Craft brewing was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of company assets showed industrial machinery and chemical apparatus far beyond what any craft brewery would reasonably possess. Groogan compiled it and Groogan's name was known and respected wherever large scale brewers met and discussed their trade.
Groogan knew it was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Alphonsus Groogan was Chief Operations Officer at Gargle's brewery, and had been even before it became a subsidiary of the Globooze conglomerate. Under his old title of Brewmaster, Groogan had overseen the throwing out of the unreliable old mash tuns and open fermentation tanks; he had supervised the installation of the new, fully-automated, continuous fermentation processes which made Gargle's a world leader in industrially-produced beer. Yes, there was no question but that Groogan knew craft brewing at Gargle's was as dead as the beer in a can of Gargle's Extra Stout.
It was Christmas Eve, and Gargle's was running at full tilt, as it always was. The smell of roasting barley filled the air, its potency heightened by the chill, as Groogan passed out through the brewery's legendary front gate, featured in so many of Gargle's internationally-renowned advertisements. The old man had satisfied himself that everything was in order for the next few days, that the Christmas shift staff were at their posts, and that there would be not so much as a pause in the manufacture of beer over the holiday period. If he was needed, they could call him at home. He wouldn't be doing anything anyway. Groogan reached his modest dwellings in the Liberties area of Dublin, within sight of the huge chimneys of the brewery which had overshadowed his whole life. Occasionally he had to make the trip to London and speak to the directors of Globooze, but he never felt comfortable that far from the sprawling complex of Gargle's ancient headquarters.
After a modest supper, washed down with a glass of draught stout from a can, Groogan made his way to bed. He had always lived alone: his work was his life, a life of pipes and circuit diagrams and huge control boards with vari-coloured lights. Groogan knew brewing inside out and had never felt in need of anything else.
He thought he must have drifted off, as the clock showed midnight when he woke. There had been a clank from downstairs. And there was another! Groogan was well aware that he didn't live in the most salubrious part of the city, but he had confidence in the alarm system installed personally by Gargle's chief electrician, and the occasional tray of beer delivered to the local station meant that the Gardaí would be on site within minutes of his calling the duty sergeant. The clank was getting louder, closer. Groogan was just reaching for the phone when his bedroom door burst open and a blaze of eerie light filled the room. Groogan froze with terror and his eyes gradually adjusted to the glare. Standing in the doorway was a man in eighteenth century tailoring and a curled white wig whom Groogan recognised immediately from the boardroom portraits as Henry Gargle himself: founder of the brewery which still bore his name. The source of the clanking became apparent as the figure approached the bed: Gargle was roped in chains, attached to which were countless stainless steel kegs, each bearing the black strip which marked them as belonging to Gargle's brewery. The line of kegs stretched behind him, out of the room, and down the stairs, clanking with every step the spectre took.
"Groogan," intoned the Georgian gentleman, "you have done this to me."
"Me, Mr Gargle?" replied the brewer, "but I am continuing your work. I have grown the brewery you founded into one of the greatest in the world. Gargle's is now a by-word for stout the world over. The brand is one of the most recognised in existence, and in this quarter alone sales in Asia-Pacific have..."
"Silence!" cried the ghost, pointing a spectral finger, "You have damned me, Groogan. You have betrayed my vision of decent beer for the ordinary man. You have replaced my malty roasted brew with a cold, vapid, bodiless cipher of a beer. Every keg of nitrogenated mediocrity you produce from your monstrous factory is added to the chain I wear. You must stop this, Groogan. You must return the brewery to its former glory or there will be dire consequences."
"But everyone loves Gargle's as it is, sir. We've tried varying the recipe, offering special editions, but the test markets have shown that seventy-three per cent of regular drinkers want..."
"Enough, Groogan. Tonight you will be visited by three spirits who will show you the error of your ways. It's not too late to change, but if you don't, well, don't say you weren't warned. Goodnight, Mr Groogan, and heed my words."
The figure turned and picked his way between the kegs he had dragged in behind him. They were pulled out as he departed and the clanking faded down the stairs and disappeared. Groogan was left alone in his bed, staring wide-eyed in the dark at the closed bedroom door. "A bad can," he muttered. "First thing tomorrow I'll take the empty in to the lab and have them test the entire batch". The thought of a product recall, and how he would explain it to the directors, disturbed him. That the process would have to be initiated on Christmas Day didn't occur. December 25th was just another day at Gargle's, and everyone on site would be expected to work just as hard as usual.
Speculating on where in the brewing and canning process the infection might have crept in, Groogan fell asleep again.
There was a roar from downstairs: "SHITE!"
Groogan woke with a start and sat bolt upright in bed.
"Ferment, damn you!"
Groogan crept out of bed and caught a whiff of hot wort and a mild bleach solution. It grew stronger as he tip-toed across the landing and down the first few stairs. Peering into the kitchen he could see a figure at work around some small plastic buckets. It was a bearded man, with long dark hair, wearing combats and a bright red t-shirt. As he turned to face the old man on the stairs, Groogan could see the t-shirt bore the legend "Irish Craft Brewer".
"Groogan is it?" the man asked. "I've got a bit of a stuck fermentation issue here" he said, pointing at the airlock poking out of the top of one of the bins. "I think this yeast isn't great with the whole cosmic materialisation thing. Something from Whitelabs might have worked better. What do you think?"
"We, eh, we use our own yeast at Gargle's. It's the same one we've always used since the days of Henry Gargle. It's what gives Gargle's stout it's distinctive and much loved..."
"Bullshit!" said the stranger, "no yeast strain is going to last two hundred and fifty years without significant mutation. This is just another part of the lies Gargle's have been peddling around the world for the last half century or more."
"Get out of my house!" yelled Groogan, "I'm calling the police. And how did you get all that stuff into my kitchen?"
The figure held up a placatory hand. "Listen, Groogan, relax, OK? I am the Ghost of Brewing Past and it's my job to show you how brewing used to be before..." there was a beeping sound. "One of my jobs, I should say" said the ghost pulling a mobile phone from his pocket. "Just a second. Hello? Yeah... Have you tried switching it off and on again? Yeah, try that... OK, no problem." He returned the phone to his pocket. "Sorry, I'm on call. Where were we? Yes! Brewing as it used to be. Come on."
A doorway had materialised in the kitchen and the ghost walked through, beckoning. Groogan followed warily, and could see on the other side it was daytime, and the scene was the yard of Gargle's.
"Recognise this place?" said the ghost.
"Of course, this is Gargle's, except..." Groogan turned a full circle, looking upwards at the buildings, "the main brewhouse is still a grain silo. See? It doesn't have a chimney yet. And the truckyard isn't even inside the brewery yard: that was McKechnie's joinery before I bought it, after old Mr McKechnie died. And there's the old cooperage. We demolished that to expand the chemical lab back in 1971."
"It's 1956" said the ghost, walking towards one of the buildings. "Do you recognise that lad over there?"
An eager young man in overalls was heading into the building. Groogan and the ghost followed.
"That's me!" Groogan exclaimed, "In 1956 I'd only been in a couple of years. My Da had been a Gargle's man since before the First World War. He got me in and was so proud to see me hauling sacks of malt around, and taking samples from the tanks. Great days. But what am I doing here in the offices?"
"You don't remember" said the ghost sadly. "This was where it really started to go wrong. Watch."
There were three people in the meeting room when young Mr Groogan, followed by his older self and spectral companion, entered. Young Groogan took a seat next to a middle-aged man in a sharp suit who, the elder realised, bore a striking resemblance to the first visitor to his bedroom that evening. Opposite them sat two nervous looking men in ordinary working clothes. One was twisting his cap restlessly in front of him.
"Gentlemen," said the sharply-dressed businessman "this is Alfie Groogan who has just joined us on the brewing floor. Groogans have been brewing for Gargle's since my grandfather, Sir Duncan Gargle, owned the brewery. Isn't that right Alfie?"
"Yes sir, Mr Gargle," said Alfie.
Mr Gargle continued. "Now, Alfie has been spearheading the initiative which, I understand, you're not entirely happy with. Is that correct?"
One of the men opposite spoke up timidly. "Yes Mr Gargle. It's not just us: we represent all of the bottlers in Dublin and the neighbouring counties and we just think that pasteurising the beer before bottling is not the best way forward. We're selling enough Gargle's stout in bottles to have no significant spoilage. Our customers have no complaints and..."
"That'll do," interrupted Gargle. "You just don't want to buy the pasteurisation equipment, do you?"
"It's not that, Mr Gargle, honestly, we just..."
"You are what's standing in the way of the future of brewing" said Gargle. "Thanks to Alfie and the new breed of brewman, we will finally have a consistent, reliable and universally loved beer. Wherever you go you'll be able to enjoy the same creamy pint of Gargle's as you get in your own local. With pasteurisation, new filtration techniques and the various other technologies we are currently developing, we will be free of the biological tyranny of yeast cultures and bacteria. These are exciting times, gentlemen. If you don't wish to be part of it, then be on your way. Perhaps you could try bottling stout for Conway's or the Chapelizod Brewing Company. Did I mention we acquired them both last month and will have them closed by February? Good day, gentlemen."
Gargle rose and swept out, followed by young Mr Groogan. The bottlers slinked out afterwards. The visitors from the future watched them being escorted out of the yard by a uniformed security guard.
"And there you have it" said the ghost, "the beginning of the end. Right now, a couple of metres from the brewery gate, you can buy a pint of stout hand pulled from a wooden cask. In ten years it'll all be gone. Once the independent bottlers began going out of business and the beer was pasteurised as a matter of course, Gargle's moved on to kegging and soon rolled out nitrogenation, then draught beer in a can and then..."
"I know all of this," snapped Groogan, "I was there, you saw me. I led the product development on all these initiatives; I put the teams together; I turned Gargle's into the much-loved global brand it is today. Without any of this, you wouldn't find a pint of Gargle's in Liverpool, never mind Bangkok or Buenos Aires. This is progress, Mr Ghost, and if we hadn't done it somebody else would have."
"But where is it leading, Mr Groogan? What's the next development? That's a question for one of my colleagues, however. My time is done."
They were back in Groogan's kitchen. There was a faint bubbling from the airlock of the ghost's fermenting bin.
"Lovely!" he said, rubbing his hands together. "Cheerio now."
The ghost and his homebrew equipment faded from sight. Groogan pulled out a chair and sat down at the table.
He didn't notice that he had nodded off, but the next thing he awoke to a low, steady roaring sound, as of distant revellers. Late-night party-goers heading home were a common feature of life in this part of Dublin, but this seemed to be coming from elsewhere inside the house. He sat up, and noticed a light under the door to his living room. The sound seemed to be coming from that direction. Warily, Groogan crossed the floor and pulled the door open.
The living room was gone and instead Groogan found himself at the entrance of a crowded pub. A bright-eyed man with curly hair and the tiniest goatee beard Groogan had ever seen greeted him.
"Howayeh, Alfie. How's it going? What can I do for yeh?"
Groogan looked around. "Where am I, and who are you?"
"I'm the Ghost of Brewing Present" said the man, "and this is my pub. C'mon up to the bar."
They climbed the steps leading to the pub's main floor, Groogan looking around warily the whole time. He knew pubs. Not directly, of course, but there were regular reports from expensive consultants on "The On-Trade Retail Experience", and the place of Gargle's products within it. That place, of course, was the centre, and it had been so for as long as Groogan could remember. The reports were often illustrated with photos of toothsome young people raising perfect white-headed Gargle-branded glasses of stout to each other, and while the crowd here was certainly in the key demographic, the beer was all wrong. Tall glasses with handles for a start, as well as glass chalices and wide, stemmed, snifters -- all wrong. Groogan had never seen so many different colours of product: he knew that beer should only ever be one of three precise shades, depending on style, and was certain it would not sell if it did not conform. But here there had obviously been some major process errors, with liquids ranging from shimmering gold to sultry amber and beyond into ruby and jet black; some topped by just a skim of froth, others with foam occupying half the glass. He shuddered at the lack of conformity and struggled with the notion that this was, against all established facts, a vision of the present day bar scene.
They walked the length of the bar and the ghost hoisted himself up onto a stool at the end.
"Have a seat." He pulled out a stool for Groogan and the old man perched himself uncomfortably on it.
"The Ghost of Brewing Present, you say?"
"I am indeed, Alfie, but things are changing at the moment," he gestured across the busy barroom, "tastes are changing. People want more from their beer, y'know?"
"What do you mean?" asked Groogan.
"Look at it this way," said the ghost, "Time was, Gargle's stout was seventy, eighty per cent of what I sold. Loads of it. The brewery looked after us, we'd get the odd free keg here and there, y'know, times were good. But that's changing, Alfie. You must know sales are down. I'm shifting much more craft stuff these days -- it's what the punters are after, y'know? Here," he signalled to the barman and two glasses of stout appeared, "try this."
Groogan took a wary sip.
"Taste that? Good isn't it? I've a fella down in Tipperary making it for me. The regulars go mad for it: can't get enough of it in."
"It's just like Gargle's used to be" said Groogan, staring at the glass. "We used to drink it straight from the barrel in the old canteen, before we moved to kegs. I... I hadn't realised the taste had changed so much."
"There you go," said the Ghost of Brewing Present, "The future of stout is in the past."
"But we've improved Gargle's so much over the years" said Groogan, still fixated on his drink, "we've kept the formula the same, but we've improved it so that every pint now has a thick creamy head, and is served at the optimum temperature. We've given people what they want, and now you're saying we shouldn't have bothered?"
Groogan looked plaintively at the ghost.
"Exactly," the ghost said. "I keep a Gargle's tap here, I have to for the tourists and the like. It'll keep selling, but, well, interest is limited, y'know?"
"Gargle's will survive" said Groogan, "It's a national institution. The foundation of our drinking life. A beloved global brand. These so-called 'craft' beers are a fad for the pretentious and overpaid pups of the Celtic Tiger. They'll get bored and move on to something else," he waved a dismissive hand, "cocktails or other such nonsense."
"Well, I'm not going to tell you your business, Alfie," said the ghost, "I only know my own. Speaking of which..."
The ghost drained his glass and got to his feet. "Gotta go, Alfie. Pub to run."
With a last look at the stout in his hand, Groogan stood up and left the glass on the bar. He walked with the ghost back down to the front door.
"Drop in some time," said the ghost, "when it's less busy. January'll be quiet. I've got a couple of interesting beers coming in you might like to try. Give you some ideas, y'know?"
Groogan turned to retort but the ghost was already gone, back behind the bar, directing the staff to this table and that, moving around little coloured cups of money and till receipts.
"Ideas. Pfft." said Groogan, pushing the door and finding himself back in his bedroom, the sounds of the bar fading to nothing. "I have a whole product development unit for that. What would I go to a pub for?"
Back home he climbed the stairs and crawled into bed, shutting his eyes, hoping this time his sleep would be uninterrupted.
The chimes from St Catherine's Church woke Groogan once more. Through a sleepy haze he counted three bells. The central heating had long gone off, which is why, Groogan thought, the room felt so chilly. Only gradually did he realise he was not alone there. There was a shape at the foot of the bed. A tall shadow. Groogan reached for his bedside lamp, expecting the object to vanish as soon as he flicked the switch. It didn't. Groogan guessed it was human, but taller than anyone he'd ever seen, and swathed from head to foot -- assuming it had either -- in black. No face was visible, but Groogan detected that it had raised its head to look at him.
"Let me guess" he said resignedly "the Spirit of Brewing Yet-To-Come, or something, right?"
A slight incline of the ghost's head-region indicated that he was correct in his assessment.
"Well, let's get on with it, then. Where are we going? Back to Gargle's? I'd love to see how the place develops. I've been looking at some new gear from China that should increase our efficiency by up to..."
The ghost had already left the room. Groogan put on his slippers and followed.
To Groogan's surprise, no supernatural portal waited on his landing. Or at his front door, as he followed the ghost. Out in the street all was quiet, and he caught up with the spectral figure, barely visible under the street lighting.
"Have you done this sort of thing before? You do realise this is just the way back to the brewery? I walk it every day. The Liberties doesn't change much. Except for passing fads like the mobile phone shop there..."
He stopped. Even with the shutters down he could tell the phone shop was not there, and a small supermarket had replaced it. Next door, the old redbrick building which housed a shoe shop on the ground floor was now part of a much bigger, newer, office building. There was a modern bar built into it, with beer signs protruding from the frontage. Groogan didn't recognise any of them.
"Oh I get it. We're already in the future. Very good. Very slick." He pointed back at the pub signs "New lines from Gargle's, I see. Of course: keeping up with the market while staying true to our roots. That's the Gargle's way, eh?" The ghost said nothing. Groogan followed on behind.
"Well here's the front gate of the brewery. Still the same. No nightwatchman on, though. Replaced by technology, no doubt, and about time." The ghost continued into the brewery yard and Groogan followed.
"Lots of cars in the yard tonight. Must be busy. I suppose if production has increased as much as I've been predicting there'll be a lot of work to be done. Shame they couldn't ramp up the automation better, but..."
Something was wrong. There were no lights in the yard. Some of the windows and doors had been moved to unfamiliar positions, and there seemed to be a lot more of them. Groogan spotted a sign by the gate as he came in and went over to inspect. "Old Gargle's Yard" it said, "Last remaining units now on offer."
"Apartments!" he exclaimed "they've turned Gargle's into apartments! Two-hundred-and-whatever years of proud brewing heritage, a part of the fabric of the city, and they've turned it into to cheap housing!" He turned on the ghost "So where's the brewery?"
The ghost raised a thin arm and pointed, into the recesses of what Groogan knew as a vast complex of industrial buildings. He set off to find what they had done with his life's work. This area was much less familiar to him. What had been metal sheds and vast containers was now transformed into smart streets, with shops, a school, and other features of a living community. And there was a pub here too, Groogan was glad to see. The ghost led him around the back, past stacks of kegs and crates of empty bottles. Through a side door they stepped into a room containing half a dozen tall, conical steel cylinders. Bags of grain were stacked against the wall and a network of pipes led in and out of a copper vessel whose shape was vaguely familar.
"What the hell is this?" demanded Groogan. "Some kind of bakery? Where's the brewery?"
Then he noticed the whiteboard on the wall. "Beer recipes! They're making beer, but in tiny quantities. Is this some kind of pilot operation? Research and development? But why the pub?"
An open door led into the barroom and Groogan marched through. He picked up a menu from one of the tables and peered at the back in the gloom: "The Tasting Room: Microbrewery and Bar. At last, real brewing returns to the Liberties! Recently vacated by a mass producer of beer-like products, this site has now been turned back to its original purpose: the making of finest quality hand-crafted beers."
"Beer-like products? How dare they!" He flipped the menu over. "Cask stout? Pale ale? We got rid of all of these years ago. Nobody wanted them. And they think there's a market for this sort of rubbish now? Ha! Good luck to them. A passing fad." Groogan looked around for the ghost. The figure was barely discernible in the gloom of the bar. It was standing, as far as Groogan could determine, facing a large plaque on the wall.
"What's that you're reading? Some kind of daft manifesto? An eviction notice?" He chuckled and peered over the ghost's high shoulder. The sign was a list. The heading said "The Tasting Room is a proud member of the Dublin Independent Brewers' Alliance". Below this the other members of the alliance were listed.
"But, there must be about twenty breweries here. How can that be? Gargle's is still market leader, isn't it? Isn't it?" The ghost looked down at him and said nothing. "Tell me!" The ghost turned and began to leave the pub. Groogan ran behind "So where is Gargle's now? I demand you bring me there right now! What happened to it?" Feeling a draught by his slippered feet, Groogan looked down to see the city spread out far below him. They were flying, westwards as far as he could determine. Before long they descended, the glow from Dublin's suburban developments was a dim orange haze on the horizon. This was an industrial estate. They touched down in a concreted yard. Familiar stacks of kegs were arrayed around. A huge illuminated sign on the frontage proclaimed this to be "The Henry Gargle Brewery" to the passing trucks on the nearby motorway, and underneath the ever-present reminder that Gargle's was "a member of the Globooze Conglomerate". The ghost, with Groogan following eagerly, passed under the sign and through the main entrance.
Inside, the factory floor was densely packed with machinery -- pipes and tanks and hoppers with almost no room in between for humans. A set of steel stairs led to a gantry, and Groogan followed the ghost up them, and into a control room where the banks of screens made it look more like the production gallery in a TV studio than anything industrial.
"So this is where it all happens, eh? Not much different from today, just fewer people around to make mistakes. I like it." The ghost had already moved on, through a door and into a well-appointed manager's office. Groogan crept in after it and switched on the lights. "Not bad. Not bad at all." He sat down in the high-backed leather chair. "I could get used to this." There was a letter on the desk, Groogan recognised the familiar letterhead of Globooze Headquarters. It was addressed to all the senior Gargle's managers so Groogan, instinctively, picked it up.
"Re. Food Safety Authority Inspection Report: labelling of Gargle's Stout" read the header.
"Following the recent inspection by officials from the Food Safety Authority there will need to be an extensive rewording of the consumer information on Gargle's Stout. The Authority has informed us that since Gargle's changed production from traditional grain-fermentation brewing methods to the more efficient composition manufacturing process using artificially-derived flavourings and industrial ethanol, Gargle's Stout may no longer be marketed as 'beer'. Phrases such as 'malt beverage' have also been ruled out as malt is no longer an ingredient of any Gargle's product.
"Suggestions for alternative terminology will be discussed at a meeting of all managers at Globooze Headquarters next Tuesday at 9am. Attendance is mandatory. Managers need not be reminded that the continuing decline in Gargle's worldwide market share means that the rebranding must be a success from the very beginning as a further drop in revenue is likely to jeopardise Gargle's place in the Globooze brand portfolio."
Groogan put the letter aside slowly. Under it were some marketing proofs for a new product the plant had been producing: "Gargle's Go-Anywhere Instant Dried Stout: Just add the sachet to a pint of cold water for a smooth creamy pint, wherever you are."
"What are they doing?" he asked the ghost, who was standing immobile in the doorway. "This is my life, my product, my beer, damn them!" I may not be still around whenever this is, but dammit whoever's in charge should at least have some respect for the great Gargle's brewery, pride of Dublin and the world." He stood and walked towards the ghost, shaking with fury. "They've destroyed everything I've worked for! I demand you tell me who has done this. Who's in charge? Tell me!" The ghost took a step sideways, revealing a brass nameplate on the office door. Groogan stared. He stepped back and swallowed hard.
"'A-Alphonsus Groogan. Managing Director'. But I must be ancient. When is this?" He dashed back to the desk and snatched up the letter. "Three years! This is happening only three years from now? My god..." he sank to his knees, his face in his hands. "I've destroyed it, Henry. I've failed you. And Da, I'm so sorry. So sorry..."
When Groogan looked up again he was alone and back in his bedroom. He rose shakily to his feet and sat down on the edge of his bed, staring downwards at nothing. For a moment he entertained the notion that the vision he had seen was impossible, a paranoid delusion brought on by stress, or illness or something. But this hope was quickly dashed by the sure and certain knowledge that full automation from artificially derived ingredients was exactly where he was bringing Gargle's, and that even without his daily presence at the brewery, the development process he had set in motion over half a century before would inevitably lead to this destination. His life's work, the brewery he had grown and turned into one of the world's greatest business successes, would be no more. Unless...
Though the bells of St Catherine's had struck 8 it was still pitch dark in the streets. A few early-morning church-goers passed Groogan as he made his way back to Gargle's. The duty operations officer, a keen-eyed young man who never seemed to mind the heavy demands Gargle's made on his time, had just come on shift so the lights were on in the office next to Groogan's.
"Merry Christmas, Mr Groogan," he said. "We weren't expecting you in today."
"Merry Christmas," replied Groogan, for the first time in as long as he could remember. "Tell me Ted, have you the plans we drew up for that section of the truckyard we're redeveloping?"
"The new alpha acid extraction plant? Yes of course." Ted reached behind him and set a large scroll of paper on the table, unrolling it and taking a step back. Groogan leaned over the table, peered at the plans and then deftly picked them up, tore them into four neat quarters and stuffed them into the wastepaper basket.
"We're doing something else, Ted. Something more useful." Groogan had already taken a blank sheet of paper and was sketching furiously. "I'm going to need oak. Lots of it. Irish if you can get it, otherwise try the US. We will have three copper boilers and five ten-barrel open fermenters -- nothing too big. Not yet."
Ted watched as the shapes on Groogan's paper formed themselves into a brewery, the sort he had seen in the history books at brewing school, but which were extremely rare in this day and age.
"And here," said Groogan, his eyes gleaming, "we will have a cooperage. Do you remember 'Gargle's From The Wood'? No, of course you don't. I do. It was written on the outside wall of half the pubs in Dublin back in my day. When this," he gestured at his sketch, "is up and running, it won't just be Dublin pubs selling oak-aged cask-conditioned Gargle's Mature Stout. We're going to take this international and the world will learn what Gargle's once was, and what it can be again. Oak, I said. Go!"
When Ted came back with a plate of turkey and ham for his boss, Groogan had a stack of drawings piled around him, showing the brewery he remembered in various levels of detail. To Ted's surprise, Groogan actually stopped to eat, though his mind seemed elsewhere entirely. The old man had never looked happier.