Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Recap of my trip to Washington


Yikes!  Who's the creep? @ Port City Brewing Co.
Yikes! Who’s the creep? @ Port City Brewing Co.

A couple of weekends ago I went to Washington DC with the wife. The reason for the trip was two fold: to hang out with our very own Silvio and to run our first ever 10 mile race. The trip was fantastic. Below is a brief recap, along with some photos, mostly courtesy Silvio.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and after getting settled into the hotel we called up Silvio, who picked us up and took us to Enjera, an Ethiopian restaurant. This was extra cool for Melissa, who had “eat at an Ethiopian restaurant” on her bucket list.

Lunch was accented by Silvio asking “can I taste your diarrhea?” in reference to wanting to try a soupy looking (albeit delicious) part of the vegetarian sampler Melissa and I were having. It was only one of about a half dozen epic quotes that I later wished I had written down (most are lost to drunken memory).

Just another day wrangling bears.
Just another day wrangling bears.

Speaking of lost to drunken memory, I have little recollection of where the above photo was taken. It was almost certainly on Friday night, and mostly likely at Meridian Pint. The Meridian was one of our first stops, however I blame the table-top draft lines and the Ways & Means Rye from Port City Brewing for getting a bit too much of a jump-start to the evening!

Taps at the table = bad news
Taps at the table = bad news

Now that I think about it, I’m getting way ahead of myself. BEFORE Meridian we hit up Port City Brewing, where I indulged in six 5-ounce samples. I actually started humbly with two samples. As I considered cashing out, the bartender told me that samples were $2.50 each, or six for $10. Economics made me drink.

We ended the night at Shaw’s Tavern, which had great cocktails and a decent beer list.

Outside DC Brau Brewery
Outside DC Brau Brewery
DC Brau Brewery - making out with an epic reindeer.
DC Brau Brewery – making out with an epic reindeer.

On Saturday we took things at a slower pace. The big race was Sunday and we wanted to be in good shape the next morning. We hit up Sticky Fingers for an amaze-balls brunch, and then shot over to DC Brau Brewery for a couple of hours.

@ DC Brau.  Silvio isn't flicking us off on purpose.  At least that's what he says.
@ DC Brau. Silvio isn’t flicking us off on purpose. At least that’s what he says.

DC Brau was a good time, perhaps in part because the brewery offers samples – in volume! They even had a few tables, one of which we managed to snag. My favorite beer was their El hefe Speaks, a deliciously refreshing hefeweizen.

Silvio captured a ghost on camera @ Busboys and Poets
Silvio captured a ghost on camera @ Busboys and Poets

Our next stop was The Passenger, a relatively small bar with tons of character and very unique cocktails. Sadly, the entire block where The Passenger stands is planned for demolition. If you’re in the DC area, you may want to hit this place up before it’s no-more.

Dinner was had at Busboys and Poets. I didn’t have a beer with dinner. Seriously…I didn’t!

Next up, we hit Dacha Beer Garden, an outdoor beer garden that featured Das Boot.

The night rounded out with trips to Right Proper Brewing Company and Boundary Stone Public House.

If this was “taking a slower pace”, I really wonder what our Saturday would have looked like had we not had a huge race the next day!!!

Let's do this thing!
Let’s do this thing!

All that beery carbo-loading appeared to do wonders. We were blessed by absolutely gorgeous weather for the run and all three of us ran a great race. I beat my target time and managed a personal record for 10 miles. The race itself was amazing. The route started at the pentagon and took us by the monuments, parks and neighborhoods. There were live bands playing along the route, including a dude shredding to a rendition of Sweet Child of Mine around mile 8…a massive pick-me-up at a point in the race where I was starting to hurt.

Another amazing thing to see were the wounded warriors running the race. I finished near a man who was a double-amputee running on blades. I’m getting a little choked up just recalling it now!

My final results were as follows:
* 5-mile-split: 39:23.
* Total time: 1:17:28 (a PR).
* Average pace: 7 min 44 seconds per mile.
* Division place (males 35-40): 373 out of 2327 (top 15%).
* Gender place (all males): 2398 out of 13,863 (top 17%).
* Overall place: 2910 out of 26,238 (top 11%).

Melissa’s results were:
* 5-mile-split: 49:35.
* Total time: 1:42:44 (a PR).
* Average pace: 10 min 16 seconds per mile
* Division place (females 30-34): 1163 out of 2413
* Gender place (all females): 5620 of 12,375
* Overall place: 15,485 of 26,238

Silvio and I near the finish line.  Our 10th and  last mile was our fastest!
Silvio and I near the finish line. Our 10th and last mile was our fastest!

To Silvio: I owe you a debt for hosting us, planning our whole weekend out and chauffeuring us around. Thanks for motivating me to run this race,for running right along side me for 10 miles and being a fantastic running partner. You’re my boy, Blue!

Silvio will soon be moving to the west coast, so I’m very thankful that I got to visit him before the move. Good luck with the move, my friend. I hope you find everything you’re looking for and we look forward to visiting you sometime!


Thanks to Sarah for making the awesome sign and cheering us on all day.
Thanks to Sarah for making the awesome sign and cheering us on all day.

Newburyport Brewing Company Visit


Earlier today I took the afternoon off so I could make a trip up to Newburyport and visit a couple of breweries. First on my list was Newburyport Brewing. My hosts were none other than co-founders Chris Webb and Bill Fisher, accompanied by brewmaster Mike Robinson.

Chris and Bill’s story is quite fascinating. To summarize, in 2011 the two noted a lack of craft beer in the Newburyport area and decided to start a brewery. In 2012 equipment started rolling in and by spring 2013 brewing operations were in full swing. In it’s first year, Newburyport brewed 5000 barrels, making it one of the fastest growing breweries. Today, despite the recent significant addition of equipment, the brewery can’t keep beer on shelves. Further expansion is planned.

I got a can of Plum Island Belgian White RIGHT off the line.
I got a can of Plum Island Belgian White RIGHT off the line.

Some of the success can be attributed to amazing foresight. For example, one of the first investments the two made was in a canning line. Even earlier than that, long before beer was being brewed on premise, they purchased rights to relatively rare strains of hops.

Bill spoke fondly of Brewmaster Mike Robinson, saying that “Mike was a huge part of the success we have seen”. Robinson, has quite a resume including New England Home Brewer of the Year and Samuel Adams Longshot winner. An original bottle of his Old Ale that won the award is pictured in the gallery below.

Left to Right: Bill Fisher, Me, Mike Robinson, Chris Webb
Left to Right: Bill Fisher, Me, Mike Robinson, Chris Webb

In addition to beer, Chris and Bill have a passion for music. The two play in a funk band together (Chris is lead vocals, while Bill is on horns) and the brewery regularly hosts local bands, who are featured in the Live from Newburyport Brewing series of shows. The brewery also supports local artists, featuring and selling art out of the tasting room. Fisher explained how important it is for Newburyport Brewing to invest in the local community, saying “We wanted this space to be a community place.”

If you’re in the North Shore area, I HIGHLY recommend swinging by the brewery!