Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Road Trip

In the wake of the horrible incidents that recently occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday, I would like to tell a story of the first and only time I visited Boston... to shed some positive light on such a cool and historic city. This road trip occurred in early March, just over a month ago. Not having a car, I was invited to join in this epic adventure by my good friend and former roommate +Dan Grist aka Dan the Man. Accompanying me and Dan were Dan's two roommates Ian aka Dr. Love and John, as well as Ian's girlfriend Maureen (Mo).
John, Dan the Man, and Mo
The best part of this road trip, or at least the most character-building, was the fact that all 5 of us were making this 9 hour journey in Dan's Honda Civic, dubbed the Silver Bullet on a previous trip to Key West. Needless to say, we were all very cozy.
The Gang
The main catalyst behind this journey was Dr. Love (wearing the VT hat above) as he was originally from New England and had lots of friends and family to visit up there. Dan and John are both in pharmacy school at VCU in Richmond, and this week was their spring break. What better way to spend spring break than to head north? So the four of them scooped me up in Fredericksburg on their way north from Richmond, about 3 pm on Friday, March 1st. I was a tiny bit bummed to be leaving 909 that evening because I had organized a Laughing Dog Tap Takeover... and I knew we were going to be pouring some awesome beers. However, that worry was quickly dispelled as I learned that our first stop when we got into Mass was going to be the Armsby Abbey, a renowned craft beer bar in Worcester, MA.
The Beer List at Armsby Abbey
Luckily, we made it to the Abbey before last call and managed to snag a couple delicious brews. Ian happened to know the bartender Kyle, and he talked to us for quite a while about beer. New England folks definitely know their beers! We left the Abbey just before 2 am, and wearily trudged on to Ian's friend Truman's house, where we would be crashing for the night. Truman had recently had a baby, so we were warned to keep it down as we entered the house so as to not wake him. Truman greeted us in the snow covered driveway with beers and hugs, and we proceeded to stay up and socialize til about 3:30 or so. Then we were warned that his kid would be up in about 4 hours (if not sooner), banging and yelling and playing with all the toys in the living room, which was where John, Dan and I were sleeping.
Truman's kid
Sure enough, at exactly 7 am... I heard noises only a 1 year old could make, lots of banging of plastic toys, and Truman laughing in the background. John seemed to be able to sleep through the commotion, but Dan and I were both fully awake and watching the little guy play with a bunch of awesome toys... including a pirate ship car that was big enough for him to sit on and ride. Thankfully Truman felt our pain, and brought Dan and I freshly made pancakes in bed, err couch. Something was missing. A beverage! Two cold beers to go with the pancakes. Much better. Nothing like starting Saturday morning at 7 am with a beer in your hand. Thankfully, that beer put me right back to sleep and I didn't rouse off the couch until after 10. Dan did not enjoy the same comforts, and instead joined Truman and Chubs (a friend of Truman's and Ian's) in the hot tub outside. From what I've heard, there's nothing quite as awesome as being in the hot tub when there's snow on the ground... but I'll have to take their word for it. Then Dan and Truman started up a game of beer pong, or Beirut as they call it in New England.
Truman playing Beirut as Chubs watches
The games continued outside for hours, with various people attempting to knock Truman off the table. Eventually Ian and Mo woke up and came down from the guest bedroom and joined everyone outside. Later that afternoon we grilled some burgers and dogs, and drank more beer until about 3 or 4. Mo was our DD so she admirably abstained. Eventually we drove into Worcester and hung out at McSorley's house (a guy that had joined us for the cookout) who also happened to be Kyle the bartender's roommate. The other 2 members of the house were attending a Whale tasting however, and weren't there. Side note: A Whale tasting is a tasting of very rare beers from your beer cellar, called a whale tasting because the rarity of these beers is comparable to that of a white whale. While hanging at this house in Worcester, more beer was drank, pizza was ordered, and a great time was had by all. My good friend Corrinne Lauze who lives near Worcester and went to school with me at Mary Washington, met us there and hung out for many hours.
Corrinne is always smiling :)
Finally, we left Worcester and headed towards Boston... saying our goodbyes to the Worcester folks, except for Chubs who was joining us on the next leg of the journey. We headed into the Cambridge area, to meet up with a few of Dr. Love's friends while we waited on his younger brother to get off work. Ian's brother is a cop and was therefore referred to as "Officer Love." We met Ian's friends at the Cambridge Brewing Company, our first brewery of the trip. It was a very cool, homey place, with tons of good beers. Dan and I had been drinking since 7 am though, so we did our best to pace ourselves. We split a pitcher of the Spring Training IPA and admired the cool artwork on the walls.
The people you might see at CBC
 After a few more beers at CBC, Officer Love arrived and we all went down to Lord Hobo's just down the road... since the brewery seemed to close earlier than the surrounding bars. While there I had my first taste of Short's Brewing Co. I had a Vanilla Porter, and it was to DIE for!! I can only describe it as a melted candy bar, in beer form. Delicious. Unfortunately Short's is only distributed in Michigan, and the only reason we were able to find it, was because there was some left over from Extreme Beer Fest (EBF) that was held 2 weeks prior but canceled due to the massive snowstorm that hit the area. I had heard about Short's from my buddy +Will who helps me run the 909 Beer Club back in Fredericksburg, and has pretty much revolutionized my knowledge of beer. If Will get's excited about a beer, then you KNOW it's good.  
The Beer of the Gods
Since we knew it was impossible to follow that beer up with anything... we headed back to Officer Love's place to crash. It was also last call so we didn't have much of choice. We had a big day ahead of us... I had arranged for us to get a private tour of Smuttynose Brewery in Portsmouth, NH so we were waking up early and driving 45 minutes, to drink more beer! Dan, John, and Dr. Love all brew their own beer at their apartment in Richmond, so they were especially excited about this opportunity. This adventure was soo epic, that I will have to describe it in length in a separate blog post... coming soon! Stay tuned for more awesome adventures of the Brewkeeper in Boston (and surrounding areas).

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