We had just arrived at my brother in law’s apartment in Salisbury, MD.
We got coffee. Went for a walk. I noticed the Hamilton reference in his street name. I had been fairly restrained in my Hamilton gushing so far on the trip, especially considering we had spent the past few days in and around Washington, DC, and I had only brought up the play twi- no, thr- well, it doesn’t matter.
For dinner — my brother in law was still working, but we brought him back a burger — we went to Evolution Brewing, which was just down the street from him. It had the right mix of hip and establishment: it was “big”, as far as small brewpubs go, and obviously wasn’t going anywhere. It was not the answer to “When will Salisbury, MD, have its Hill Farmstead?” And yet, despite not being precious in any way, it served more than an amber, a pilsner and an IPA in need of far more hop character every step of the way. I liked it. I felt jealous that he got to go there whenever he wanted.
I ordered a flight of beer, not fitting anywhere near as many of the offerings on it as I wanted. I ordered the duck confit burger, remembering a reuben that I used to know, which turned out to be a pile of duck confit on top of the burger.
Like I said: I liked this place.
Beer the first: Crystal Row. It wasn’t super malty, nor was it overly hoppy. “Nice”, I wrote in my notes, but “dulled”. I also wondered if it “deserved” its 7.2% abv, the way some food that’s fried and covered in processed cheese food packs in a lot of calories but doesn’t actually scratch that “let’s go crazy, Broadway style” spirit of un-dieting.
Then came Cathy. Obviously beer named after people appeals to me, and so do imperial stouts: Cathy, Catherine The Great; get it? It wasn’t subtle at all, but I didn’t mind: I was too busy enjoying the blowout of my palate the incredibly dark, rich, malty beer was giving me.
Then came Prelude Black, the prequel to final beer I would have (spoilers!). I liked it, but it billed itself as a dark Belgian ale and I didn’t get any Belgian characteristics from it. I realized that perhaps I should have tried it before the Cathy, as I probably couldn’t taste as much afterward. Reading their website now I also don’t see the word “Belgian” anywhere near this beer or its protege, so I may also have been inventing things whole cloth. Listen: it was not the first day of our trip.
Finally: Bourbon Migration, which is the Prelude Black but (shockingly!) aged in bourbon barrels for eight months. “Much like Laurens”, I wrote, “I like it a lot”. That’s a Hamilton reference, by the way. In general, assume anything I say that sounds like nonsense to be a Hamilton reference. Sometimes I do it just to annoy Justin, but not often.
I had had a sip or two of the Migration. My wife had one too, and then another. She liked a beer! But so did I and I had ordered it so it was mine. She reached across the table to help our son with some food-related task, and on her way back-
the glass, toppling over-
all over my pants. I mean really all over my pants. My pants had been embeered. The… only pair of pants I had brought with me.
We made plans to go to an Old Navy outlet the next day to get me more pants, but wound up pushing that back a day so we could go to Assateague Island and see wild horses, and also to go to Burley Oak Brewing Company.
Besides: the weather had turned nice, and I had one pair of shorts as well. Which my daughter knocked beer onto that night at Tall Tales Brewery.
The next day we did make it to Old Navy, where I bought myself another pair of pants, but I wound up wearing the not-quite-as-beer-soaked shorts the rest of the trip anyway. While we were in Rehoboth for the outlets we also stopped at the Dogfish Head brewpub — oh shucks, if we’re in the area…
I had two flights of beer, and then a flight of the spirits that they make — two types of gin! — and I enjoyed them all, but I only have so much note taking in me.
In bottle form, back at the apartment, we also had Evolution’s Lucky 7 Porter, as well as a 22 oz bottle of Bourbon Migration because, gods damn it, I wanted my mouth to have more than my pants. There we played a fun game called “watch a random episode in the middle of House of Cards season four with someone who hasn’t seen the show before and try to explain what’s going on” (you can’t), made pasta, drank some more (Dogfish Head’s Romantic Chemistry, Burley Oak’s Secret Sauce) and generally enjoyed ourselves.
As I hope, dear reader, you have as well.