas is a cicerone and certified beer server who works at Gay’s Hops-N-Schnapps.

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