Day 410 – 419: Reading Week

Saturday, Oct. 19

Dear Diary:

Reading Week has arrived, and luckily I only have two papers to write, so I will get those done pronto and then spend the rest of the time relaxing. Just have to get a couple of family chores done and then  I’ll get right to it.

Monday, Oct. 21

Dear Diary:

Who knew chores would take up the entire weekend? I really needed to get to work today, but first I visited Peter Collins to brainstorm some ideas for a Christmas beer. Peter had some of his oh-so-good fresh-hopped pale ale on tap, but somehow the keg ran dry as we talked. Luckily I’d had the foresight to bring the last few drops of my Samuel Adams Utopias for Peter to taste. But alas, where did Monday go to?

Tuesday, Oct. 22

Dear Diary:

Off to to Rochester, New York for three days to celebrate our anniversary. I packed my laptop and notes so I could work on my papers in our spare time. Since our planned first stop was a romantic bed & breakfast in a beautiful historic neighbourhood of Rochester, I have absolutely no idea how we instead found ourselves at CB’s, a small craft brewery just south of Rochester. However, I definitely remember tasting several samples of their beers, especially their Caged Alpha Monkey IPA. Whew, good beer. Good thing my wife could drive the rest of the way to Rochester

Wednesday, Oct. 23

Dear Diary:

Okay, I had every intention of spending tonight writing my papers. But when we arrived at Rohrbach’s Brewpub for dinner, behold, they were have a special tasting of eight Oktoberfest beers. Well, I could hardly pass up an opportunity for that, could I?

Thursday, Oct. 24

Dear Diary:

The plan was to drive back from Rochester fairly early so I could get to work. Then we happened to round a corner in south Rochester, and there–illuminated as if by a beam of glory from heaven itself–was a store called “Beers of the World”. I knew each of us could take 24 bottles of beer back into Canada without paying duty. But how do you choose only 48 bottles from a store filled with hundreds and hundreds of beers from across the United States and around the world? Needless to say, it took a lot longer than anticipated.

Friday Oct. 25

Dear Diary:

More chores.  Sweep the leaves off the deck. Off to Canadian Tire for some parts. Catalogue the beer I brought home and see how much would fit in the beer fridge. Plan what beers I would taste at Cask Days. Wait, where did the day go?

Sat Oct 26

Dear Diary:

Cask Days! Although nominally an outdoor event, it felt more like we were indoors, or perhaps most of the way indoors, since the new venue for this 100+ cask event was a large metal barn with one wall missing. Good thing we had a roof over our heads, since it was pouring rain–a harbinger of the oncoming Hurricane Sandy.

First up was a brewers’ breakfast–good food, and a great opportunity to meet some of the creative craft brewers of Ontario.

Then, it was time to sample from over 100 casks–including my own “Call of Brew-ty: Black Hops” chipotle schwarzbier. I was the first to taste it, and wow, was it hot. Wow. Hot. Not as hot as the Great Lakes X Toronto Brewing “Curried Spiced Pumpkin Ale“, but darned close. Strangely, there was not a lot of middle ground about Call of Brew-ty: people either loved it and went back for more, or fell to the ground, clawing at their throats and gasping for air. Well, at least it was a beer that left a mark. (Some people claimed it left scars.)

I moved on to other beers, and by the end of the five-hour session, I had tasted a dozen samples on my own, and had probably sipped twice as many from other people’s glasses. (There are no communicable germs at a beer festival. No, really.) By the time I got on the train to come home, I felt great, ready to write both papers in one session! Strangely, that feeling of euphoria seems to be wearing off, and…

zzzzzz…

Sun Oct 27

Dear Diary:

Last day of Reading Week. Must write papers. Taking painkillers. Going back to bed.

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