Well, my “Spring Break” is now more than half way over, boy the time sure does fly.
I’ve had a decently productive Spring Break thus far, I put in one entire day on my brief at the law school, wrote an essay, worked on my brief some more, and am about 80% done with the reading I need to have completed by Monday. I still have a big SPO project that hasn’t even been touched yet, and my brief partner is remaining just enough of a thorn in my side to remind me that the brief still needs a lot of work. So, I’m sort of coming to that point where I realize that I likely won’t get everything I wanted to get done on Spring Break accomplished. But that’s ok, my defense is that it is technically a “break,” even in in reality it isn’t. The main issue has been finding enough time to research summer housing, that is uh.. kind of important, and I’m not making much headway with it.
Outside of school stuff, the break goes well. I’ve been getting more sleep, which oddly isn’t making me feel much better, I think its partially because I haven’t been sleeping super well. My leg pain has been elevated lately, not entirely sure why. SB and I have also had more time to spend together, which is always nice. I haven’t got as much video game time in as I would likely, namely because my friends’ Spring Breaks didn’t line up with mine, for figure. But, some video game time is definitely better than no video game time.
This past Friday SB and I went out to b.Good again, which was just as tasty this time around.
SB went with the West-Side (avocado, cilantro, fresh salsa, chipotle puree, lime) with chicken this time, and I tried out El Guapo (Bacon, homemade jalapeno ranch, lettuce, tomato, onion) and we shared some sweet potato fries again. Since I highlighted how all the food is local last time, this time I wanted to focus on their sauces a bit more.
In addition to all the yummy, locally-sourced sauce that they actually put on the sandwiches, they also offer mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise. However, if you are looking for Heinz, you’re out of luck. These are all location-made condiments, and they are really good! I’m probably most fond of the mustard overall, but I’d take any of them over their mass-market counterparts any day. My guess is that there are no preservatives in them, so they wouldn’t sell well as a b.Good line outside the store.
After b.Good it was off for treats and beer. I got another Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA as well as some Bud Light Platinum. I loved the 90, so I figured why not get another bottle. The Platinum I got since it was cheap and helped me justify playing 3.50$ for a 90, but also because I tried it when it first came out and thought it was horrible. Well, I haven’t drank the 90 yet (but we know it will be good anyways) but the Platinum was nothing special. It wasn’t as bad as I remember it being, but its not really “unique” enough compared to regular Bud Light to justify its own special little beer blurb style format. If you were curious what Beer Advocate has to say though, click here (Spoiler: They don’t like it). However, not all was repetition in the beer world. During part of my then-failed hunt for the other Dogfish Head IPAs (more on that below) I decided to try a sour ale from the Wine and Cheese Cask. I have never had a sour ale before, and I saw this bottle (right on the heels of failing to find the 120) and was like “I must have this.” so I bought just that one bottle, which didn’t seem to please the cashier, or maybe he was just an asshat, probably a bit of both.
First up, this stuff packs a punch. No, its not that strong as far as ABV goes, only 5.5%. What I mean is that it packs a sour punch, with a refreshing fruity after-taste. I was very impressed by this beer (even SB liked it, after some initial “I-don’t-know-what-to-think” reservations). If you are curious “Flemish” is the Dutch language spoken in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium. So this is a Belgium ale, just from a specific region. The sour element though, is quite unlike anything I’ve had before. This isn’t just a fruity sour, this is also soured-type of taste. Which might make you think it sounds bad, but it really wasn’t (use SB as a baseline, since she is less eccentric than I when it comes to beers, by a long-shot). This beer is a Oud Bruin (a brown beer from Flanders) which has been through a souring process, which results from the kind of cultured yeast used. There is nothing dangerous about this beer, which might make you nervous since its technically “soured” (e.g. soured-milk) but in fact it opens up an entirely new element to the beer’s taste, smell, and mouth-feel. While not quite on the level of the Dogfish 90 I recently had, this is still one of the better beers I’ve had in awhile and I would definitely recommend it, don’t let the “sour” aspect scare you, its probably more sanitary than your chemical-laden drinking water. 😉
Oh, and yeah, we got more snow. Remember how I was just talking about snow? Well, we ended up breaking the record after all. On Sunday we had a short-lived, but quite intense, snow storm that sent us to infamy.
Now that its happened, I’m ok with it. But boy, talk about timing. They’ve been reliably recording snowfall in Boston since 1872. Which means this is the most it has snowed in at least 143 years. So put it another way, when SB and I moved out there, there was a .007% chance (or less) that this would be the record breaking year. Talk about (un)luck. Of course Spring is almost here, at least the date Spring begins on, we’ve been having some very un-Spring like temperatures (and snow) thus far though. Hopefully that turns around soon. This is the most snow I have ever seen in my life and I’m ready for a change. For my Indiana people, the most snow ever recorded anywhere in Indiana was 58.2″. So yeah.
[Post-Winter Update: Here is an update – Boston’s final snow total was 110.6″ for the year, which included a myriad of other record breaking stats, such as the fastest accumulation of 72″ of snow – 18 days.]
My Spring Break also encompassed St. Patrick’s day! While I am generally not into the Irish-mania we have here in the U.S. of A, where everyone and their mother claims to be 110% Irish, I do like excuses to drink good beer. Which brings us to the next stage of this blog post:
Taco’s Beer Adventure
Do not build this up in your head, it is not anything amazing. But it was an adventure in my book. And yes, we are back to talking about beer for the second time in the same post, I say again, deal with it. 😛
So remember how I’ve basically been raving about Dogfish Head throughout a myriad of blog posts lately? And how I started my quest to drink all four members of their legendary IPA quartet? Well, I’ve made progress AND I’ve learned something kind of big.
There are not four Dogfish Head IPAs, there are five.
If you remember correctly, here is the legendary Dogfish Head line-up as I believed it to be:
60 Minute IPA – 6% ABV
75 Minute IPA – 7.5% ABV
90 Minute IPA – 9% ABV
120 Minute IPA – 15-20% ABV
Well, it turns out that there is a “weird half-brother” to the quartet above, Dogfish Head Sixty-One. Yes, Sixty-One, not 61, but Sixty-One spelled out. I’ll explain why its spelled out later.
In addition to learning that the quadruplets were in fact quintuplets, I learned about more about the mythical “God Among Beers” the 120 Minute IPA. Turns out, that shit is as much as 13$ for ONE TWELVE OUNCE BOTTLE. Yes, 1300 PENNIES FOR 12OZ OF BEER. Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t have it, oh I shall. Beer is literally the only thing I treat myself to anymore besides a date night with SB. So its really the only “me me me” thing I have. [For disclosure, I haven’t paid money for a video game in years, I ask for gift cards at Christmas and buy so few video games that I don’t even use up all the card before the next Christmas, its a good system because it allows me to buy games I never would otherwise because of the money, same goes for comics, there is no way I can afford them right now, so I ask for them at Christmas!] So I will have the 120 minute IPA. But I’m going to wait until LRW is over. I’m not sure if I’ll have it that same night, or wait until that Friday (because I have another presentation worth 20% of my grade in another class due the day right after my final LRW project), but that is when I will have it. Until then I will “settle” for the other Dogfish Head IPAs. That said, if you’d like to donate to the Taco 120 Minute IPA Fund, please feel free, since its the most expensive beer I will have ever tried in my life. 🙂
Of course, here is the thing, micro-brews are not always easy to find. This is especially true when you are looking for a lesser-known variety of a line that is already not super common (Dogfish Head’s IPA series). Most people, or rather most people who drink more than Coors Lite, know about Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA, and they’ve also seen the 90, even if they haven’t footed the bill for the pricey four pack. Once you get into Sixty-One, 75, and 120 territory, then things get a bit tricky. Case-in-point, I didn’t even know about Sixty-One until St. Patrick’s day. So when you set out to find these brews, its not as simple as going down to the corner store and picking up a six pack (of which only the 60 Minute exists in). In fact, many specialty stores won’t even carry anything outside of the 60 or the 90. So my initial search had failed.
Enter SB, who actually found that Dogfish Head has their own “Fish Finder.” To help you out, since, by their own admission, it can be hard to find a fair bit of their stuff outside of Delaware. Armed with my new tool I quickly realized that Sixty-One, 75, and 120 weren’t anywhere near where I regularly shop. Fun. The 120 Minute is nestled in a liquor store right in the middle of a HUMONGOUS homeless person civilization (Central Square in Cambridge – its really not that bad, but its a prime spot to get badgered by homeless people, ESPECIALLY if you have booze). Sixty-One was a bit further away still. And the 75? Only two places in the ENTIRE CITY had received a delivery in the past 60 days. Having decided that I wanted to save the 120 for after LRW, and since it was St. Patrick’s day, I wanted to give the 90 I had in the refrigerator some company, and thus my quest to get both Sixty-One and 75 was born.
The destination? A Shaw’s Star Market in the Back Bay of Boston. 3.8 miles of busy afternoon public transportation away. For Great Justice, For Great Beer.
I swung through the Harvard Square Starbucks where SB was working on a paper, took some drinks of her coffee and borrowed her transit pass and then I was on my way to the Red Line. From there it was on to the Green Line.
Luckily I was only go as far as Copley Square, so I didn’t have to take the Green Line to the point where it drives on the street with the cars, which is annoying since you have to obey the traffic lights. While you don’t ever have to look to hard to see Boston’s rich Irish heritage, it was especially easy on St. Patrick’s day. Pretty much my entire trip via the subway was accompanied by various musicians performing Irish music, most of them quite good. I obviously wasn’t there to see it, but the Dropkick Murphys even performed a free, extemporaneous concert out at Logan Airport on St. Patrick’s day prior to boarding their flight.
I had never been to Copley Square before, it is a nice contrast of old and new, like most of Boston actually.
That’s the Trinity Church and the John Hancock Tower, I’ll leave it up to you to guess which is which (the Boston Public library is right across the street, and when I went by there was a CRAZY GOOD beat-boxer performer out in front of it). From here on out it was just my feet and the streets. I impressed myself by not needing my phone, my brain must have absorbed the Google maps fairly decently.
Fortunately it was a gorgeous day, at one point it even hit 50 degrees. So not having to have my toboggan on was nice, heck on the way back I didn’t even need my gloves!
Eventually I made it to the store (seen on the left above), found my way to the alcohol section (tucked in the back and up a flight of stairs, which I thought to be quite dumb) and panicked as I tried to find Sixty-One and 75. I kept looking and looking, but couldn’t find them. I knew the Sixty-One would be a four pack (as the 90 is) and that the 75 was a big ole’ bottle. But I couldn’t find them. Just as I was about to curse the fish finder, there at the back of the (quite large) beer section was an end-cap devoted entirely to Dogfish Head, and sure enough, there were Sixty-One and 75. They didn’t have 120, but the fish finder didn’t say they would anyways (and I am ok with that, as I am not sure I could resist drinking it for so long). Before leaving I picked up some unsweetened Cashew Milk which SB and I had been wanting to try but hadn’t found up until that point, and looked for some green food coloring, but that was obviously entirely sold out.
Afterwards, it was back the way I came, just this time with beer and milk, which got heavy nice and quick. The return was fairly smooth, it took me a minute or two to find the Green Line station going inbound instead of outbound, since they were further apart than the station entrances normally are. But after that it was primarily just dealing with the afternoon crowds of people ready to go home and drink for St. Patrick’s day. When I came up out of the Red Line it was POURING RAIN and super windy. The weather forecast did not call for that, at all. So I sprinted into Starbucks to see SB and return her transit card and also to give myself time to get my umbrella out without getting drenched. She decided to just go ahead and come home with me since quite a bit of time had passed. Once we got back outside the rain had mostly turned into a drizzle, but the wind was still howling. I think our umbrellas inverted 4-5 times on the way home. But the beer survived, and thus all was well in the world.
I’ll be sure to take a full family quintet photo once I have a bottle of the 120 as well.
If you were anticipating me describing the beer (I doubt you were, but pretend) then you’ll need to wait for my next post. So far I’ve only had the Sixty-One, and I’d like to cover both the 75 and Sixty-One in the same post. I will go ahead and post my St. Patrick’s Day green Sixty-One, for the spirit of the season.
It was a productive St. Patrick’s day evening. SB was still working on her paper and I spent a fair bit of the night fixing our coffee maker. When we moved something happened to it and.. like.. crystals formed inside of it. No not meth, or if It was meth I want a refund because I didn’t lose any weight or feel magical. Vinegar wouldn’t fix it, and I couldn’t figure out how to get inside since its one of those single-cup varieties. Eventually we just gave up since the filters were catching (most) of the crystals and we weren’t dying. Well, the other day the crystals hit another high point and so I raged and launched a conquest against the coffee maker which resulted in it being in pieces and a disturbingly large amount of crystal-dirt-muck being removed from the coffee maker. It was really almost gag inducing. But its now clean as a whistle and the coffee tastes much less bitter, it also works without as much steam. The only downside is that the top part doesn’t hold itself open so you have to hold it up while you put the filter in. Those tiny little springs were not designed to ever be removed by a human.
It also got much, much colder. I’m talking a drop of about 30 degrees in one night. The wind was also crazy, throughout the night the 60mph gusts just keep coming and coming. Of course we still weren’t as bad as nearby Mt. Washington, where the temperature on the peek felt like -58 degrees and the wind was constantly around 98mph with gusts of up to 102mph. Yeah, that made our apartment sound much nicer.
But that is enough for now, I’ll keep you updated on the Dogfish Head situation, have no fear. My next check-in will probably be once my “Spring Break” is either over, or almost over, which sadly will come much sooner than I would like. Tomorrow I’m going to have lunch with SB, then go to a cafe to get a bit of reading done before my weekly physical therapy appointment. But for what remains of this evening, its aimlessly browsing the internet and beer, I was productive this afternoon and this blog post took away, so I’m done for today.
Until next time,
P.S. – In the belated spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I present the following note from my beer calendar: