Bonser’s Beer

by kfrego

My dad had a friend named Paul Bonser. He worked at Kaiser Aluminum and lived in a remote area east of Spokane. The Bonser family had several children and a huge great dane dog. All five kids in our family loved to visit their home. They had all kinds of property and no close neighbors. During hunting season my dad would take me deer hunting with him on Bonser’s property. The views of the lakes and mountains from the areas we hunted were spectacular.

There was a root cellar not far from the Bonser house. It was about eight foot square and dug into the sloping ground about four feet deep. The root cellar was made from peeled logs with a plank door. Dirt was mounded completely over the top leaving only the entry door exposed. The large dirt mound was a favorite place to play for all the children. On one occasion we kept hearing strange noises coming from the root cellar. We would hear a muffled pop and sometimes they were accompanied by a tinkling noise like breaking glass. The pops and noises were at random times and happened several times over a few hours.

We got our mothers to come out and listen until they heard the pop and noise. They had no idea what was causing the commotion and had no interest in opening the door to investigate. Dad and Paul were off doing some fence repairs so we could only listen and wait until they returned. The pops and noises kept occurring all afternoon.

When dad and Paul returned they were charged by a bunch of kids. All were anxious to give their version of what was going on at the root cellar. There was a hushed quiet as we waited for the noise. Sure enough, the pop and tingle noise came from the root cellar. Immediately, Bonser slapped his leg and said, “Well, I’ll be damned!!  My beer is exploding in the bottles. What in hell did I do wrong?” He then commenced telling dad, and a whole bunch of little ears, about the homebrew beer he bottled a few days ago.

The decision was made to just leave things alone until the bottles stopped exploding. It wasn’t a good idea to be in the root cellar with the exploding bottles. The whole episode had been quite an adventure for all of us kids. We spent the rest of the day playing on the dirt mound and hearing the pops and tingle noises.

The root cellar was all clean and quiet the next time we visited………..but dad never would drink one of Bonser’s homebrew beers.

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