Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Waking up in Munich USA on a Saturday in August

Boom-chaka-laka-laka-boom-chaka-laka beat the rhythm of a hip-hop song squawking from a clock-radio jarring me awake Saturday at about 3:20. That's AM folks.

As I shook the spooks out of my eyes, I noticed a welcome-basket on the desk. As my eyes focused like laser-beams, the first things I targeted were two brown bottles shining through the cellophane wrap: one was labeled: Lancaster Brewing Company Milk Stout and the other was labeled Lancaster Brewing Company Strawberry Wheat Beer. Next, I saw two pint shakers in there and some snacks. I figured this was gonna be a great weekend but as yet knew not, just how Everestian.

Oh, did I mention the dream I had about balloons? Well that fiction was about to become reality and was next on my agenda this day: a flight above Lancaster in a hot air balloon. We drove over to Bird in Hand with Bottle Not in Hand (hey it's 4 am) and let me tell you that I was as excited as a kid at Christmas about what it would be like to experience floating above the earth NUIofA, discerning no motion whatsoever. It is very similar to the sensation you can achieve when sailing upon the water, and it it is all they say it is and much more. The only motion that I could detect was that felt when ascending or descending through air stratum blowing in different directions. I saw plenty of hayfields, tobacco fields, and jackasses roaming the pastures of Lancaster on our way to eventual touchdown on the lawn of an old-folks home about 10 miles north of where we started, about two miles shy of Lancaster airport. Touchdown and wrapup of the balloon was probably the highlight of the week for the residents of the home and everyone wanted to have a look inside the basket and the technique used to wrap everything up. I want to say that when we had our Mimosa's celebrating flight, it became only clear to me then, just what it means to be lighter than air. Interesting note is that we hit a high altitude of about 3500 feet and used up one tank of LPG getting there.

Feverishly she wept upon the pillow of her plans as she tried to arrange the final raison d'etre: The Brewmaster's Weekend. With a bit of finagling she put the telephone receiver down and said: ``Let's go''. As we drove into Lancaster proper, I still didn't know where we were going but she said: ``Just wait, you'll like it''. We pulled up and parked on the street next to the Lancaster Brewing Company, and I finally figured it out.

We went inside and immediately were drawn to the bar where we quickly ordered less beer than any insane man would dare. I had had the Hop Hog IPA earlier this summer for the first time when T and G joined me to celebrate T's birthday at the 15th Street Beer Warehouse in Hazleton. I liked it then on draft and I liked it even more from the source.

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