From A Cabin In The Woods
When last we spoke I mentioned that I quit my job. Instead of summarizing that post you should just click the link and read all about it. Then you can come back and read the rest of this post.
This past Friday was my last day in the office. It was rather quaint, surprisingly. Much more so than I thought it would be. My last few days were a flurry of activity and I left on an incredibly positive note. I was very flattered by the respect I was shown on my way out by both the higher-ups at the company and my peers. Without divulging any details, they made it abundantly clear that they were sorry to see me go, but understood the decision. My last day included donuts, thai food, and beers. Hugs on my way out the door. I like to think I’ll cross paths with everyone again in the near future.
That said, I’m not entirely free yet. I’m “remote” this week, in the sense that I’m on-call should any of my former clients require services no one else at the company can perform for them. And since working remotely means I can work from anywhere, I decided to venture up the coast to Northern California for a few days of relaxation, exploration, and…well…inebriation. My base of operations for the next few days is this cute little cabin in Santa Rosa:
The place is about the size of my apartment, sleeps two, with a little attached bathroom and kitchenette, a space heater for extra warmth and a large skylight overhead to let in natural light. The woman who owns the cabin lives…somewhere else in town I think? I don’t know, really. There were keys to both the gate and the cabin door hidden outside and I have her phone number if anything goes wrong or something doesn’t work. Other than that, all is quiet, tucked away behind a residential street, in a densely wooded neighborhood.
Yesterday was the LA marathon so early morning — before traffic wrecked havoc on the city — made for a ideal departure time. Having traversed the scenic routes before (ie. the Pacific Coast Highway and US-101 through the Central Coast) I-5 would suffice this time. Maybe the drive home will be more scenic. We’re kind of flying the seat of our pants right on this adventure.
The first and only stop of yesterday’s drive occurred in Berkeley, at The Rare Barrel. As one of the most consistent, high-quality beer programs in the country, I’ve been dying to visit their tasting room for years. I’ve also been a member of their Ambassadors Of Sour club for a few years. This has been a source of frustration for me me because my living in LA means I’ve never been able to take advantage of any on-site perks afforded to club members.
The tasting room is very welcoming. A big, open space with an inviting atmosphere, it boasts several long communal tables mixed with couches, a bar, and plenty of standing room around (wait for it…) barrels! SO MANY BARRELS. There was still an hour’s drive left to reach Santa Rosa, so I was happy to consume More Mango (a golden sour aged in oak with mangoes) and Saphir Effect (a golden sour aged in oak barrels and hopped with saphir) before grabbing a dozen or so bottles, some glassware, and a growler that was all packed up and waiting to be retrieved by me as part of my membership.
The drive from Berkeley to Santa Rosa took about an hour. Once settled in, unpacked, and relaxed, it was off to Russian River for dinner. From the cabin’s front door to the front door of brewpub was a shade over a mile. The choice to walk was an obvious one. Even on a Sunday night in the sleepy town of Santa Rosa, the wait for a table was about 45 minutes. I bellied up to the bar and ordered a pint of Pliny the Elder (happy hour all day on Sundays meant $3.75 pints) until a table was ready. Upon being seated, I required a full flight board, which includes one of every beer on the menu. All 21 of them.
The jaws of the couple at the next table over dropped as this behemoth was placed before me.
“Is that just for you?” The girl asked.
“Of course!” I responded.
The guy she was with snickered and shook his head. Wings and pizza were ordered to pair with the beers, and before we had a chance to chat further the couple at the next table over abruptly stood up and left.
“I’m really impressed by all this,” the girl said, studying the flight board.
“Have a safe night, man.” The guy said.
I smiled and nodded, like a warrior preparing for battle. As the couple scuttled away I reached for the first glass and the odyssey began.
Less than five minutes later, the girl from the next table over appeared. She slid into one of the vacant seats at the table and asked, “Do you mind if I sit here?” Confused, I asked what was up. She mentioned that she had been on an awkward Tinder date, was decidedly not into the guy, but she wanted to enjoy the bar and drink and so…could she? As a naturally inquisitive and personable guy, I was immediately intrigued by this situation. I wanted to hear all the details of the date, what kind of system she used for bailing, and whether or not this was a common thing for her. So for the next three or four hours while I worked my way through the flight board, pizza and wings, a new friend was made! She even offered to play tour guide later in the week, and provided a list of wineries to visit in Sonoma.
The only downside to making a new friend was that I literally can’t remember 15 of the 21 beers I consumed last night because the conversation was so lively and engaging. I’m pretty sure I was nonplussed by the pales, blondes and table beers. The porter was better than I thought it would be and of course all the sours were top-notch. They have a version of a Bière de Garde they call a Bière de Sonoma that was nice. Supplication (a brown ale aged in pinot barrels with cherries and the usual souring bugs) is always so, so delicious. Fresh Pliny and Blind Pig are as good as IPAs get. After I finished the flight I ordered one last pint of Pliny before calling it a night. At that point I think new friend might have been more concerned than impressed by my tolerance, but whatever.
“What’s the best way to walk home?” I asked as we were settling our tabs.
And that’s how I learned there’s a huge cemetery right smack dab in the middle of one potential path between Russian River and the cabin. Naturally — after wishing new friend a fond farewell — a dumb, drunken decision was made to take a midnight stroll through the cemetery. Pitch black, with only a cell phone and a camera to locate the path, somehow the night ended in the safety of the cabin’s fenced-in yard, huddled by the fire pit, enjoying the starry sky and the soundlessness of the woods.
Six Organs Of Admittance – Things As They Are [MP3]
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