Other drink adventures of note from the weekend.
Yes, it took me until Thursday to finish this post.
We start, as always, with Friday evening. Instead of our usual cocktail adventures, the Lady Friend and I headed out to the Union Brewhouse to meet up with former MNCC drinking powerhouse Brent, who was back in town for a weekend visit. He had previously spent several months working (and drinking) in Boston with my former company and became a cornerstone of our cocktail crew before relocating back to Milwaukee, and now, Washington DC. The weekend plan was to revisit all of our old haunts and have a grand day of nostalgic boozing.
So, following our respective work days, we met up at the Brewhouse. Former coworker Tower (Towah) was there, as was the current office trainee (she’s from Missurah) and another girl from the DC office, Kruppcakes. The Lady Friend and I looked like pros as we readied our 99 Beer lists for the next conquests: Maine Beer Company’s Peeper Ale for me and a Newcastle Brown Ale for she. After one round, we decided to have a quick second brew while Towah was still there (he’s got one of those baby creatures now and doesn’t get out much anymore) so the Lady Friend wound up with a Samuel Smith Strawberry Ale, while I snagged a Saranac Big Moose Ale. Once she found out that Samuel Smith, an English brewery, is known for their nut brown ale and oatmeal stout, she was less than excited about the strawberry brew. Chick beer.
We bounced out of the Brewhouse with the intention of changing clothes before heading into the city for the Narraganset Bock release party (Drink the Goat!) at Stoddard’s. Missurah offered to drive, and was supposed to pick us up shortly. Which turned into over an hour wait. Apparently the girls went back to their apartment, snacked on some sandwiches, and Kruppcake decided that she needed a nap. Without informing us. Nice. Thanks for that. In the meantime, Leelz was already heading towards Stoddard’s with the intention of meeting us there. So, we wound up getting to the event about two hours late, leaving Leelz in a lurch, and I didn’t get to see a few industry types that I had intended to introduce myself to. On the plus side, the bocks were plentiful and cheap ($3 tall boys) and Brent even managed to use his schmoozing skills to score us some Gansett tshirts from a reluctant Stoddard’s toadie who was going to store the extras downstairs “for another time” rather than giving them out as intended. What a little tool.
Then it was Saturday, the grand event. After the fiasco with the girls the previous night, we set our plans and let them decide if they were coming along or not, instead of relying on them in any way. In the end, they left their car at the T (which the DC people endlessly referred to as the “Metro”) and we all drove into the city, parking in the Lady Friend’s very convenient garage spot across from Harpoon Brewery. That parking spot might be the reason we’re still romantically involved, due to our frequent visits to Harpoon. Securing places on the noon-thirty tour, we set about enjoying the Harpoon-ness, which started with a sample of the UFO White, and, as a change of pace, included a taste of the Celtic Ale, unfiltered and straight from the tank, instead of the usual IPA. A lovely surprise. The tasting time after the tour had some nice offerings I hadn’t gotten to before, including the finished, filtered Celtic Ale, West Coast Pale Ale (with an English bitter hop style, unlike its name), 100 Barrel Series Black IPA (very nice, Brent took two bombers back to DC), Leviathan Imperial IPA (always tasty), Leviathan Barleywine (not too malty) and the original Harpoon Ale, their first brew. The Ale was a simple amber ale, pleasing if unremarkable, but as the tour guides pointed out, when first released in 1987 it was considered “extreme beer” compared to the macrobrewed adjunct lagers on the market at the time. It was on hiatus for the past several years, and is now back for the time being (at least on the tour), though I don’t know what the future availability will be.
Post-Harpoon, the group sauntered down Seaport Blvd. to the Atlantic Beer Garden for lunch, as is our usual tradition after visiting Harpoon. Good food and a well-thought out craft beer list make it a great stop when in the Seaport District. Be warned: some of the selections, such as Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp and Rogue Dead Guy Ale are actually served in 22oz bombers. Not that it’s a bad thing, but there’s no indication of that on the menu, so double-check with your server if you’re expecting a 12oz bottle.
The other members of the group went with a pitcher of the Samuel Adams Brick Red Ale, as its limited availability (only on tap in Boston) made for a good novelty for the foreigners. Despite the grotesque price ($18… blow me, Boston) it went over well with the group, and I settled with a Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale to pair with my BBQ chicken sangwich.
We made our way over to South Station to jump on the T for our next destination. Brent delighted in showing the girls the grasshopper mural in Park St station, the oldest subway in the country. The grasshopper references the weathervane on top of Faneuil Hall, and served as a test to discover British spies. We caught our dreaded Green Line train (it’s always jammed full) and got off at Copley while the girls rode onwards to visit Bleacher Bar in Fenway. Brent, the Lady Friend, and I however headed through Copley Square down Boylston to Whiskey’s, a past favorite of Brent’s. Cheap bar food specials and plenty of beer gave us many drunken memories several years, ago, so it was time to revisit. We met up with another friend and fellow drinking companion, KFlynn, and relaxed with beers and snacks, eventually being joined by Tresstastic and her boyfriend Josh. The girls finished up over at Fenway and rendezvoused as well, right around the time KFlynn headed out for other plans.
The rest of us headed for what was supposed to be a pleasant stroll down Boylston and Boston Common to The Purple Shamrock, paying a visit to Jackie the bartender. With three males and four females, naturally troubles started to arise, mostly in the form of complaints about the cold weather (it was about 35 degrees, warm for February, but the Lady Friend refuses to wear a hat) and bathroom needs. The first plaintive cry of “I have to pee!” started about a block after our departure from Whiskey’s, joined soon thereafter by the rest of the women folk. By this time, we’ve passed the fast food bathroom havens of Copley Square and are heading into the park to cut diagonally up towards the burger joints of Tremont, when Tresstastic insists that “the bar we met my friend at that time for a pub crawl” was straight ahead towards Emerson and Chinatown. She was referring to Beantown Pub, which is actually up Tremont past Park St. I’m certain of this as I am decently sober at this point (more so than most of the group), had been there many times, and had even been there about two weeks ago with the Lady Friend’s parents. She refused to believe me, naturally, and then the Lady Friend started in asking why we were heading through the park, and didn’t I know she had to pee. Yes, I understand that. I’m trying to get us to the bathrooms near Park St as quickly as possible. She had her drunken stubbornness gear engaged, and also began to insist that the correct way was to continue down Boylston. Sigh. Like herding drunken cats. Despite the protests, we continued diagonally through the park in as straight a path as possible, and eventually reached a UBurger where all the concerned parties were able to relieve themselves. From “I don’t have to pee” to “panic mode” during a ten minute walk. I hate women.
Crisis averted with all pants remaining unsoiled, we continued on our way, past Beantown Pub, and reached the safe house of the Purple Shamrock. Brent reunited with Jackie, and we set about drinking the night away. Tresstastic abandoned her original plan of taking the train home because she wanted to dance, a decision spurred largely by the arrival of yet another drinking pal, Shaw, and his wife, Lady Shaw. They had just returned from a tropical vacation, and made a stealthy entrance at the bar, much to the delight of Brent. Somewhere around midnight, the girls decided they would take the T home, and left without asking for directions or instructions. This was the second time in the city for both of them, the first time being the night before at Stoddard’s, so I’m not sure why in their drunken state they thought they’d just magically happen upon the T station. Brent, the Lady Friend and I cabbed back to the parking garage, and no sooner had we gotten in the car, sure enough, Brent’s phone started ringing. The girls were lost. And yelling at us because somehow it was our fault.
To recap: it was our fault that they were lost, in a city they’d never been to. I’m trying to drive and they’re asking what to do. Um, I don’t know. Where are you? They don’t know. Ask somebody where the nearest T stop is? The guy they asked doesn’t know. Turn on your phone’s GPS? They can’t while still on the phone. Hang up and turn it on? No, they don’t want to do that. Holy Jeebus. I’m out of ideas. Flag down a cab, have him take you to the nearest T and hit the Red Line from there? Apparently that worked, because they hung up, and we didn’t hear back. Just incredible.
The next morning, Brent, the Lady Friend and I discussed the various adventures of the previous night. I’m still not sure why the girls didn’t just ride back to Braintree with us, but they were adamant about taking the T. We relaxed and chatted until Missurah came to pick up Brent, and deliver Kruppcakes and him at Logan for their flight back to DC. The Lady Friend went off on various shopping errands, and I went up to Slumerville to the Irish Lad and Wifey’s house. And Zero too. The Irish Lad and I had brewed two smash (single malt and single hop) beers, one with amarillo hops, the other calypso. We’re exploring the differences between individual hops, and both brews were ready to bottle. Another couple weeks of bottle conditioning and they’ll be ready to drink. But that is a story for another time.