I had one more vignette from Cape Cod, but felt the post was long and enough, and besides, the Law of Fives and all that. The goddess prevails.
The final story I have came from what really should have been the most obvious stop of all: the Cape Cod Beer brewery. I finally made it down on our last day, though scheduling conflicts with the rest of the ne’er-do-wells on the trip and the proximity to naptime meant that I went inside alone (which itself might be another post).
The tasting room reminded me of a cross between our own and Resurgence’s: fairly wide open, lots of room to mill around, but also in an unfinished production space. I sat at a white plastic table on a white plastic folding chair, next to shelving with various brewing apparatuses and boxes of merchandise.
I hope that doesn’t sound unkind. It made me feel at home.
Rather than pour an entire flight at once I was given a full tasting glass and four wooden tokens, to exchange for beer at my leisure. I liked this setup but, having been on the other side of the equation, wondered if it might become overwhelming for the servers if the place got too busy. Have a sufficient quantity of customers clamoring for samples and by the time you finish with round one the people at the start will be finished and ready for more. They separated their flight/pint area from the growler filling station, though, so that might ease up on the strain of a rush.
I tried to squelch my internal inside baseball and sipped, relaxed. The kids hadn’t napped, but they were in the car. I could enjoy the quiet.
(Lest you think I’m an oblivious dad, foisting the duties of child care on my wife while I go off cavorting with beer, I volunteered to sit by both of them at most of the restaurants so that my wife could socialize. There’s also a wonderful picture taken at the start of the Truro Vineyards tour of my daughter literally climbing all over me while I sit on the grass, a defeated thousand-yard stare on my face. Kids. They’re wonderful.)
I took notes, briefly checked my email, looked around. Took it all in. There was a table nearby with a few games on it, a book or two, and a small plastic electronic toy. It looked like one of those handheld electronic sports games that as a kid I wanted with all my heart right up until seven minutes after I actually got one. “Brew Master”, it read, and was vaguely in the shape of a beer stein. It had a few bright yellow rubber buttons and a screen that could display six lines of chunky text.
I felt like I had found a relic, some wonderful piece of nostalgia from the mid-90s, probably full of basic, faux-Bavarian trivia. That or it was some sort of magical device that only appeared to a select few, willing itself into reality before preternaturally grabbing its target’s eye.
Either way I had to know what it was, so I walked over and brought it back to my table.
The truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction. Upon turning it on a quote attributed to Garret Oliver appeared on the screen. Well, part of it, anyway: the screen was too small to fit the entire thing. The quote was recent. Mystified, I navigated around: back, down, through, never quite sure exactly where I was going, but flipping through this tiny screen encased in a cheap plastic housing. It had that best-we-could-do-with-the-technology-available aesthetic from my childhood, but with modern content. On a very, very small screen. Who was this for? How did it come to exist?
I put it back before I inadvertently summoned any demons from the quite-obviously cursed device.
Although I framed the trip as a relaxing getaway from the yelling and fussing that my usually even-tempered kids had been reduced to after a week of beaches instead of naps, the reality was that I was trying to walk a balance between gulping down my five samples and heading back home while not, y’know, abandoning my poor wife with two children all day. I began trying to hurry a bit, just a bit, so that I could finish in a relatively timely fashion, when a dog appeared.
A woman led it through the area and up some stairs to what I imagined was an office. It was probably a routine trip, A to B, instead of some sort of therapy dog situation, but I wouldn’t have minded a few puppy kisses to go along with my beer.
On my way out I stopped at the growler station to buy a glass. I have too damn many glasses as it is, but it’s my routine: you visit a brewery or brewpub, you get a glass. Mementos with function. I chose one of those newfangled glass-in-the-shape-of-a-can styles, and I haven’t drunk out of anything else since.