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On Wednesday, I flew out of the blessed state of Texas and landed in St. Petersburg for a conference.
Just kidding I’m in Florida, but I WISH. Thankfully, this St. Petersburg is quite lovely thus far.
That’s the view from one of my balconies (I say one because there are two!!). It’s okay to be wildly jealous. My room wasn’t ready when we checked in, so they gave me a suite with two balconies and a bathroom large enough for a family to live in. The room the toilet is in is bigger than a dorm room. Why you need so much space for a toilet is beyond me. We are staying at The Vinoy which is located right on the water and right down the street from tons of cute stores. I even woke up early to go running along the shore. It was was fabulous.
On Wednesday night I met my friend Courtney for Dinner at Square 1 Burgers. I had the 3 Mushroom Burger and it was damn good.
I wanted to walk around some when I got back to the hotel, but waking up at 3:30 caught up to me quickly and I passed out before 10. My coworkers napped on the plane, but I had the joy of sitting next to a rodeo clown for the entire ride. He was very friendly and I enjoyed hearing everything about his 15-year-old daughter’s drama with her baby daddy, but I would have sold a kidney to get some sleep.
After a full day of conferencing yesterday, they told us we were going out on a yacht and to “dress accordingly.” Now, I haven’t lived a life that has afforded me the opportunity to spend much time on a yacht (i.e. zero time on a yacht), so my concept of what one wears on a yacht is limited. Mainly it’s this:
I haven’t willingly worn a polo since college and I didn’t wake up yesterday as J.Lo with a Ben Affleck caressing my ass, so I was at a loss. Since my boss was there I opted not to dress like I was going to be in a Pitbull video, so I just stuck with my suit. Nothing says “fun” like wool trousers. But whatever, I was on a boat. Bustin five knots, wind whippin out my coat.
The yachting experience was enjoyable and the views were fantastic, but I was reminded why I don’t particularly care for boats. You’re trapped. There’s no cutting out early and escaping the social interaction because once you’re there, you are committed. For all the hours. It’s kind of sadistic if you think about it. Let’s take a bunch of awkward introverted academic professionals and trap them on a boat for four hours. The good news was that they had a disco area and an open bar, so we got to watch intoxicated nerds dancing awkwardly with their colleagues. Good people watching right there. Obviously, I observed from a corner with my wine and did not participate.
We are trying to get to the Dali museum today before we fly back home, so fingers for that.
Earlier this month, my friend Doug turned elderly. To celebrate turning 30, we went on a local brewery tour with the Austin Brew Bus. Over the course of five hours, we visited two breweries and one brew-pub and had many a wonderful beer. The best part (other than not having to drive and learning about beer) was that all of our tastings were included in the price of the tour ticket and we never had to wait in line. Yeah, buddy.
*Forewarning: This is written by a person who doesn’t actually know anything about beer outside of it tasting delicious or not delicious, so please judge accordingly.
Our first stop of the day was at Thirsty Planet Brewery.
We tried three beers each and I had the Double Buckethead IPA, Silverback Pale Ale, and the Thirsty Goat. IPAs are a hit and miss for me, but the Double Buckethead was fantastic. My sister, who doesn’t drink (still not sure that we are related…), and pregnant Chelsy came along, so we were more than happy to relieve them of their tasting tickets.
After drinking the beer, we went on a short, but informative tour of the actual brewery.
I’m not sure why I’m standing like a pissed off emperor, but I did enjoy the tour. I was probably just jealous because they are all so damn tall.
After Thirsty Planet, the tour moved on to Jester King Brewery which was quite pretty.
They had a huge outdoor seating area, music, and actual food. I could have stayed there all day. The minute our feet hit the dirt, we ordered all the pizza.
It was delicious. The non-drinkers also ordered some yummy cupcakes. I can’t verify how specifically delicious they were because I totally did not try them all.
After inhaling the pizza, we started our tasting. I think we tried five or six different beers, but I can only remember the names of four of them. We had the Mad Meg Farmhouse Ale, Funk Metal Sour-Aged Stout, RU55 Sour Red Ale, and the La Vie en Rose which was ale fermented with raspberries. The raspberry one was ridiculously good and I think it would be great for people who aren’t really into beer or enjoy sweet wines. It was delicious. I also enjoyed the two sour beers which was a surprise because I don’t usually prefer sour flavors. So, that was a nice surprise.
We spent a little over an hour there, but it would be a great place to park yourself on a nice day. There were also a lot of people with kids there and since it is outdoors, it seems like a pretty family friendly place considering it’s a brewery.
Our final stop of the day was back downtown for the brew pub.
For our final official tasting of the tour, we enjoyed a pint of our choice. I was thrilled to learn that they had peanut butter beer and The Infamous Sweep the Leg Peanut Butter Stout was dark and delicious.
Things continued on their uphill swing when the bartender informed me that he could mix it with the Rogue Dark Chocolate Stout. Heaven. Pure heaven. I also enjoyed the Infamous Hijack while we were there. I must find this Infamous brewery now.
The brew bus was a great experience and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re in the area. There were several couples on our tour and a wide variety of ages. It would be great for anyone who likes beer or is mildly interested in it. Their tours vary and their site details which breweries they are visiting if you’ve already been to the ones above.