Monday, January 23rd, 2012

The most unexpected thing to happen to me this weekend: I ran into a distant relative at the Isthmus beer and cheese festival. Standing in the middle of the room with My Darling B, just minutes after we got there, I looked up from the map we were using to plan our attack on the next vendor and I saw, or thought I saw, my dad’s sister’s daughter’s daughter – I don’t know if makes her my first, second or third cousin, so I’m just going to say “cousin.” There was more than a little doubt in my mind it was actually her because, as far as I knew, she wasn’t even living in town after graduating from school, but I kept spotting her in the crowd and kept getting the same eerie feeling until finally I had to walk up, tap her on the shoulder and introduce myself. And what do you know. It was her. Small world.

I guess the next most happy surprise was that the organizers of the festival brought in Ian’s Pizza and a food cart called Banzo so we didn’t have to eat the miserable crap that Aramark sells from their stalls around the convention floor when everybody got the munchies as the day went on. B and I stopped by the food cart late in the afternoon to grab a bite to eat before we went home and were very pleasantly surprised by how tasty their food was. B got a very generous helping of hummus with pita slices to spread it on. I ordered falafel and shared with B, and we both made so many yummy noises as we scarfed it down that I went back to order more. Now I can’t wait for summer so I can look for them on the street.

But the beer and cheese was what we came for. Actually, I came for the beer. B is the cheese connoisseur. I didn’t even remember to bring my milk pills. You’d think if I was going to an event named Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest, I’d be able to remember my milk pills, but no. So I stuck to the aged cheddar and only ate a little bit of that.

The beer selection was surprisingly ordinary. Everybody seemed to be serving “safe” beers, the kind I could get at Jenifer Street Market or Star Liquor. Not bad beer by any stretch of the imagination, just … safe. Which is disappointing only because, if I’d bought it at the store, I could have saved myself a lot of money. I tasted fourteen or fifteen beers. Each vendor poured three or four ounces into my glass when I started sampling at the beginning of the evening, but toward the end of the evening they tended to fill my glass almost all the way up with maybe six ounces of beer, although I only had two or three of those. That’s about fifty-eight ounces of beer, or just two ounces short of five 12-ounce bottles. I paid forty bucks to drink less than a six-pack of beer.

The most unhappy thing to happen to me and B this weekend was right after the show, when our cab didn’t show. We made a reservation with Green Cab to pick us up, and when they didn’t and B called them to ask where the hell they were, the dispatcher told her they were really busy. Go fish, basically. So we fell back on the gold standard, Union Cab, and they didn’t disappoint. A cab was there to pick us up on less than twenty minutes, and he played a game of “Cash Cab” on the way home. I won a whiffle ball.

beercheese | 9:40 pm CDT
Category: beer, daily drivel, festivals, food & drink, My Darling B, O'Folks, play, restaurants | Tags: ,
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Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Beer and cheese! They had gallons of the former and tons of the latter at the convention center yesterday afternoon, where I passed the time wandering from booth to booth with My Darling B, or passing most of the time with her, as it turned out. We got separated about midway through the afternoon and although I waited for the better part of an hour at what I thought was the agreed-upon rendezvous point we didn’t reconnect but accidentally, because she was at what she was sure was the agreed-upon rendezvous point, far, far away on the other side of the convention center. It wasn’t until I stepped away for my third or fourth trip to the head that I spotted her in the crowd and plowed my way through the teeming millions to rejoin her. My luck at finding her again was mixed. She was a teensy bit upset with me for not being at the appointed place. It didn’t seem wise to argue, so I didn’t.

Our trip from one booth to the next, most of them helpfully arranged beer, cheese, beer, cheese so we wouldn’t have to think about it too much, started at the back of the room this time because everyone was already linked up at the booths in the front of the room as we came through the door. The brewers from the Horny Goat Brewing Company were all alone back there so we sidled up to the table and sampled their wares. I tried a Belgian-style wheat beer and B had a glass of farmhouse ale nicknamed Exposed. Both were so delicious we stuck around to try the rest of their beers, and weren’t disappointed by any.

From there we worked our way to the front of the room, drinking and noshing, except for that little blip in the middle where we got separated. I tasted way too many beers to remember and I wouldn’t bother to rip out a laundry list of them here, although if you’re really interested I tweeted the ones I really liked, so there you go.

Beer and Cheese | 12:16 pm CDT
Category: beer, daily drivel, festivals, food & drink, My Darling B, O'Folks, play | Tags:
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