• Published 19th Aug 2018
  • 1,081 Views, 11 Comments

Sunset Shimmer Really Likes Beer - Sandalwood



Sunset takes Twilight to an old dive of hers where they share some drinks, have some laughs and bond.

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The Barley and Bean

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Sunset hit the brakes and slid into a parking space. She opened the kickstand and yanked off her helmet in one smooth motion, her mass of fiery hair falling out of her helmet. Everything around them was dimly lit but Sunset looked brightly at all of her surroundings, raising her arms and glancing down at her passenger. Several more seconds passed before Twilight was able to release her vice-like grip from around Sunset’s waist.

“Why did we stop?”

Twilight looked unsure as she carefully dismounted the bike but Sunset wore a proud-looking grin.

“We’re here!”

Twilight took another look at their surroundings: A small parking lot surrounded by small shops in a small part of town. There was hardly a passerby on the street and the sun looked ready to hit the horizon early.

“We’re here?”

Her expression was more tired than confused but Sunset didn’t hesitate with a smile and nod.

“We’re here.” She pointed to one of the small establishments. A rusty-looking brick building with a hand-painted sign reading: Barley and Bean. “It’s a cafe.”

"Sunset..." Twilight facepalmed. “There are cafe’s in Canterlot.”

“I-it’s also a bar.” She defended.

“It was also a two-hour drive… on the back of a motorcycle.”

“Hour and a half… and we took a bathroom break.” Sunset just grinned and shrugged her shoulders.

Twilight sighed loudly but more so for dramatics as and her expression quickly softened, hitting Sunset on the shoulder.

“Only for you, Sunny.”

“Okay," Sunset clapped her hands together, her smile full again. "So I don’t go this far north of Canterlot for very many reasons. But this place? This is one of them.”

They passed through the glass door with the fanfare of a jingle bell. It was a quaint looking place, a couple of decades behind the times. Certainly nothing like those any-way-you-want-it espresso bars that have usurped the title of cafe today. Only one other customer occupied the room at the time.

“It looks… pleasant?”

“It’s a hidden treasure,” Sunset answered matter of factly.

Twilight had to smile at the way that Sunset took pride in this strange get-away of hers: it was cute.

Following her friend to the other side of the room, she plopped down next to her on an upholstered love-seat. A brief survey of the place and she noticed that no two pieces of furniture matched.

“This place looks like it’s been assembled out of thrift stores. It’s kind of cozy. How in the world did you come across it?”

“Okay, so back when I was trying to take over the school and all that, I was trying to create an image for myself. So of course, I was in desperate need of someplace where I could then get away to, to release. And it needed to be far away from the school. This place just drew the lucky lot.”

Some rattling noises drew their attention and a tall round man appeared behind the counter. He flashed a bright toothy grin, gasping once he noticed his two new customers.

“Sunset-Fucking-Shimmer.” He set down what he was tending to immediately. “How in the world is my number one patron? I haven’t seen you in months.”

“Hey Barley!” Sunset called back with a smile. “You would not believe how busy I’ve been. But I did bring a friend with me tonight. This is Twilight Sparkle. And Twi, this is Barley Barrel”

The two girls approached the counter and he watched them with a discerning eye, seeming ready with a comment.

“You know, Sunset, she looks a little young for you. There isn’t any funny business going on here, is there?” Barley leaned in close to Twilight and spoke in a low voice. “Blink twice if I need to call the police.”

Twilight wasn’t really sure how to respond to that but she forced herself not to blink.

“Shut up, Barley." Sunset laughed. "I’m thirsty.”

“Sweetheart, all I ever hear about is how thirsty you are.”

She glared at him.

“Alright!” He threw his hands up, “I’m done. Shimmy, darling, you know I’m overjoyed for the extra business. So What’s the sweet looking one gonna have?”

"Hmm..." Sunset glanced back to Twilight for a moment. “You’re gonna need to give me a minute on that one, Barley.”

“Please, take your time, girls.” Barley resumed cleaning some glasses.

"Okay, So how do you wanna start the night?” Sunset leaned into Twilight and spoke softly, “And heads up, I can get your first drink on the house.”

Now the pressure was on. Twilight’s eyes began skimming the hand-written menu. She didn’t recognise the names well enough to know what was what so she turned back to her friend.

“Do you have any recommendations?”

“Okay, now that depends on some things.” Sunset gained a knowing smile and put an arm over Twilight’s shoulder. “So, I know your go-to is hot tea and he can certainly deliver on that end. But, personally, I was kinda hoping to introduce you to the wonderful world of beer.” She said the last part with a flourish.

“Um," Twilight winced a little at the suggestion. "I-I think I’ll just stick with tea for now.”

“Okay, that’s cool. Tea it is.” Sunset turned back toward the menu to give it a brief glance herself. “Okay, Barley. Give this girl a cup of Ocean Dragon, hot.”

“Ooh, trying to impress her, are we?”

“Don’t be fooled, Barley,” Sunset pointed an accusing finger at him, “This girl’s had some damn good tea in her day.”

“Say no more, dear." He waved dismissively. "One cup of damn-good-tea, coming right up.”

Twilight watched attentively as he prepared it: Loose leaf tea into a press, water heated to an exact temperature, steps carefully timed. It reminded her more of home.

Her past experiences visiting the Sweet Shoppe with the girls in this world had led her to expect something else. A couple of tea bags dropped into some preheated water and handed right over. But, one precisely timed moment later and he placed a cup on the bar.

“One perfectly brewed cup of Ocean Dragon, for our guest and,” he tipped a tall glass underneath a tap, filling it with a frothy beverage. “One drink-of-choice for our leading lady.” He handed it directly to Sunset with a smile.

“I don’t even need to ask do I?” She accepted the drink and took a deep whiff from the lip of the glass with a hum, a little foam stuck to the tip of her nose.

“No, Shimmy dearest, you do not. And just for the occasion. First round's on the house.”

“Aww thanks, Barley.” She gave him a quick hug around the neck and guided Twilight over to an old couch next to a small wooden table.

Twilight got comfortable and before she could set down her drink, Sunset swung her glass around and clanked it against hers, nearly causing her to spill it. When she looked up in surprise, Sunset’s green eyes were staring right back at her.

“Prost!” she announced.

The girl from across the room raised a bottle. “Prost!”

Twilight, having safely set down her drink, wore a confused look. “Prost?”

“Prost,” she said matter-of-factly.

“...Care to elaborate?”

“It's probably the most important part of enjoying a beer with friends." Sunset continued drinking as she explained. "It’s like a law or something. You have to look them in the eye and Prost before anyone even has a sip.”

“Mm-hm... and may I ask, why?”

"Because," Sunset looked very serious and spoke low as if telling a scary story, “If you don’t. You’ll be cursed with seven years of bad sex.”

“Bad s―! Umm… okay. Again, why?” Twilight blushed.

“I don’t make the rules.” Sunset shrugged and shook her head and tipped her glass back, taking a long drink, “Ahh! Delicious.”

Not the answer Twilight had been expecting, but she had learned a thing or two about curses and so decided not to question it further. She picked up her teacup and took a moment to enjoy the smell before sipping.

“Mmm. Oh, an excellent choice, sunny.”

“I knew you’d like it.

“Actually,” Twilight paused and looked thoughtful, “this reminds of something I've sipped from Celestia’s cup before.”

“It’s a blend of yellow tea." Sunset smiled and nodded. "I remember Celestia having several varieties of it.”

"Oh." Twilight was mildly surprised.“Well, best cup of tea I've had in this world anyway.”

“Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had some nice stuff here at Barley’s but outside of that this world’s tea is a far cry from Equestria’s selection.”

Twilight hummed agreement, continuing to sip her tea greedily.

“But, I have to say,” Sunset continued, “Equestria’s idea of beer can’t hold a candle to the varieties of craft nectar I've sampled from this world.”

She punctuated her statement with another long drink, a hum and a sigh. She had a dreamy look on her face. Twilight sat her drink on the table and took a moment to observe Sunset and hers.

“It can’t really be that good, can it? My own experiences with the stuff haven't been so pleasant.”

“Yeah, no kidding. I mean, all Equestria really cares about is cider.” Sunset set down her glass. “Okay, I remember this one New Year’s, Celestia had imported some beer from Griffonstone for the celebration. It was awful. It was nothing but sweetened, watered down pils.” The expression on Sunset's face told Twilight that that meant something bad. “But this.” She paused for another quick drink of her beer. “This half-wheat heaven right here? Is ambrosia.”

Twilight was a little caught off guard by Sunset’s choice of words but nodded along silently. The two continued enjoying their respective beverages and she let a few minutes slip by in silence as she was visibly contemplating.

“So, Sunny? Do you think, maybe, I would like it? Beer, that is.”

Sunset set her glass onto the table, flashing her brightest smile of the evening as she turned toward Twilight.

“I thought you’d never ask!”

Twilight smiled in return, enjoying seeing her friend get so excited. It spurred her on to want to try new experiences like this. Twilight reached out for the beer only for Sunset to yank her glass away.

“Hey, hands off,” she said flatly. “We’re gonna get you a fresh one. There’s an order to these things you know.” She tipped the glass up and finished it off. “I already know the drink I'm gonna start you with, too.”

Twilight followed suit and drank the remnants of her, now lukewarm, tea. The two stood from their seat to return to the counter and Twilight quietly handed over her empty glass.

“Okay, Barkeep. Gimme a Blueberry Weiss and two glasses.”

He worked fast setting them out, “two glasses,” and grabbing a bottle from his fridge with precision, hoisting to a wall mounted bottle opener and popped the cap, “and one drink.” He leaned over the bar, “but don’t call me Barkeep.”

“Oh, come on," Sunset picked up the glasses. "It’s like, one syllable away from your actual name.”

He stared at her for a brief moment and smiled.

“Okay. Well, in that case, enjoy your drink, Sunshit.”

Sunset turned and handed the empty glasses to Twilight.

“Hey, Twi?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t call him Barkeep.”

“…Okay.”

They returned again to their seat, set down their glasses and Sunset went to work. Tipping one glass and carefully pouring roughly half of the bottle along the side of it. She then repeated the process with her own glass.

“Okay, so we’re just gonna split some twelves tonight so that you can enjoy a bit more variety. If you don’t mind.”

Twilight looked at her glass that was less than half full."

“I guess that’s a good idea.”

“Okay, so let me tell you about this one first.” Sunset motioned to her glass. “This is a wheat beer, which is low in hops and high in, well, wheat. That gives it a more gentle and malty flavour. And this one’s very fruity, which I find is more accessible. Personally, wheat beers have always been my personal favourite.”

Twilight really enjoyed discovering the intellectual side of things and listened closely. She was becoming more and more interested in the idea and finally grasped the glass, lifting it to her lips.

“Twi, wait!”

Twilight sputtered as Sunset grabbed her wrist and she stared wide-eyed at the girl, but when their eyes met Sunset smiled.

“Don’t forget Twi,” she clinked their glasses together, “Prost.”

Twilight stared for a moment longer but she got the idea.

“Prost.”

Sunset looked content and sat back, taking a drink. Twilight raised an eyebrow but looked back to her drink, giving it a quick sniff.

“It smells like blueberries.”

“That’s the idea.”

Twilight smiled and stuck her nose back in the glass for one more deep inhale then took a drink. It was ice-cold and, “Mmm, oh wow. That’s not what I was expecting at all.” She took another drink, “Ahh, this is really beer? But it’s so fruity.”

“Just the reaction I hoped for!" Sunset was absolutely beaming. "You know, I have this hypothesis that ponies have a predisposition for Wheat beers. So far I’m two for two.”

“Well, you were right about me at least. Now I know there’s one beer I like.” Twilight took another drink.

“Oh, this is just the beginning Twi. You’re gonna learn all about the realm of beer. I have a whole beer curriculum planned out for you.”

Sunset was getting really excited again which Twilight found cute.

“But… that seems like a little much for tonight, don’t you-”

“Don’t worry, Twi. We can take this just as slow as you want, okay? Beer isn’t something you just try one night. It’s a lifestyle.” Sunset assured her.

“That sounds like it could be fun.” Twilight was drinking down the beer without hesitation now, “It almost tastes like the blueberries are covering up the beer flavour, I can't quite pinpoint it. Are you sure I’ll like others as much as this one?”

”You’ll like some more than others." Sunset shrugged, still smiling. "But you’ll definitely find one better than that one.”

Twilight paused. “Is this one generally considered bad?”

“No, not at all. I still love this kind of beer. They’re what Barley calls kiddy beers.”

Twilight didn’t know how to take that, but, “I guess I have a lot to learn about the magic of beer.” She Set down an empty glass, with a shy smile. “How about we start with one more for now.”

“Now that’s what I'm talking about!” Sunset finished her glass all at once. “And I know just how to follow that one up.”

Twilight interrupted, “What about that beer that you started out with?”

“Hm? Do you wanna try that one?”

“Well, I was curious I suppose. Could you tell me a little about it?”

“Okay then," Sunset nodded with a wide grin. "That one is another variety of wheat beer going for a more traditional taste. It’s brewed with orange peel and coriander which lend to its natural flavours. It’s gonna be milder than your first without that overt blueberry, but it still packs a hell of a flavour.”

“That sounds good, probably. Let’s try it.”

“Okay, just stay here.”

Sunset hopped out of her seat and quickly went over to the counter, catching Barley's attention.

“Barley.”

“Sunset.”

The two stared each other down for several seconds: Barley wouldn’t yield.

“Come on," She playfully pounded on the bartop. "Shouldn't you already know what I'm gonna ask?"

“Now Shimmy, I can’t just keep track of your whole shopping list.”

She sighed and held up a finger, “one Blue Luna Witbier,”

“And two glasses,” he finished, lifting his hands above the bar with her order already in hand. “I just felt like giving you a hard time.”

Sunset softly laughed as she took the drink and glasses.

“I swear, you know me so well.”

“More like I can hear you so well. From your seat.” Barley had a deadpan expression.

Sunset turned to glance at Twilight, who waved to the two.

“Oh, right.”

She smiled at him and slinked back into her seat. She smoothly poured two glasses and offered one to Twilight who accepted the drink with some hesitation.

“So um… do we do the thing before every glass?” She raised her glass toward Sunset.

“Eh, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” she shrugged, “Seven years is a long time.”

Twilight blushed but nodded as they clinked their glasses together, their Prost in unison.

She stared into the froth of her drink for a moment before closing her eyes and taking a quick drink. This time, her response wasn’t as immediate. She smacked her lips a few times and stared at the drink, contemplating it, unaware of how closely Sunset was watching her.

“Well, Sunny. It’s different.” She took another drink of the ice-cold beverage.

“You don't like it?” Sunset drooped her shoulders, setting her glass down.

“No, it’s not that. Though, I mean, it’s not as sweet as the other one,” she continued to punctuate her sentences with sips. “The other one was just so fruity. I guess this is just what plain beer tastes like, then?”

“Witbier.”

Twilight nodded. “It kind of tastes like bread. With a hint of citrus.”

Twilight never ceased sipping from the drink and Sunset picked her glass back up with a large smile.

“It makes you want to keep taking another drink, doesn't it? That’s just how it begins.” Sunset tipped it up and drank her half-glass nearly at once. “Honestly, Twi. I could marry this drink.”

“You're not marrying anything in my shop." Barley piped up from the corner. "I withhold the right to refuse you a service.”

Sunset stuck out her tongue at him and sipped the last of her drink.

“I think I'm becoming fond of it myself.”

Twilight still looked unsure but she was near the bottom of her glass. Sunset nodded vigorously along but Barley kept on.

“If you think that tastes good, just wait till Shimmy gives you a drink that you can’t see through,” he said, holding a clean glass in front of his eye.

“She’s not quite ready for that yet, Barley. There’s an order to these things, you know?”

Twilight glanced back and forth between the two, finishing her drink. Both seemed content to leave Twilight in the dark on this one.

“Alright, I give. What are you guys talking about?”

“Oh, sorry, Twi. He’s just talking about dark beer. Another type of beer we’ll get around to eventually, but not just yet. I have something already in mind for our next drink.”

“Well," Twilight stood up from her seat. "I'm going to have to hold off on that one for just a moment while I um… go take care of what I've already had to drink.” She blushed and walked toward the restrooms.

"Okay." Sunset raised her voice slightly, “I’ll have your drink ready when you get back!” Sunset walked over to the bar and took a seat. She paused to think for a moment then looked at Barley. “Actually, I’m not sure why I said that. I'm better off to wait for her then get it fresh.”

“Do you really not know, darling?” Barley was quick to respond. “You just love the sound of your own voice.”

“What can I say, I'm easily excited by beer.”

“Oh, is that all that’s got you excited tonight?” Barley laughed to himself. “You know, Shimmy, you’re not such a hard book to read anymore.”

“Okay," Sunset scoffed. "I can’t wait to hear this one. And here, I was wondering what’s kept you so silent this evening when normally I can’t get you to shut up.”

“I’m just giving the turtle doves some room is all,” he said sweetly, batting his eyelashes.

“Careful now, Barley,” Sunset smirked, “or all Twi is gonna do is take your place.”

“Please, dear, the young are destined to replace the old. I'm already over it.”

“Shut up, Barley. You’re like… what, 44?”

“An even 40 if anyone asks.”

“You haven't changed an ounce, you know? Not since the day I met you.” She smiled softly.

“Well, take it from me, dear, you have changed more than most folks will in a lifetime.” He patted the girl’s bright red hair. “Even if you do still look 15.”

Sunset reached out to smack him but he’d already stepped out of reach.

“Okay, Barley, you can return to silence now.”

“Nothing doing, dear. I get paid by the word. Now please, I'm ever so anxious to learn what you have in mind for drink number next.”

“Probably drink number last," Sunset laughed and relaxed back into her seat. " It’s late. I was thinking an Island Oak would be a good one.”

“An Island Oak! For goodness sake, Shimmy. Dear. Is this really what’s become of your taste?”

“Hey! Twi is new to beer, remember? I wanna take it slow with her, you know?”

“All an Island Oak is gonna do is scare the poor girl off. Listen, I can appreciate an… easy beer, but Island Oak is just bland as can be. Nothing but a little barley and hops soaked in sugar water.”

“Well, pardon me, Barley," Sunset frowned. "But I happen to think it’s very tasty.” She crossed her arms and glanced back toward the restrooms. “And it’s not bland… it’s subtle. Twi can appreciate subtle.”

Barley placed a hand on his hip, “I bet she could appreciate a good strong beer too.”

“Okay, and just what would you have me give her? An EBC Stout?”

“As a matter of fact, Oh Shimmerest One, an EBC Stout would be an excellent choice. I think your girlfriend in there would favour the more complex flavour.”

“Yeah?" Sunset let her shoulders droop. "Maybe you're right.”

“Trust me, Shimmy. I'm right.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you what." Sunset softened her glare to a smirk. "After we enjoy our Island Oak, I’ll ask if she’s up for one more drink. And if she says yes, then I’ll order an EBC Stout and she can try it.”

“What can I try?” Twilight asked, appearing suddenly behind Sunset still drying her hands.

“Oh! Hey Twi, we were just discussing our next drink. We both agreed that you would just love an Island Oak lager.”

Barley had set two glasses on the counter. On her cue, he grabbed the bottle from the fridge and popped the cap.

“Why yes, dear. It’s really something. In fact, here, let me pour it for you.”

He promptly flipped the bottle fully upside down over the glass. As the drink hit the glass, the foam almost immediately expanded to spilling over the lip of the glass.

“Oh, come on!” Sunset snatched the bottle away, passing it off to Twilight. Barley handed her the glasses directly, now laughing loudly. He continued to laugh as he cleaned the mess he’d made of his bartop and the girls returned to their former seating.

“Ugh… I guess I’ll take the glass of foam.” Sunset reached a hand to Twilight, “here, let me pour your drink properly.”

Grasping the bottle from Twilight, she picked up the empty glass, tipped it and produced a perfectly headed half-glass of beer.

“I didn't know it made that much difference.”

“It makes all the difference,” Sunset pushed the drink toward Twilight and pointed at Barley. “He knows that perfectly well. I have perfected the art of producing the proper head for enjoying each drink.” She held her wasted drink in front herself. “This should be 12 oz of lager and 3 and a half of head.”

Twilight raised her glass in front of her face, taking a moment to appreciate the height and texture of the beer’s foam head. Sunset raised her own glass of foam and touched it to Twilight’s with a “Prost.”

“Well, let's take care of this frothy mess.” She shrugged and quickly downed most of the glass at once. “Bleh, barely any of beer in there.” She picked up the bottle and poured the last few ounces into her glass.

Twilight brought her own drink to her lips. With her previous drinks in mind, she was becoming increasingly confident about Sunset’s choices in beer. She took a large drink before pausing to stare at it.

“This is beer?”

“No!” Barley called back, laughing to himself.

“Shut up, Barley! Yes Twi, this is a lager. Believe it or not, this is similar in style to those Griffinstone imports.”

“What, really? But this tastes nothing like what I've had before. Not to mention, completely different from those wheat beers.”

“You’d be surprised by the diversity there is in beer. Really, it’s just as varied as tea.”

“Wow. I had no idea.” She tasted it again and nodded with a hum of satisfaction. “This one is kinda sweet and very mild.”

“I prefer to call it subtle. Can you taste the oak on it?”

Twilight closed her eyes and took a slow drink.

“Ah, there’s just a hint of it. Subtle indeed. I like that.” She brought the glass to her nose and took a deep whiff of it and wore a look of contemplation. She drank the rest of her glass, taking her time with it. “And a hint of, agave?”

Sunset was mid-drink but nodded and hummed in agreement. “Ooh, Nice catch, Twi. I guess your tea habit has given you a more sensitive palette. I admit, it took a while before I could enjoy any nuance in my beer.”

“I don’t think I’d ever choose it over one of those wheat beers. But it’s nice.” She pushed her empty glass aside.

“I’ll keep that in mind next time we go out for drinks.” Sunset smiled.

Twilight nodded and leaned back in her seat. She placed a hand gently on Sunset’s shoulder.

“Thank you, Sunny. For tonight. This is fun.”

“No need to thank me, Twi." Sunset shrugged. "I invited a friend to my favourite place to drink. That’s all.”

“No. You brought me all the way out here to share something that’s special to you,” Twilight smiled a little wider and touched Sunset’s hand, “And you’ve helped me realise some feelings that I was previously unaware of.”

“Twi..." Sunset blushed. "You don't mean?”

Twi leaned close and grabbed the girl’s glass out of her hand, stealing the last drink.

“Yeah. I actually really like beer.” She gave Sunset a brief hug and leaned back in her seat. “Thanks, Sunny.”

Sunset grinned and shook her head, wanting to laugh at herself.

“Anytime, Twi. So hey, do you think you might be up for one more drink tonight?”

Twilight hesitated before answering. She turned and glanced at the entrance which showed a dimly lit evening. She turned back toward the empty glasses and bottles on the table. “Um… Sunny? How were you planning on getting us home tonight?”

“We can save that for the morning.” She patted their comfortable seating. “Barley doesn't mind a bit.”

“Could’ve given me a warning!” Barley responded in faux annoyance.

“You knew what this was!”

Twilight glanced between the two with a giggle. It had taken all night but she’d gotten used to the rapport these two had. She touched Sunset’s shoulder.

“In that case, I would love one more drink.”

Sunset took one last sip from her glass and handed the last of it off to Twilight.

“Okay, so this next drink is gonna be really different,” she said in a careful tone.

“As much as that last one?”

“Oh yeah," Sunset's eyes were wide. "This’ll be the most… unique one of the night.”

“Well, you haven’t steered me wrong so far this evening.”

“Actually, Barley picked this next one.”

Twilight took a moment to process the thought but smiled at Sunset.

“Well, Barley seems like a good judge of character. So Let's give it a try.”

“Yeah, I guess he is. So, let me tell you about-”

“The EBC Stout” Barley cut in, now standing table-side. He set down two, properly poured glasses in front of the girls with all the flourish of a hand model. “Part of the Coffee Stout family, This top-fermented beauty offers a thicker mouthfeel and a more full body than your kiddy beers.”

Twilight just stared at the near-black beverage for a moment.

“I’m not sure what that means but it sounded inappropriate.”

“Enjoy,” Barley said grinning at Sunset.

He began gathering all the discarded glasses from their shared table. Holding the lot all at once and quickly carrying them out of sight.

“Okay, Twi. So to abbreviate what Barley said. This is a style of dark beer and Part of its grains are roasted which makes it kinda coffee-like.“

“Um, alright. I guess I’ll see.” She picked up her glass and looked up at Sunset with a quick Prost.

“Sip it!” Sunset cut in, just as Twilight press the glass to her lips.

Twilight paused just a moment longer and took a small sip. She winced. “Ugh.”

“You don’t like it?”

“Um, no. No, I think it just surprised me. You weren’t exaggerating about being coffee-like.” Twilight brought it to her lips again, paused and sipped. “It reminds me of espresso. Kind of smoky too. It’s so strange that this is also beer.”

“So… verdict?”

“I don't dislike it?” she took another sip.

“An endorsement if I've ever heard one!" Sunset rose her glass in the air. "I guess Barley was right about you. You’re taking to beer like a natural.”

“You think so?” Twilight continued, taking smaller sips each time.

Sunset nodded with a smile. Twilight, however, was slowly developing a frown.

“You okay, Twi?”

Twilight stared at her drink and took one more sip. “I’ll be honest, Sunny. At first, this seemed complex and interesting. But now it seems like each sip is getting worse. Hmm.” Twilight closed her eyes and took a larger drink. “Gah, and now it’s making me feel kind of sick to my stomach.” She quickly set her glass down and pushed it toward Sunset.

“Now that’s a bit more the reaction I had been expecting. I know it took me a while before I could fully appreciate Barley’s drink-of-choice here. And by a while, I mean years.” She laughed to herself, happily sipping the drink.

“And now," Barley called over to them in a righteous manner. "When Twilight goes to try new beers, she won’t expect them all to be sweet and fruity.”

“Um, thanks, I guess?”

“It’s what I do, sweetheart.” He curtsied.

Sunset rolled her eyes and turned back to Twilight, pointing at her partial glass.

“So, I take that to mean you’re done for the night?”

“Most definitely.”

“Okay then,” she finished off her own glass. “Might as well take care of this.” she closed her eyes and downed the rest of the glass with a shiver. “Bleh, too much at once.”

“So what now?”

“Now, it’s my turn to excuse myself. And when I get back, I’ll grab us some water.” Sunset stood up from her seat.

“I can take care of the water,” Twilight offered. She stood up with a wobble and grabbed sunset to balance herself. "Ah, sorry! I just got a little dizzy.”

“Really? Wow, Twi, you hardly drank anything and you’re already tipsy?”

“Um, I guess? Only a little though. I’m fine.”

Sunset patted her gently on the back, looking her over.

“You keep an eye on her, Barley.”

“My eyes are peeled, honey,” he replied just before disappearing through a doorway.

“Really?”

“It’s okay Sunny. Really, I'm fine.”

“Okay okay, just take a seat then. And get that water.” Sunset turned and jogged for the restrooms.

Twilight found her balance and made her way to the counter. She took a seat just as Barley reappeared.

“Well, hello there miss lightweight. Where’s miss fish?”

Twilight wasn’t actually sure if she was supposed to reply to that.

“Hey Barley, could you give me some water?”

“Of course.” He promptly held two glasses under the tap, topping them off with ice and placing them in front of her. “Drink slowly, dear.”

“Thanks, Barley.” She sipped her water silently, looking for a conversation starter. “So um, how long have you had this place?” A simple enough ice-breaker she thought.

“I actually bought this building twenty-one years ago.”

"Really...?" That was somewhat surprising to Twilight. She figured he must've started pretty early.

“And would you believe, it’s been ten years since our little Sunset first walked through those doors.”

Twilight nearly choked on her water and began coughing.

“T-ten years?”

“And I had a hell of a time believing that she was old enough to drink. At the time she barely looked fifteen.”

Twilight was still stuck on ten years.

“I’ve only known her for a little over a year, now.”

“Oh? You two seem awfully close for one year.”

“Sunset and I… understand each other.”

“That’s quite a feat, it took me years to break through that shell. Though, once you’ve had a drunken Shimmy bawling her eyes out on your bar and wailing about missing having fur. Well, that doesn’t leave many barriers up between you.”

Twilight thought back to the emotional state of Sunset when she first met her.

“Yeah, I can see that.”

“And you didn’t it hear from me, but,” he leaned in a little closer, “this is the first time she’s ever brought a friend.”

“Really? After all that time, I’m the first?” Twilight managed a blush. “I can’t even imagine. Ten years ago I was still just a kid.”

“Sweetheart, I don’t think Sunset ever stopped being a kid. A lonely kid who just needed a friend.” Barley looked thoughtful for a moment. “Now if she weren’t such a spoiled brat on top of it.”

The two laughed together and Twilight took another drink of water. “Honestly, It’s still a little weird when I remember how much older than me she actually is.”

“Yeah, that girl has a blessing or a curse. I haven’t figured out which yet.”

“Alright guys." Sunset rounded the corner. "You’ve been talking about me haven’t you?”

“Oh, just bringing up how you’re starting to look your age.”

Sunset stopped, hand hovering over her water, but after a moment she laughed sarcastically.

“Good one Barley but I just looked in a mirror. Still young and hot as ever.”

She ran a hand through her hair and took a sip of water.

“Well, if you’re as thin as ever too, I’m sure the both of you can fit on the couch together for the night.”

“Twilight can have the couch all to herself. I’ll do just fine curled up in the love-seat.”

“Sorry, lightweight, I tried.”

Barley patted Twilight on the shoulder and Sunset paused, staring over at her.

“I-I didn’t ask him about that. I don't know what-”

“It’s okay, Twi. He’s pulling your leg.”

Twilight blushed. She was starting to realise she'd become a little slow to respond and felt that lightweight may be an appropriate monicker after all.

“Well girls, on that note, I have to be here damn early in the morning and happen to be in the condition to go home, so…” He came from behind the counter and placed a hand on Twilight’s shoulder. “I’m gonna forego sharing the couch with my new best friend and go back home to my soft mattress.”

“Till morning then.” Sunset saluted and he gave her a quick hug.

“Till morning, girls.”

Twilight wasn’t sure why but she rushed forward and hugged him as well. She found she just felt really happy right now. She couldn’t think of a complaint about the day although she was having some issue with thinking.

Twilight returned to her couch and spread out and Sunset took a seat beside her.

“Yeah, I don’t blame you wanting to lie down. Those first few beers of the night always put me in the mood for bed. Though, the next few beers usually leave me too drunk to sleep… if that makes any sense to you?”

She laughed a little and looked expectantly down at Twilight, who was staring off into space.

“So, you’re pretty close to Barley?”

“Um, yeah. I guess you could say that. I think it’s been… what, eight or nine years? He was kinda my only friend for a while there.” She glanced away, rubbing the back of her head.

“Do you think we’ll still be friends in ten years?”

“Of course we will. Do you think you’ll still be drinking beer in ten years?”

“As long as it’s with you, Sunny.”


Sunset blushed, “Oh, then I’ll be sure of it. You’ll probably have better taste in drinks than Barley by then.” There was silence for a while and Sunset became the one staring off into space. “You know, Twi… ten years is a long time.”

Twilight snored in response and Sunset looked back down at her snoozing friend with a smile.

“Yeah, that’s fair… goodnight.”

Sunset caught herself staring at Twilight for a while longer before staring up at the bar. She stood up quietly and crept across the room to the front door, slid the lock open and closed the door back gently after stepping outside. A breeze rolled by and she found herself looking up at the sky.

A few drinks tended to make her more contemplative. She thought about when she first came to this world, when she first became popular at school and when she came up with her plans... she thought about when she first found this place. She couldn’t hold back from smiling as this evening’s events washed over her mind.

Sunset glanced at Twilight through the glass door and sighed as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“I love beer.”

Comments ( 11 )

...why does this have a [narcotics] tag if it is about beer?

Nevermind. Reread the tag description. That is apparently what it is for.

9118870
Because it should really, really, really be a [Substances] tag, or something like that

Entertaining story. (though I'm more like Rainbow Dash than Sunset regarding drinks)

9118875
Actually, have been discussing that very thing with Knighty/Xaq. I think the tag is misleading as-is. No worries to the author though, I think they're using it correctly.

9119024
Yeah, when I wrote a story that had drunk driving in it, I checked the criteria for the narcotics tag and used it because it qualified as abuse of alcohol. In this case the story qualifies for heavy use of alcohol, though it wouldn't have the tag it it was light use, like one scene of Sunset drinking beer or Rainbow Dash drinking alcoholic cider.

9118980
thanks
i used to be more into cider,
but now im a beer nut
hence the story

Damn, now I want a beer. I'm a stout/porter kinda guy, myself.

9119584
Right? Every time I sat down to write on this I had to grab a beer.
I'm more of a wheat beer guy if the story didn't give that away.

Prost is apparently German for cheers and Romanian for dumbass.

:twilightsmile: D'aw~. That was a cute ShipFic.

And, while I normally get a bit antsy at the OC tag (very hit-or-miss tag), I actually really liked Barley Barrel! He seemed like a cool guy to chat with about the world.

9517381
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Barley was based on a friend of mine.

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