My Summer Vacation


What did I do during my summer vacation? I looked for interesting things to drink, of course. 
For the record, it wasn’t really vacation. It was a day in NYC and a few more days visiting my wife’s family at their summer retreat in western Massachusetts. But traveling is a most exciting way to explore the world of drinking and eating, and I found a few notable things.

Whale’s Tale Pale Ale from Cisco Brewers, Nantucket. We live in the land of Pale Ale here in Northern CA (Sierra Nevada, anyone?), but it was good to see there’s some spiffy stuff being made on the other coast. This one is darker and richer than you’d expect from a Pale Ale (but not in a bad way), and its aggressive hopping is mellowed out by its rich malts (a blend of English and domestic).

You know I’m always looking out for great root beer, which was my childhood passion until I discovered the world of fine wine and spirits. (Try the homemade stuff at Magnolia Brewery.) This is a very good one. Delicious actually. Maine Root root beer’s root flavors (with clove, wintergreen and anise) are sharp and strong, and the sweetening is done with cane sugar. Best of all, it’s perfectly balanced between sweet and spice.

Sadly, neither of these products is yet in California. But by the look of its distribution page on its website, Maine Root will be in California any day now.

And the rest of what I did? Well, it’s good eating up there. We may be entering prime oyster season now and within a few months heading into crab time (the best), in New England you gotta do the lobster—a lot of work, but well worth it. (We made stock with the shells and turned it into lobster gumbo a couple of days later).

And the corn, which is farm fresh—left for the taking by the side of the road, just put your dollars in the box—was sweet as could be.

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