November 15, 2008
Greetings from Ashland, OR (again), where we are staying for the night after the very last stint on my INTERNATIONAL book tour, which was at Elysian Fields brewpub up in Seattle. And thanks to Elliott Bay Books (and Casey) for handling sales. It was a great event to have as my last event. The beer (especially Dragonstooth Stout and Night Owl pumpkin ale) were great, Michael the bartender couldn't have been cooler, I briefly got to talk to the head brewer and co-owner Dick Cantwell, and saw a bunch of friends from the Emerald City (shout out to the Chaplins, the Kassoffs, the Greeks, and "Jack.") (PS: Notice on the menu of Elysian Fields beers, that one of the "guest beers" is Bud Light. Kudos to the expert beerista, Michael, for handling that with grace.)
Our first night, Half Pint and I stayed with Jay and Pauline. Jay is my new favorite person. Why's that? Turn to page 114 in your copy of the book and if you find the subtle pun that he caught, then you're my co-favorite person. But Pauline's my favorite person, too, for she took us on a gastronomic tour of Seattle beginning with breakfast at the Five Spot, then beer tasting at Hale's Ales, where we got to talk shop with their brewer since 1985, Phil, though alack, they did not have their rare Coconut Porter on tap. Finally, she took us on the tour of Theo, a local chocolatier and one of only 14 fair trade ones in the US.
The next morning, we had the biggest b-fast I've ever seen at a place called the Brown Bag. No joke--after Half Pint ate her heart out, it looked like she hadn't made a dent in her scramble. My biscuits were topped by a growler's worth of sausage gravy.
On our way south, she let me pick up some salumi from Salumi for the ride down (which odorized the car, to my delight and Half Pint's chagrin). Back in Brewtopia, I finally got to take her to my favorite brewpub--which is saying something-- the Lucky Lab(rador). There were great beers and cute pooches aplenty. (If our dog Patsy is reading this, which would be on the miraculous side, please know that we can't wait to take you to the Lucky Lab and I'll let some of my beer go flat so you can try it. I think you'd like Super Dog Ale the best.)
B-fast in Beervana consisted of two faves: Voodoo Donuts (Half Pint and I shared a Memphis Mafia. Think banana fritter loaded with peanut butter and chocolate!) and Stumptown Coffee (HP's best latte of the trip). We barely made it into Ashland before dark, where our host (again) Susan, had a homecooked meal waiting for us!!! We're about to get wild'n'crazy over a few rounds of Boggle, and then, and I type this with a hint of a tear in my eye, tomorrow it's back to a mystical place called home.