Those whom the gods love, it is said, die young. But when the deceased is your favourite beer, the pain is especially hard to bear.
Kex Special, the luscious lemony ale that—at least for a time—lightened both hearts and wallets at the bar of the Kex Hostel on Skúlagata, is no more. It leaves to mourn a thirsting throng of the nation´s night revellers who had come to appreciate its buoyant bonhomie, its brightening force of persuasion over whatever darkening clouds might lower upon their houses in the gathering gloom that precedes an Icelandic winter.
So what if you had to walk a bit further to hold company with your boon companion? It all seemed worthwhile when your stumble home became a glorious if sloppy slalom between the Laugavegur lamp posts and improvised shop-doorway urinals up Skólavörðustígur.
Often dismissed as a light summer blonde, Kex Special was no fair-weather friend. Smooth and debonair, it showed up its more gassy tap-mates for the boorish, burp-inducing bumpkins they were. Pleading its good intentions with ever greater ease as the night wore on, Kex Special slid down the throat with a silken ease that made it seem like liquid lingerie.
While not a ´philosophical´ beer as such, few were those whose mood was not brightened by its enlivening influence. And it made friends easily, especially in the music and film industries.
Saga Films cameraman and independent director Gunnar B. Guðbjörnsson has been sleepless since he heard the news, while his co-director Bowen Staines pined wistfully: “I can’t remember how many evenings we spent together, Kex Special and I … honestly, I can’t remember.”
It was all things to all men. Its fruitiness made it the savoury swallow of Helgi Valur and the She-Males, its indomitable strength of spirit the gleeful gulp of Mugison and Megas.
But Kex Special was more than just a good beer. It was a good friend.
It was the one you could count on to come foaming to your rescue when you needed a glass to cry in because your girlfriend dumped you—or worse, your team lost in the finals.
Under the spell of its enhanced alcoholic content you knew that women were helpless to resist your charms. After a glass or two, your reflection in the men´s room mirror told you that you had the boyish good looks of both Friðrik Dór and MC Gauti, with Erpur’s swag and flow, to boot.
And Kex Special got the job done at closing time, too, sparking every coy jómfrú to marvel at how Time’s winged chariot was hurrying near, and so jump into the arms of the first tóbaksklútur-clad galant to murmur into her ear that the night was still young, and she was still beautiful.
The staggering loss of this alcoholic asset to the hook-up generation is hard to even estimate. Already, the rating agencies are threatening a downgrade in the expected birthrate after its premature withdrawal from the market.
A parched and panting nation awaits its return …