Whew. I have returned from my travels and am glad to be back in Portland, sitting at a table with an Elysian Kama Citra. It almost tastes like a grapefruit candy; I’m not sure why I enjoy this beer (aside from its quality construction as a beer) because I generally do not like the taste of grapefruit. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that, in the end, this isn’t grapefruit but hops giving me this flavor and there’s a certain je ne se quoi about that. Could be a mental thing but I hope not. Grapefruit tastes burny and doesn’t give me a buzz.
It’s nice to be home and it’s nice to be back at Bailey’s. I can tell I’m back in the way I’m able to settle in quickly and end up having a conversation with a stranger about homebrewing. His name is Jan and he’s been doing this for about 30 years, he says. Teaches me about trisaccarides, then goes on to tell me about traveling in England, on a July 4th, back in the day.
“You used to be able to tour breweries and they’d give you free food and drinks,” he says, “so we’d stay in hostels and went through Europe on $2.17 a day.” Then he recounts going to a brewery in Burton-On-Trent and getting a free chit for the brewery’s beer, anywhere in town, for that day.
At that point, the only thing to do was to convince the Japanese tourists who were heading back to London that day to give him and his friend their unused chits. Which they did!
You can imagine the revelry, I’m sure.
“So we’re drunk and lost at two in the morning, when this nine foot shadow comes up behind us. I’m naturally more than a little startled, when I hear, ‘Can I be of any assistance to you gentlemen?’
“Turns out, it was a cop with one of those bobby hats making him look huge. I take one look at him and say, ‘We’ve lost our tent.’ ”
At this point I’m laughing so hard I can barely stay in my seat. Only in England and certainly not in this century could a story like this happen.
“Cop says, ‘I believe I can assist you with that,’ and he takes us back to our tent. Makes sure we’re safe and settled in and then asks us, ‘Would you like coffee or tea, tomorrow?’
‘Coffee,’ I say because…” and I nod. What else are you going to ask for?
“Well the next day, sure as hell, cop shows up about 9 am, after his shift, two coffees in hand. ‘Happy 4th of July,” he says.”
Man, I love going to the pubs.