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Location: Midwest, United States

Friday, June 10, 2011

Then There Was...


Ah, yes, Gira.

They say it’s a sort of beer made from bread. I dunno. I was usually too drunk on the stuff to comprehend the alchemy. I drank me lotsa Gira in Lithuania.

Felt obliged.

Some refer to it as Kvass. Well, let them have their say. Me? I call it Gira.

I’ve tasted Gira almost all my life (not as an infant...but as a YOOT).
I gotta say, I never did like the taste, the taste of what I had as a yoot roaming the south side Chicago Lithuanian ghetto.

But then I had me a bottle of a rich, amber cream that was labeled “Gira” in a 12th century cellar that (I assume) had witnessed all manner of doin’s. It was there that I poured meself a mug o’ stuff
I swear was made in Heaven.

The barmaid called it Gira.

So I had me a few variants of Gira fermented by artisans who teased my tongue with fruit flavors, honey, berries, raisins, cream and...praise the miracle of fermentation...inspired lascivious thoughts.

And it came to be that I overly quaffed Gira as I noshed on smoked pig’s ears and sausage derived from boar and elk.

I kinda like it here,” I thought.

And that barmaid had such a wry smile.

* * *


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful trip Jonas. I'm glad.

Sat Jun 11, 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger June Calender said...

That photo could make anyone thirsty and hungry. Never been to Lithuania but to quite a few cellars in various European cities. No Gira, but beer that sure wasn't Bud. Travel hsa an abundance of pleasures. I'm glad you got you some.

Sat Jun 11, 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Wine and Words said...

You've definitely got the bug. I feel the hair on your arms reaching like tentacles, your heart a metal to a far off magnet.

Loved the ending Jonas!

Sat Jun 11, 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger PattiKen said...

Oh, my, I think you found your place in the cosmos. I'm glad you were able to... um, relax.

Sat Jun 11, 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Hmmm, I gotta try me a mug o' Gira! A beautifully spun tale, Jonas. ...and nicely done wit da southside dialect. :-)

Sun Jun 12, 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I gotta say, Lilith, this trip was a whole lotta lotta things. There was a great deal of revelry and merriment, to be sure. There were hours upon hous spent walking. Even today, I haven't fully recovered physically.

But there was a funeral, too. There were tears and heartache aplenty. There was a barrage of impressions, both good and bad. There was a whole lotta lotta things. It was a memorable trip, certainly. Wonderful? Not exactly.

I was really thrilled to taste artisanal Gira. I was amazed by the variety. The entrepreneur in me is mulling the possibility of importing representative brews to America. Gira should not be enjoyed by Lithuanians alone!

My feelings are complex and conflicted, Annie. There are a whole lotta emotions to process. But, yeah, I'm drawn to my tiny Baltic motherland (for better and worse).

Can't say I ever felt "relaxed", Patti. Even today, weeks later, I'm still not relaxed.

Thank you, Stephanie. You SHOULD treat yourself to a mug o' Gira and a nice bowl of saltibarsciai!
(I dunno if anyone ever mentioned this to you but you look like a Lithuanian lass).

Mon Jun 13, 12:06:00 AM  

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