“Just read in today’s newspaper that this is the first full moon on Halloween in the past 20
years” Jeff the bartender informed me.   While I mentally filed this fact as interesting but
monumentally trivial, I never realized that Jeff’s revelation was also a chilling warning of the gut
wrenching trick or treat decision that awaited me this evening at the Gaslight Pub.

The night began tranquilly enough as I enjoyed a few pints of one of the establishment’s fine
craft brews.  My drink of choice was something called Patrick Henry Ale.  It proved to be quite
the tasty, full-bodied, hop laden, bold, and potent beverage.  Indeed, it was just the perfect
beer to use in a toast to Halloween since this uniquely American holiday clearly called out for a
beer named after a unique American.  And you just don’t get more American than Patrick
Henry.   Jeff, sensing my fondness for the beer, told me that it was made from the Gaslight’s
recipe for their popular Patriot Pale ale, which was then fortified with large amounts of an
indigenous American hop variety, Liberty.  Sounded great to me– Patrick Henry, Patriot, and
Liberty – an All-American triumvirate.  

Jeff next reached under the counter, and pulled up a lava lamp like object that he duly
plugged in and placed near the end of the bar.  It’s bubbly, blue green soft light was ideal for
the feeling of peacefulness I had, no doubt courtesy of Mr. Henry’s ale.  Looking more closely
at the lamp, I noticed, “It’s a Bud light” written across the base.  Ah, now I get it.  A cute, one
chuckle promotion from our friends at Anheuser-Bush.  “There’s more to come,” Jeff said,
“wait until the Bud team arrives”.  I quickly decided not to hold my breath and continued my
interaction with Patrick, who I now knew on a first name basis.  Almost immediately shouts of
“The Bud Guys are heeeeeer! The Bud Guys are heeeeeer!” began to fill the pub.  

A trio of individuals burst through the door costumed as what I guessed was the Three
Musketeers.  They were complete with grand flowing capes, rubber swords, polished boots,
swashbuckling waistbands and oh so large feathered hats. Impressively authentic outfits to be
sure, though the emblazoned B  U  D on each item might slightly strain credibility for those
historically inclined.

The bar patrons seemed to emit a collective yawn as the Bud Guys carried three huge,
nondescript boxes toward my end of the bar.   As they began an animated discussion with
Jeff, I noticed that each box was filled with shirts and hats.  But not just ordinary shirts, hats,
and glasses.  This was top of the line, high quality stuff.  The shirts had collars and embroidered
logos and the hats boasted buckles on the back instead of cheap plastic strips for sizing.  

The leader of the Bud Guys promptly handed Jeff a credit card and asked that four dozen
bottles of Bud Light be placed at the end of the bar, almost directly in front of me.  “Thanks
for giving us some space” the tallest Musketeer said as he handed me a bottle.  He then
grabbled several more in each hand and joined his partners as they circled the bar chanting
“No tricks – only treats!  Free Bud Lights, shirts, and hats”.  No tricks – only treats! Free Bud
Lights, shirts, and hats”.  And it was all true.  There were treats and no tricks, but there was a
catch.  And it was a big one.

The catch blindsided me when I politely asked the shortest Musketeer for my promised shirt
and hat. “It’s all yours, but you only get them when you drink a second free Bud Light.”  Was
he kidding?  Did he mean I actually had to finish not one but two of his tepid, pedestrian, taste
free lagers while beckoning taps of Gaslight’s flavor packed Patrick Henry, Perfect Stout,
Steam, India Pale Ale, Pilsner, and cask conditioned Hop Fest Ale were within arms reach
waiting to replenish my empty pint glass?  This was taking a Halloween promotion much too
far.  

Sensing that an erudite dissertation proving the no tricks-only treats chant was an enforceable
implied verbal contract could possibly result in a rubber sword duel, I instantly went to plan B.  
Hoping he wouldn’t notice my crossed fingers or have a portable polygraph, I told the
Musketeer that the first Bud Light was just so good that I wanted only one so as to make the
memory of this evening a singular treasure.  Ok, not good, but I figured a guy wearing a cape
and false goatee might just go for it.  Wrong.  

I looked around the bar for support and saw many of my brethren craft beer lovers blithely
putting on hats and holding up shirts.  What? How could they give in so quickly?  It was then
that I realized this moment was about more than just trying to scam a few very nice, free
goodies.  Could it be that my earlier choice of Patrick Henry ale might have been more than
just a coincidence? After all, was it not this revered patriot who intoned, “I care not what
others may do but as for me give me liberty (hops) or give me death”?  Didn’t he place honor
and great tasting ale above all else?  Didn’t he back up his fiery words with heroic action and
sacrifice?  

History does however show that Henry was also a very practical man.  It was quite possible
that given similar circumstances he might do whatever was needed to get that hat.  After all,
those Revolutionary nights could get quite chilly.  If only I had only gotten into the Halloween
spirit and worn a costume.  The anonymity of a mask would make this decision much easier.  
Oh well.

I slowly began to recognize that this was one of those unexpected moments in life when from
out of nowhere, a blazing cosmic exam of truth was being forced upon me.  It is how we react
to those moments that forever seal our fate.   One crowd simply smiles, straightens up, and
gladly reaches for another Bud, while others reach deep in the enlightenment of truth and take
the path of righteousness becoming champions of justice.

“Last chance, Buddy” bellowed the Musketeer.  I cleared my throat.  Loudly.  Several times.  
Now the attention of the entire bar was focused directly on me.  Slowly, majestically, I stood
up.  Holding my empty glass high, I turned toward Jeff and simply but firmly said, “another
Patrick Henry, please.”  

A frozen silence gripped the entire bar.  Then it started.  A dark shadow sliced through the dim
light of the bar toward the Musketeers.  Suddenly a blizzard of Bud hats and shirts filled the air.  
Pleas for glasses of Hop Fest, Perfect Stout and IPA’s resounded.  The conscience of a people
had been stirred!

The Bud Men scrambled behind a nearby pillar that was fortunately located on a direct route
to the exit.  Salvaging some honor they shouted, “got to go to our next stop, Happy
Halloween” as they disappeared through the pub doors into the engulfing darkness.  Those at
the bar sat silent and satisfied amid the ruin of spent hats and torn shirts.  Good beer had
prevailed.  

Perhaps it is lucky that full moons on Halloween only come once every 20 years
Beerland Archives
Vince Capano is a two time winner of the prestigious Quill and Tankard
writing award for humor from the North American Guild of Beer Writers.  

Vince's column is now  a regular feature of beernexus.com
Check back often for the next installment of

Vince's  Adventures in Beerland
Trick or Treat
by
Vince Capano