What if you found yourself a thousand miles from home, with nothing but the kindness of strangers, and the beer they bestowed upon you, to comfort you in your hour of need?
Would you hold up?
Would you gird up your loins and take deep breaths and soak up the majesty of this fine land? Would you be sufficiently able to appreciate and respect the unforseen, the unplanned, the heretofore unknown path and revel in the newness and uncertainty of it?
Or would you wilt and suffer in it?
This intrepid blogger, quite involuntarily, had to walk this path and determine this through the only way that an individual truly can. He had to live it. He had to walk this road and determine, upon emergence at the terminus of the path, whether he was better or worse for wear.
This, friends, is my story.
I spent this past week on travel, for work, in beautiful Dallas, Texas. It was “July in Texas” warm, which is to say, it was hotter than butts stuffed up inside of other butts, the way that mozzarella gets sometimes stuffed inside of a pizza crust. But, as they say, a “dry heat.”
The week included meetings, and Uber rides, and Mexican and Thai food, and even an MLB game.
A game in which I partook of a local Texas Amber and another local IPA. They were both delicious, by delicious, meaning, they were cold and caused me to feel less sober than I did at the onset of each one. Because ultimately, that’s the thing, right there.
Our journey home is where things took a turn.
This trip, meant to be from Dallas, to a connecting flight in Boston, and then on to Syracuse, did not go as planned. An audible was called. Thunderstorms, and the kindly guidance of friends in the airline industry, suggested and then imposed the revised itinerary of a detour through Chicago.
It did not go as planned.
Luckily, we made friends. And not just the pleasant, pass the time making idle chit chat type of friends, but “friends with benefits.”
(Bloggers’ note: Non sexual benefits.)
Our new friends, Syracuse residents like ourselves, on business travel also, suggested we share an Uber downtown, as we all called the same “take the train” audible in the absence of concrete air travel plans. “Come,” they said, “live with us, in forests of azure,” to paraphrase the Lizard King himself. In this case, this non travel detour included a couple of key highlights. One being delicious local Chicago pizza (not “Deep Dish Pizzer,” a la the Bill Swerski Super Fans show), and another being local Chicago beers.
This, my friends, is the Revolution Brewing “Eugene Robust Porter.” I cannot tell you what the brewmasters may have intended, not without internet, but I can tell you that it’s a classic porter style beer, dark and rich and yet smooth and satisfying. Like watching a lumberjack bleed out into the snow while humming a CSNY song.
Somehow, my 14 hour detour of a train ride home included these two things.
And yet, wait. The story gets better.
“Come with us,” my new friends implored. “Take advantage of the hospitality of our employer, we have a fully stocked bar.” These fantastic sassy Chicago/Syracuse gals happened to work for an organization that feels (rightfully, mayhaps) that the best way to ensure their employees’ happiness is to keep them fully stocked with not only beer, and wine, but a vending machine full of free dental supplies.
We felt the need to “pre game” this 14 hour bus ride. On account of the fact that, well, we didn’t have a ton else to do, and the price was right. So we dipped into the “office stash.”
The beer on the right is a Ballast Point “sculpin IPA.” I have knocked back my fair share of these. Grapefruit, tangerine, and others. They all go down nice, like a free beer should.
The beer on the left is a 10% kick ass “double IPA.” My travelling companion, not being the drunk-tional beer blogger sort, found this one to be a bit strong for his liking. I gave it a proper home.
This next one was another “Revolution” brewery beer. I do not have a specific recollection of it, having knocked most of it back in the very brief interval of waiting for my third Uber of the day (from my new besties’ work to the train station).
We headed off to the train station.
But not before getting a couple of brewskis for the long ride home (seriously, how great is my new friends’ work fridge? I might have to update my resume when I get home).
Part 2 to be posted shortly, and, by shortly, I mean, over the next 13 hours of train travel and sneaky IPA drinking. Plus, we have leftover pizza left to consume. So much left to tell!