By Jimmy ‘Two Chin’ Chamberlain

Prison. We all wind up there eventually. Whether it’s tampering with the neighbor’s mail, burning down daycare centers, or just committing good old fashioned manslaughter, one thing’s for sure: We sure miss our craft beer when we’re locked up behind bars. 

It’s unfortunate that only when we’re deprived of our favorite majestic, hoppy flavors do we really appreciate the value of our freedom to drink craft. Nothing keeps a convict up late at night in their cell quite like knowing there’s an ice cold, frothy pint of peanut butter chocolate nitro milk stout that they won’t get to put to their chapped, felon lips for at least another seventeen years, all because of a little human trafficking. But while the simple pleasures of finally reading classic Russian literature, savoring the creaminess of canned corn, and shanking the new guy to prove your allegiance to the Aryan brotherhood are able to get us through life behind bars one day at a time, any convict will tell you that they’d trade it all away in a heartbeat for just one sip of a tantalizing banana pancake batter porter. 

To remind you why you should cherish your time away from the pen and celebrate every day you haven’t been convicted of the crime you’ll inevitably be caught for, we interviewed nine prison inmates to hear why not being able to drink craft beer is their biggest regret in life. So before you launder that cocaine money or press the denominator button to explode that federal building you’ve had your eye on for years, just remember these sorrow accounts of craft beer remorse: 

1) ‘Itchy’ Richie Witherspoon

Penitentiary: Cook County Jail, Illinois 

Serving: Twenty-three years for eleven counts of vehicular manslaughter 

Nickname Origin: Severe scabies symptoms 

Favorite Prison Pastime: Scratching his arms and legs 

“Man, I’d give ANYTHING for just one sip, one friggin’ sip, of a frosty mug of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.. Mmmm… Just thinking about it really helps me understand how wrong I was for brutally running over all those mall pedestrians on that fateful day, nine years ago. Tell you what though, no friggin’ way am I gonna jeopardize my freedom to drink an ice cold Two Hearted ever again, believe me! I’ve learned my lesson.”

2) Johnny ‘No Toes’ Gilmore

Penitentiary: Harris County Jail, Texas

Serving: Eight years for thirty-three counts of indecent exposure

Nickname Origin: Born without toes on right foot

Favorite Prison Pastime: Counting the bars of all the cells

“Craft beer? What’ya friggin’ kiddin’ me?? I think about it all the friggin’ time here! If I knew how bad I’d be craving a Summit Extra Pale Ale, I would’ve stayed clear of all those friggin’ middle schools! Boy, I really screwed up, huh? I could be out there, bellied up at the bar, admiring the subtle hops and bitterness of a Surly Furious, watching the ball game, chomping on mozzarella sticks. But no… Instead I’m here… And I only have myself to blame.” 

3) Anthony ‘Butter Ball’ Wilkins

Penitentiary: Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, Kansas 

Serving: Thirteen years for three counts of ambulance theft 

Nickname Origin: As a child, loved rolling butter into little balls and leaving them around the house for siblings and parents to unexpectedly come across

Favorite Prison Pastime: Quoting Tolstoy 

“Honestly, I get pretty darn peeved when I think about all the craft beers I could’ve drank in the past couple years instead of being locked up in this stupid place. When I was a kid, I used to love rolling sticks of butter up into little balls and leaving them around the house for my brothers and sisters and parents to find. It brought me joy, and the only thing that’s really made me happy since has been the taste of a malty, but not too tangy, hazy IPA. I should’ve never stolen those ambulances.” 

4) Carla ‘Sporky the Pig’ Williams

Penitentiary: Idaho Correctional Center, Idaho 

Serving: Life sentence for eighty-nine counts of voter fraud

Nickname Origin: Only eats pork products with a spork

Favorite Prison Pastime: Rock, paper, scissors 

“I remember my first craft beer like it was danged yesterday! It was a can of Founders’ All Day IPA, and the second I smelled dem hops, I told myself, ‘Carla! If you ever get caught committing eighty-nine counts of voter fraud, I will never forgive you’. Then, of course, what do I do?? I go out and commit me eighty-nine counts of voter fraud. Dang it, I’m so STUPID!!! Now how am I ever gonna drink me some Founders’ All Day IPAs again, hmm? Hmm??? Never, that’s when.” 

5) Jacob ‘Baby’s Breath’ Buckingham

Penitentiary: Rikers Island Correctional Facility, New York 

Serving: Twenty-six years for eleven counts of kidnapping and child endangerment 

Nickname Origin: Assesses which children he abducts based on the quality and freshness of their breath 

Favorite Prison Pastime: Recounting names of famous child actors between every pull-up rep

“I often ask myself, ‘Jacob… Why’d you take all them angel-breathed babies??’ And honestly, the only answer I can come up with is because that was the only thing holding me back from stealing six-pack after six-pack of quality hefeweizens from the liquor store down the street! I mean, heck, if it ain’t babies, it sure as hell gon’ be quality hefeweizens that I’m gon’ get my hands on! I mean, I didn’t hurt the babies or nothin’, you know, I’m not an animal. I fed ‘em, took ‘em for walks, sang ‘em lullabies before bed, you know, everything you’re ‘posed to do with ‘em. But, anyway, yeah, really stinks I can’t have no craft beer anymore ‘cause I took all ‘em babies. Well… Reap what ya sow, huh?” 

6) Mikey ‘Smelly Smell’ Snelling 

Penitentiary: Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Indiana 

Serving: Seven years on two counts of daycare arson 

Nickname Origin: Refused to wear deodorant when going on dates; last name rhymes with ‘smell’ 

Favorite Prison Pastime: Abstaining from personal hygiene 

“Come here. Come close. Come on, come closer. Closer… Closer… Look, I’m not gonna bite ya! Just come here for a second, come here. Listen to me. You listening? Listen to me… You gotta get me outta here. Okay? You gotta.. I gotta get outta here, okay? Listen… I’m not doing so good, okay? I’m not, you know… Old ‘Smelly Smell’ Snelling ain’t holding up so great inside here, okay? The inmates, they’re… They’re animals! Always saying, ‘Hey Smelly Smell, where ya goin??’ or ‘Smelly Smell, I knew that was you walking by!’ or sometimes ‘Smelly Smell, get back here!’ and, and, and… I can’t take it! I just wanna be alone, okay? I just wanna be left alone… All alone… Nobody to smell me, or shame me, or… Man, I’d kill for a can of cream ale…” 

7) Walter ‘The Dude’ Jebrowski 

Penitentiary: Holman Correctional Facility, Alabama 

Serving: Fourteen years for three counts armed hostage and one count impersonating a federal officer 

Nickname Origin: Relentlessly quotes the 1998 film ‘The Big Lebowski’ any chance he gets 

Favorite Prison Pastime: See above 

“You know, ‘lotta the guards here man, they’re so aggressive, man, and I always tell ‘em, I say, ‘This aggression will not stand, man!’ You know?! And my cellmate, I mean, talk about a pederast… Eight-year-olds dude… Eight-year-olds… Catch my drift? And, I mean, yeah, before I was here, you know, I was always bowling, sippin’ white Russian imperial stouts, and people would bump into me and I’d say, ‘Careful man, there’s a beverage here!’ You know?? And nowadays, people say to me, the inmates are always saying to me, ‘Gee, Walter, can’t you quote any other movie other than a movie that’s spawned an entire generation of mundane milquetoasts to latch onto in an attempt to project some assemblance of personality?’ And I says to ‘em, I says, ‘Well… That’s just, like… Your opinion, man.’” 

8) Sarah ‘Pizza Sauce’ Swanson

Penitentiary: Maricopa County Jail, Arizona 

Serving: Death sentence for twelve counts of first-degree murder 

Nickname Origin: Rumored to use her victims’ blood as a substitute for tomato sauce when making pizza at home 

Favorite Prison Pastime: Chanting Christmas carols while whittling prison shanks

“Craft beer?? Pssssh, you’re telling me. When I was on the outside, I always paired my personal pizza pies with whatever the clerk at the booze store down the street recommended to me. Sometimes a nice sour, sometimes a good Belgium. Mexican lagers, oh boy, I love me a good Mexican lager. Anything that quenched my thirst after a long day of making my personal pizza pies. Say… You know what the secret to making an incredible personal pizza pie is? Human’s blood. Swear to friggin’ god.” 

9) Peter ‘Free Bird’ Douglas 

Penitentiary: Reeves County Detention Complex, Texas

Serving: Four years for seven counts of wire transfer embezzlement and wildlife poaching

Nickname Origin: Would yell ‘WHOOO, FREE BIRD’ after every fraudulent telecommunication act and illegal animal theft he committed 

Favorite Prison Pastime: Performing acapella versions of the guitar solo in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’