Sheldon Lesire’s family has become dear to my own since Kate, Molly, and I moved to Silverton five years ago. The Lesires radiate joy, humor, creativity, and kindness. Sheldon and I call one another our “best new friend.” And so I’ve watched with no small measure of pride and excitement as Sheldon, a Special Education teacher by day, has patiently built an acclaimed brewing business on evenings and weekends. Belgian Underground Brewing uses handcrafted Belgian-style beer to help collect, preserve, and share stories of the Belgian Resistance during the Nazi occupation. (His grandfather was an active member.) To satisfy some of my own lingering curiosities—and to get more information about their recently launched Kickstarter campaign—I did something unusual: I did a “formal” interview with a close friend. Sheldon and I talked about “Slow Beer,” his Belgian heritage, the urgency of memory-keeping, and the process of growing a brewery. By coincidence, I’m publishing this interview on his birthday.
I’m half-Belgian. I was born in the same hospital that my father was, in a town called Hasselt in northeastern Belgium. His father, my Opa, was part of the Belgian Resistance in World War Two.… Read the rest