During the mind-crushing stress of finals week, a mythical creature haunts Oberlin. Preferring to keep his or her identity a mystery, this spirit wanders through Mudd Library when students are at their wits’ end, distributing cold cans of alcoholic relief to those most in need. This week, the Review had a special interview with the enigmatic Beer Fairy to find out the secrets associated with this Oberlin tradition.
What’s the Beer Fairy all about? What do you do?
During reading period, late at night, after midnight usually, when the staff in the library has left and there’s only one person left, I have a backpack full of beer — of PBR. I walk around the library. I usually try to find people that are secluded, like in the dark crevices in back of a study carrel. I walk up to them, pull out a beer, give it to them and say, “Would you like a beer?”
PBR is your beer of choice?
Oh, yeah. Can’t have anything other than cold PBR. I take great pride in the fact that it’s very cold when I hand it out.
When did you become the Beer Fairy?
My sibling started it when she went to this school seven or eight years ago. She started doing it her freshman year and did it every semester she was here. She told me that I had to carry on the tradition and continue the family Beer Fairy experience.
How old are you in fairy years?
What is that, like times 12? 700 years old.
Do you plan to leave an heir?
Yeah. I usually take along an assistant on the Beer Fairy trip at the end of the semester. The assistant will carry on the tradition.
Can you explain why you choose to remain anonymous and how you feel about the legend surrounding your exploits?
It’s crucial that people don’t know who I am. They would start telling me that I need to find them in the library and hand beer out to them. Also, I am carrying a copious amount of alcohol in my backpack while I’m underage in the library. It’s just not the kind of thing I want to publicize.
Have you had any problems with security or library staff?
None at all. One time, I walked up to someone and he looked down the aisle and saw me coming towards him. I didn’t know the kid at all. He looked right me, and I kind of saw this moment of realization that came across his face. A big smile. He says, “No way! I’ve heard so much…You’re the Beer Fairy?” He started flipping out. He got up and gave me a huge hug. He was so happy!
And one time I came up to a girl and pulled a beer out of my jacket and asked her, “Do you want a beer? You’re looking stressed out.” She says, “Thanks for the offer, but I have my own.” She moves some books away and on the study carrel she has three beers! In a line! She was good.
When you’re handing out beers, do you wear any kind of disguise or go incognito? Do you wear a fairy costume?
No, I do not wear a fairy costume. That’s a little too conspicuous. I try to blend in. Sometimes in the winter I’ll wear a Santa Claus hat. And, you know, at Oberlin something like that seems pretty normal. I don’t wear a disguise or a mask or anything like that.
Have you started the Beer Fairy’s rounds yet, or are you waiting until reading period?
I usually wait until reading period. I think that the library would be a much more enjoyable place if everyone were drinking beer all the time.
Do you ID students when you’re handing out beers?
No, (laughs) students are bound by the Honor Code.