Wednesday, June 4, 2008

U.K. in D.C.

It's so true that a flavor, smell or scent can evoke a memory more readily, more vividly than a hundred photos ever will. A whiff or a note can put you in a place you were, a place a many miles from the place you are.

Yesterday, hanging out at a buddy's place in D.C. I found myself back in the U.K. The missus was getting her hair cut nearby, so I took the opportunity to pay a visit and drink a couple beers with my college buddy Peter Falk (It's an alias. He lives next to the FBI.). On the way over, I swung through the liquor store/mob front and grabbed a six of Troegs' Sunshine Pils and a four pack of Abbot Ale (By the way, why does Abbot Ale come in four packs? It only has 5% alcohol. I completely understand why Dogfish Head's 9% 90 Minute IPA comes in a four pack -- a little goes a long way. But a 5% beer? Come on.)

Cracking open an Abbot and staring at the poor bastards in the office building across the alley still humping out their workday well into the 7 o'clock hour, I found myself thinking about England. That mouthful of Abbot tasted like every bitter I've ever had in the U.K. (Strangely enough, OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below does the same thing. The first time I listened to the album was driving around England in a rented Vauxhall with the missus).

Interestingly -- at least to me -- I've been hunting for bars in the D.C. area that have hand-pump taps. These taps are as common in the U.K. as carbonated beer taps are here. The hand pumps eliminate any carbon dioxide the beer doesn't naturally have because the bartender has to hand pump the beer out of the keg, rather than rely on a carbonated tap to do the work for him. The result is a very mellow -- some might say flat -- tasting beer. It also opens up the flavor of a beer because you're not distracted by the spicy sensation carbon dioxide creates in your mouth.

What I am really going for though is a memory, a reminder of a place and friends. While I've found a few of those taps around town, it was a couple cans of beer on a balcony next to the FBI building that got me where I was going.

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