Even in a flimsy keg cup, a Fat Tire tastes like Colorado–malty, hearty, and fortifying. And on a summertime airport ramp with the hot-tire asphalt baking off its daytime heat, it’s no wonder that a ladybug crawled up next to the cup to find a bit of shade. The fact I sat under a grand-sized airplane’s wing probably aided the bug’s quest as well.
Warbirds and antique aircraft attract more than ladybugs–they cause a certain kind of person to home into them, someone with the passion to scrape together enough parts, labor, and funds to keep them flying. Because you don’t fly after 80 years on love alone.
Yes, the Douglas DC-3 I knew best on the ramp that day celebrates her 80th birthday flying skydivers later this year. Her friends on that day in Topeka, Kansas, ranged from executive transports to government workers to a D-Day leader to a converted Vietnam gunship. The tales they tell could fill a book.
With an old friend, Fat Tire, my first favorite craft beer, I toasted our old friends and the strength that has kept them flying all these years. For that doesn’t last, and those moments when they can be brought together, we cherish and capture in our memories.