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Destination Beer

By Jasmine · July 7th, 2009 · 4 Comments

At the end of our little vacation weekend this past week, Joe and I parked the rental car and trudged up our hill carrying our bags. Sounds normal enough, but something felt strange. I kept thinking we had forgotten something. Finally I stopped on a corner, looked at what we were carrying and figured out the problem. We didn’t have any beer.

Wine at Outstanding in the Field

This is the first time we have come home from a trip without any beer in a long time. When we went to Sonoma a few weeks ago, we brought home wine and a six-pack of Mount St. Helena Brewing Company’s IPA. In Delaware, I packed our suitcase so full of big bottles, padded with shorts and socks and underwear, that we only made it under the 50 lb. weight limit by half a pound. We now have bottles of Dogfish Head’s Sah’tea, Squall IPA, and their rum, plus a bottle each of a Victory Pils and Scarlett ESB. We had to take a taxi from the BART because neither of us could imagine dragging that up the hill. Ireland, we brought home whiskey, Wisconsin was more beer, and so on.

It gives you a good reason to search out places you might never go. We visited a neighborhood in Boston we would otherwise have never seen in order to go to Sam Adams. Even in our own city, after two years I had never been that far south (other than on the highway, driving through) in San Francisco until the day we went out to a celebration at Speakeasy. In Ireland it helped up to get away from tourist traps to drink with the locals–not an easy thing to do when there are dozens of guidebooks that tell tourists exactly where to go to drink with the locals, thus making it another tourist trap.

Joe in Dublin with Guinness

It’s addictive, bringing a bit of regional alcohol home with you. Trinkets are the same everywhere, but we can only get two kinds of Dogfish Head here in California, and almost none of our favorite Wisconsin beers. The whiskey we brought home from Ireland was one you can only buy AT the original Jameson distillery. This all plays right into the collectors notions of rarity–if it’s hard to get, it must be precious. Beer collectors are no different.

On top of the rarity, it’s a reminder of happy times in a way things can never do. How often have you smelled something and had it take you to another time so powerfully you forgot where you were? This happens to me with smell and taste far more than even pictures can. Joe and I will wait for the day when we break open the Sah’tea with friends, to be reminded of the summer sun and days on the beach with his nieces. Or a bottle of Belgian Red to remind us of baking Christmas cookies and freezing toes and my dad making fun of our “fancy beer.”

So go forth and become a beer traveler–may your suitcase be heavy and your beer cave always be full.

UPDATE: Joe just pointed out to me that the last two sessions are related to this very topic: Think and Drink Globally and Will Travel for Beer. Sorry I missed participating in those! I guess travel is on everyone’s mind this summer.

Tags: Beer I can't get my hands on · Beerventures

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Luke E. // Jul 9, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I like that thought process. Trekking to try beer. If only you could get awesome beer by hiking through Yosemite or something like that. They could make an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Beer.

    Next week Aliza and I are going to climb Mt. Brewer in Kings Canyon… I mean… come on! Just imagine the delectible libations that should be awaiting us atop such an aptly named summit.

  • 2 Jasmine // Jul 9, 2009 at 9:51 am

    The hike through Muir Woods to the tourist club is pretty glorious. I can’t believe we haven’t done it yet (I mean, when the club is actually open).

  • 3 Brian Yaeger // Jul 14, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Jasmine, tell Luke I know of the next best thing. (which I will now likely have to blog about). It ain’t Yosemite, but if he (or anyone) hikes through Death Valley National Park, the west entrance of the park has a motel/campground/diner/bar at Stovepipe Wells that, I kid you not, is a beer bar paradise. Over 100 craft beers to quench your thirst/quell the heat.

  • 4 Jasmine // Jul 16, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for the tip, Brian. Luke actually just went to Death Valley a month ago–if I tell him about this and he missed out, he’s going to be bummed!