Fast forward to last Friday, Fruited Friday that is. Oxbow had seven home-made fruit-tastic brews on tap, plus three "Guest Beers." I raced over after work, once a couple taxidermied owls for a lesson on nocturnal animals were secured in my car. Welcome to my teaching life! The event ran noon to 6pm so I was shocked to find that all the kegs were still active when arrived at 3:30pm. Through my wily charms, I was able to taste six of the seven beers, and found one new favorite beer.
Momoko is blended, barrel aged peach farmhouse ale that is 7% ABV. This was different from Allagash's Farm to Face peach beer in that it was slightly sweeter and much more like taking a bite of a peach and sharing your mouthful with sip of beer. Peachy beer. Go find some. It even smells like it tastes so I was brought back to my family's peach orchard in Colorado. Eating and drinking should be about transporting yourself to a place of love or a place of loved ones. Momoko accomplished that. I ended up getting two pours of this one because I couldn't imagine living one more minute without it.
I went for First Fruits next. It was certainly still as killer as I remembered. This one is also a blended farmhouse fruit beer that is aged six to twelve months in barrels with cherries, raspberries and Oxbow-grown strawberries. She's also 7% ABV. (Again, see 6/28/2015 blog for many more details about this one). Putting fruit into beer just makes my life so much better. And since there's fruit in it, the beer is healthy, right?
I just had a couple sips of the other four I tried. It's just so much nicer going to a place that lets you try things you might enjoy! I have been to other bars and felt judged for wanting to experiment. Not at Oxbow! Here are the others I tasted:
Liquid Swords- 7% ABV, Blended and barrel aged farmhouse ale, with cherries! I love cherries so this one was terrific. First Fruits only won out because it also had raspberries and strawberries in it.
La Griseta-4%ABV, Mixed fermentation grisette (style of beer, like a saison) aged with pluots (plum and apricot hybrid). The pluots gave it a light and not too sweet taste. Had I been able to drink many, many pours, I would have gotten this one too.
Millhouse-8.5%ABV, Blended dark farmhouse ale aged in Millstone Cellar cider barrels with raspberries. If I had any love for dark beer, this would have been incredible. As it was, I found it a little bitter but the color (a deep garnet) was outstanding.
Professor Plum-6%ABV, Blended barrel aged plum farmhouse ale. Don't take this the wrong way but this was like the most amazing cough drop you could ever put in your mouth. It was an interesting taste and I found myself taking as small of sips as possible so that I might prolong the drinking experience.
BAFPA- 6.5% ABV. Farmhouse ale, fermented in stainless steal and aged in oak barrels, aged on raspberries. This is the only Oxbow beer on tap I didn't get around to tasting. Everyone has their limits and I reached mine at the end of the second Momoko.
Finally, the three guest beers were blended with fruit as well:
Freigesit Geisterzug Gose- 5.2% ABV, An ancient spruce gose recipe with quince added during fermentation
Hitachino Nest Saison du Japan- 5%, Japanese saison brewed with rice koji and yuzu fruit
Monarchy Methusalem Holunderheimer- 10% ABV, sour, strong altbier or "Adamsbier" brewed with ("And your father smelt of...") elderberries.
When I revisited Oxbow last night for an art opening (see photo below), all but the Holunderheimer was off the menu. Good things never last. The new art is exquisite though. Had I an unlimited budget and wall space to match, at least three of Tessa's paintings would be mine.
Moving on. I didn't have much planned for the weekend so a day trip to Boston was just what I needed. I took the 8:30am bus down and watched the Princess Bride, a favorite of my sisters', along the way. Talk about unreachable romantic goals...Once we arrived, I walked East to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). Sometimes, I love to visit gift shops of museums more than the actual museum. It's cheap (FREE!) and you get a feel for what the museum has to offer. I was most impressed by a piece of work on their giant entryway wall. It is a 40-foot mural by Ethan Murrow called Seastead. The interesting part: it was created using Sharpie markers. See http://www.bigpaperairplane.com/ for more of his work as well as more shots of Seastead. I wonder how many Sharpie pens and markers he went through...
As I left to walk back towards Boston proper, I passed a wall with a non-traditional, not-planned mural of ICA attendance stickers. It made me think of the wall of gum in Seattle for some reason. It's technically littering but with so many colors intermingling, it works as its own type of art. I walked over the water to the Boston Tea Party Museum for a look at some ships, people in Colonial period dress and a few Christmas presents. Then it was on to Chinatown. Boston's Chinatown isn't nearly as impressive as Washington DC's or Manhattan's but it gets the job done for a getaway from American-ism for 20 minutes.
Straight for the burial grounds is where I headed next. Their history and age never fails to floor me. One man's grave, Joseph Trapping, has an incredibly elaborate headstone. The symbolic images range from a skull with wings (representing a soul leaving the body) to an hourglass (representing time running out) and a skeleton snuffing out a candle (Death ending life) all the while, Time (bearded figure) is attempting to stop Death. When did gravestones stop being an ode to a life as well as a work of art and turn so plain? And no Boston trip is complete without a jaunt through Boston Commons. It was an incredibly clear and pretty day. Leaves, squirrels and wedding parties taking photos were everywhere. One couple chose to shoot among millions of fallen yellow leaves. Brilliant!
Food was soon necessary, as I walked around for a total of eight hours. Flour Bakery is always my go-to place in Boston. Their food is really fresh and damn tasty. Once, long ago, I got the smoked turkey sandwich with cranberry chutney, sage mayo and white cheddar cheese and I haven't strayed since. I say white cheddar because if you say cheddar, most assume yellow. This cheese is above and beyond any yellow cheddar there is in this world, not to diss my Wisconsin cheese-making-relatives...This sandwich was so good that I got one half to eat in-house and then a full sandwich, panini-ed to perfection, for dinner.
The next day, I went on an epic walk to Wolf's Neck (see 11/9/2015 blog post) and then on an epic bike ride the day after. I followed the same route my dad and I took last summer South through Cape Elizabeth and all the way to Higgens Beach. Round trip, it was about 28 miles. One stop I made included Two Lights State Park, a place I have never visited. I often go down to the actual two lighthouses and skip the park. I walked around to discover an old World War II era battery bunker. See the metal door photos below.
I'm off to collect Holy Donuts for a garden cleanup event at Reiche Elementary tomorrow morning, come if you want to get your hands dirty. And eat donuts. Mmmmm donuts...