Well I'm back in town and looking forward to doing more blogging. I think I have about 20 beer reviews in my notebook going back to New Year's day. I have been studying pretty hard for the Professional Engineering Licensing exam. For those that are not in the know, this is a license for engineers that is on par with the Bar Card for Lawyers, or the Doctor's license for...um... Doctors. The test is extremely difficult as it is put together by engineers who are trying to find those that are competent enough by the state of Texas to do engineering for the public. I'm spending about 8 hours a day on my days off and 3 hours a day when I'm working studying for this puppy. I still get some good beering in after hours. But onward to the Inauguration.
We left our house in Houston to hit the airport on early Monday evening. It was a nice 70 Degrees outside, but I was wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, and leather coat b/c I knew what was coming. We get to BWI and it is cold as all get out. On the way back from the airport, we decided to try and hit Brickskeller in DC that night. We would leave the baby with her grandma, and the wife and I would got to the massive beer bar in DC and stay there all night, hit a breakfast diner, and be at the mall for the inauguration. Sadly, the Metro shutdown at Midnight, and we could not get there in time. So we took a 4 hour nap and got up a 4AM to start making our way to the trains.
The trains had lines going back a quarter mile, but it was moving pretty fast.
I don't think there were that many black people on a train since the last 50 Cent concert on the L Train in Chicago.
We get into DC and it is pretty hype already with the mass of people. The capital building is lit up in the night, and there is a crush of Bootleg shirts, hats, calendars and whatnot. We make our way into the Mall at about 7AM and it is already pretty cold. We do not have tickets, so we just have to post up in the mall with the crowd. Luckily that had a bunch of monitors ready to go. Before the festivities began, they had a bunch of tips for staying warm and whatnot, including eating. Neither the wife or I drank anything as the port-o-potties were so far away. Some folks were very industrious and brought blankets and whatnot.
There was a gentleman with an American Flag superimposed on the Kenyan flag walking very rapidly through the crowd. In a gruff East African voice he just kept saying: "My President is Black, I am from Africa. My President is Black, I am from Africa. My President is Black, I am from Africa." Needless to say, he had NO problem negotiating the crowd and moving up to the front. I wouldn't be surprised if they just went ahead and let him on the stage. Wasn't nobody going to try this guy.
Anyway, they fire up the monitors and show that whole "We Are One" show they did a couple days earlier. I was making jokes the whole time, and folks were enjoying the music. I had no idea Garth Brooks had that much soul. Some time while we were freezing, they started bringing in the VIPs. They were showing them pull up in black Explorers. And we eventually saw the Beast show up, Obama's Cadillac. You can be the president all you want, all black men over the age of 40 desire a Cadillac.
The inaug was nice. Some folks were chanting boo and "Hey hey hey, Goodbye" to Jorge W. Bush. I was telling folks that we've come to take Bush back to Texas with us. But really I was there to see a brotha get inaugurated. He's already gone a lot more center than his rhetoric during the campaign, as I knew he would. So my conservative sensibilities are at ease.
We are very proud of what he has done and what he continues to do. But if exiting DC was a first sign of things to come, we've got some problems. Exiting the city on the train was an all out nightmare. They closed the bigger metro train stops at the Mall, but didn't tell us. Nobody knew what was going on, and we eventually said screw it and walked our way to the stop at RFK stadium, a good 19 blocks from the capital building. It was hardcore stuff, and somebody fell out. But there were no cops to help anybody, they were all at the parade and guarding the VIPs. We later learned that Ted Kennendy fell out at the lunch, and he should have had a hat on. Regardless, it was a great time and it was nice being in the throng.
We made our way back to the train station and eventually to my wife's mother's fiance's car. We were tired, we were freezing, we had not eaten anything but granola bars, we had not had anything to drink or used a restroom in over 12 hours, and we just HAD to run by the local beer place to get some local beer to try that night. We stop by Latela's in Maryland and walk into the freezing cold walk-in beer cooler. We see a lot of stuff from Clipper City and whatnot, but I really preferred a variety pack. When it comes to picking up beers in new places, I just prefer beer that I cannot get at home. So we got a variety pack from Saranac.
When we finally got home, the parade had just started. And who was one of the first marching bands to go through. My Alma mater's Marching Band. I was in the band myself in 1998 and was loving how they held it down during the parade.
I went ahead and cracked open some Saranac and went at it...
Saranac Belgian Ale
Clear auburn color, super strong light tan-orange head. Smells include some subtle banana, fruit, and light sourness. On the mouth it's a little gritty, but nice banana. It's kind of hoppy with that icky aftertaste that may come from our old friend Cascade hop. Moderate drinkability and carbonation. It's belgianess increases and hoppiness decreases the more you get used to. Great first one out the gate. High 3 Star.
Haven't had an ESB in some time. Clear auburn color again. With head with some fruitness on the nose. It tastes like a basic English ale with nothing much going on one way or the other. Just a little roasty with low hops. There is a nice medium body and the hop character comes out a bit better as it warms. Low 3 Star.
Got this one as well as the store. Dark copper color. Light white head that goes down fast. Nose has some sweetness notes, like light syrup. Nice moderate mouthfilling body. I enjoy the somewhat sweet malt with a touch of chocolate. There is also a light choco in the quick finish. 3 Star.
Much later on that night before clocking out, I had to grab one more beer.
Saranac Bohemian Pilsner
Clear straw color with a veggie smell. White poofy head. It has that basic pilsner smell with the light bread and hops. There is a touch of sourness that brings it down a peg. 2 Star.