The Big-Ass Barrel has been rolling around town for a few weeks now, dispensing beer into the citizenry in the service of all things good: clean water, good health, and the pursuit (and rapid capture) of happiness. The Big-Ass Barrel is what the world's been waiting for: good beer on great-looking wheels, the beer from Deschutes Brewery and the wheels with giant red bottle-cap hubcaps. All proceeds are dispensed to Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and Gilda's Club Seattle.
By nature, outsized things either terrify or charm. The Big-Ass Barrel falls into the latter category: A golden oak cask approximately the same dimensions as an Airstream trailer is plump, friendly, promising. The beer (like Green Lakes Organic Ale, one-and-a-half of which creates a distinct sense of well-being) is accessed by way of windowlike portals on each side, the open flaps serving as protection from sun or precipitation. Port and starboard have eight taps each. Attached aft: a giant Deschutes handle and tap, sadly nonfunctional.
Eddie Paul—designer/engineer/fabricator to the aerospace industry, Hollywood, and the late Jacques Cousteau—created the Big-Ass Barrel in his Los Angeles shop in one brief month. A biodiesel truck towed the B.A.B. up from California, filling up with beer en route at Deschutes headquarters in Bend, Oregon. Ten kegs fit in its refrigerated prow. Its maiden voyage: Fremont Oktoberfest. The actual maidens didn't come aboard until a week later, when the barrel reappeared, still in Fremont but up the hill, as the anchor of the beer garden for a soapbox derby sponsored by the manufacturer of a major energy drink. Usually the Deschutes people serve beer from within the B.A.B., but at the soapbox derby, the major energy drink manufacturer provided a staff of four (or, possibly, five) semi-identical long-haired vixens to do the job. The people of Deschutes are given to wearing fleece and insisting in an unendingly nice way that you all come visit them in Bend sometime; the major-energy-drink vixens all wore false eyelashes and were moonlighting from Joeys on South Lake Union. (The eyelash-wearing was not by stipulation of the major energy drink manufacturer but rather a coincidence, a vixen reported.)
The Big-Ass Barrel (note that "ass" is spelled "a**" by Deschutes Brewery; these are people who'd rather chew off their own arms than offend anyone) then spent a happy afternoon in the parking lot at Havana on Capitol Hill. And while beholders of the B.A.B. more often than not want to park it in front of their dwellings, workplaces, and lives, the B.A.B. has appointments to keep: three more weekends, three more locations, lots of bands and lots of beer.
The Big-Ass Barrel, www.neighborhoodhops.com.