Wisdom prevailed when I decided to not try and hit another brewery last Wednesday.
I heartily endorse moderation in drinking beer and not endangering myself or others. So, as I geared up to drive the 90 plus miles from Erie to Pittsburgh, I decided to not attempt visiting North Country Brewing Company in Slippery Rock on the way down. I was tired and hot, and the drive–especially with all of the road construction–proved to be a test of endurance. Two plus hours of the automotive equivalent of a root canal…
There are times in every great endeavor where one’s back is up against the wall. It takes wisdom to know if we are to fight through something or wait to fight the battle another day. Wisdom is knowing sometimes more this “when” piece than the “what” piece. Timing, my friend, is everything.
Making me even more weary on last Thursday was a phone conversation with my wife. She was feeling neglected by 40/40. Even though we had both talked about 40/40 at the beginning to make sure that we were on the same page, it is fair to say neither one of us really grasped how hard it was going to be to see it through.
Another general rule of thumb: Most things are harder than we expect. It is one of those paradoxes that we are often called to make life choices without the prerequisite knowledge to really know what we are getting into. This is particularly true where one is blazing a path not traveled before. There are no clear paradigms to follow.
By Friday morning, I was feeling considerably more chipper. I had a great day on Thursday making the brewrounds in Pittsburgh. My brother Steve had taken Friday off of work, so we were both free men to head north up to North Country Brewing. I am so glad that I had waited. I would not have appreciated it on Wednesday night. It would have gone there to go there, to take one more microbrewery off of my list. No joy, no peace, just raw gutting it out…a long hard slog. Literally, gone south.
We pulled into the college town of Slippery Rock. One of the side benefits of 40/40 is seeing all of the college places where my students have gone to that are in different parts of the state. Like Clarion, Thiel, Gannon. I will never see places like these unless I break my ruts.
Ah, notice the Nittanny Lion. He is on the prowl everywhere, another college town or not. No matter to him. College carnivore…
Here is the North Country Brewpub itself:
The best shot of all…Beerside:
Now that my brother and I are older and more mature, we have learned how to share. So, we split the flight. Flight, not fight. There were great beers all-around. Nothing was merely good. I really liked them all.
Take special note of this one:
“This style of beer is light to medium in body (mouth-feel) with very little hop character. The brewer says “a good beer to try if you’re a Northern Lite drinker”
Why named thus? This building used to be a morgue! One could say that they brew their beers with a lot of body!
Even the food was banging:
No matter who I talked to out in Western Pa. about North Country Brewpub, everyone loves the food. This was a turkey and bacon sandwich that met my gnawing hunger head on and reduced it to satisfaction and satiation. My brother had the Reuben and he seriously inhaled it like a shop vac does to dust bunnies. I looked over while halfway through my sandwich and he had cleaned his plate. And, I eat fast…I am like the Wyatt Earp of eating…or should it be Wyatt Uuurp? I gross my wife out with how fast I can down food.
Hey, I come from a big family of four boys and if I didn’t eat fast, I didn’t get seconds.
We met a really cool and amusing 83 year old Edward who regaled us with jokes and stories of what it was like growing up in the Depression. The man was a gem.
I called him “Edward the 83rd.” Although he looks a little serious in the picture, the man has a great sense of humor and a wonderful and whimsical way. He had the best line of the day:
“I am not retired, I am just tired.”
Followed by guffaws all-around. I have been blessed to have met so many interesting people along my travels as well as traveled with friends to brewpubs. I have special affection for Edward. May you live longer and prosper!
Another blessing of 40/40 is that I have been able to spend time with each of my three brothers individually at different brewpubs in the state of Pennsylvania. To my family and new and old friends, “Cheers!”