Julia and I awoke up at our leisure on Saturday morning. During one of my many duckwalked runs to the bathroom, Julia turned on the TV to some all-day marathon of a Spanish-language gameshow that involves competition, athletic excess, and public suffering. The studio audience ate it right up. We couldn't stop watching until 1pm rolled around, when our grumbling stomachs forced us out the door and into the world or, more accurately, Saugus.
After some Italian subs, we went to Julia's church in Charlestown, and listened to a priest with the thickest New England accent I'd ever heard inside a church. After that, we hastened over to Bunker Hill Community College, where we dumped the car and hopped on the T's Orange Line. The wind was merciless as we stood on the platform, and for the second or third time in 2007, it started to snow.
We stepped off the train at the bustling Back Bay station. From its size, I would guess it's a multi-modal facility, connecting buses, transit trains, commuter rail, and possibly Amtrak. When Carl, Mike, and I went to the Extreme Beer Fest in 2005, we got lost plodding around the Back Bay in four feet of snow, and as heavy traffic as ever. In 2007, Julia and I found it with absolutely no trouble. We met Carl standing in front of the Cyclorama at 5:20pm, forty minutes early.
Julia and Carl were both hungry. I was not for some reason. But to quell their wicked stomach pains, we went to a little deli across the street, and returned to the front door to see a gigantic line had formed. The temperature had dropped noticably too. It was especially noticable as we stood stationarily in line as we waited for the doors to open at 6pm.
Cold aside, I was having a great time. Julia and Carl and I had no shortage of things to talk about, and people around us chimed in on occasion, and before we knew it, the line was chuggling forward into the opened doors. After several ID and ticket checks, we were at large with tasting glasses and a staked-out tall table. I got right to it.
I drank beers from Dogfish Head, Avery, Berkshire, Smuttynose, Stone, Lagunitas, Ithaca, Sly Fox, Goose Island, Troeg's, Cambridge, Stone Coast, Offshore Ales, Milly's Tavern, and others I cannot remember. The beer was excellent, but it's not what I remember most about the evening. The entire weekend was filled with great beer, so the beer at the EBF was mainly just icing on the cake.
One thing I noticed this time that I didn't notice before was the numbers of beer geeks in attendance that were actually big geeks. Like, socially awkward geeks. White, bearded dudes that despite their love for excellent beers, apparently don't get out very much. This struck me as odd. I had previously considered a beer geek(such as myself) to be a different animal than a standard geek. Seeing as beer is not generally available on tap(the preferred conveyance for beer) except in bars and taverns, becoming a fan of it would generally require some time spent in social environments.
This prerequisite looked as if it had eluded a great number of the portly, grizzled attendees of the festival. As with many things, it was not as excellent as I remember it being when I first went in 2005. Maybe it was Julia's presence, but I doubt it. At the first fest, meeting people seemed almost effortless. At this fest, people kept more to themselves, and the only people we really talked with were the ones that used our table to assemble themselves or eat.
That said, we still had a great time, and astoundingly, nobody got tipsy at all. I had previously assured Julia that there was nothing she could do to avoid the inebriation at the fest, but we all managed to avoid it, and still have nigh on ten tastes apiece. It was extremely tiring though, so we were happy to have a seat anywhere, including the Hard Rock Cafe down the street. There we made a half-hearted attempt at keeping the beer going, but found that we were barely up to the task of drinking the single beers we'd ordered.
Julia and I got back on the train to Bunker Hill, got her car, and went home.