When it comes to beer, David Pennington is a purist who does not mince words. In all of history, he says, “there have only been three or four beers worth drinking, and those were made by a dissident group of Belgian monks in the 14th century.”
Everything else — all beer produced over the past 700 years, including every small-batch handcrafted microbrew in America — has been “utterly undrinkable,” according to Pennington. “All these so-called brewmasters today are total charlatans who, in a blind taste test, couldn’t tell a pilsner from a can of Mountain Dew,” he added. “I’m serious, I’ve worked with these guys; they wouldn’t know an I.P.A. from a strawberry milkshake if you labeled them both in block letters.”
To improve the situation for beer drinkers, Pennington has opened the nation’s first nanobrewery. Called “Divine Secretions” and located on West 59th Street in New York City, the establishment boasts a tasting room that dispenses high-quality beer from eyedroppers instead of “crude” taps. In this rarified setting, bartenders are called “drop-givers” and they serve beer directly into customers’ wide-open mouths, usually onto a trembling tongue.
“The problem with most microbreweries,” says Pennington, “is that their small batches of beer are way too big. They produce anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 barrels annually. Here at Divine Secretions we brew two barrels a year, because beer — real beer — can only be made in tiny amounts.”
Pennington’s customers appreciate his neurotic standards of quality and his psychopathic attention to detail. “I come here every day and order four or five drops of my favorite secretion,” said Daniel Hallenberg, an unemployed sculptor with an independent income. “I adore this month’s offering, ‘Mother Mary’s Tears,’ a limited-edition fire-malted Galway steel-cut oatmeal stout with a blend of seven medieval Flemish hops and grated Bulgarian watermelon rind. But at a cost of $68 per drop, it’s not a beer you can afford to gulp.”