I ended up, as directed, going to Bloomington yesterday. I actually took a half day of vacation so I could get there early. This ended up being a good thing, but I'll get to that later.
During the drive up I ping-ponged between two thoughts.
First, I was a little excited to be doing this spur of the moment thing and following the sign I'd imagined getting on Thursday. I had no idea what to expect in Bloomington, but I figured it must be something interesting or I wouldn't have been led up there.
Second, I felt a little silly. I was basically driving up there because a coaster had told me to. I was also a little afraid that maybe I was missing something exciting and/or interesting at Rich O's. Of course maybe that's what the coaster was really trying to do - just keep me away from Rich O's for the night.
Those coasters, you never really know what they're trying to accomplish. They're sneaky and mysterious.
The first thing I did after I got to Bloomington was get a hold of my niece so I could check out her new dorm room. Here's a pic:
Next I went over to the Upland Taproom. Here's another pic:
It's a smaller place than I'd imagined. It was also quite crowded especially when you consider I got there at 6:00. I noted the complete lack of a smoking section and grabbed a seat at the bar.
I told the bartender that I was looking to taste some beers and that the first thing I wanted to taste was their Chocolate stout. So she poured me a little sampler glass (4) before I could stop her. I drained that and asked for a 12 oz. glass.
(draft) Incredible head and lacing. Had a strong coffee aroma but the flavor was an incredible blend of both coffee and chocolate. Very creamy and very yummy.
So this is now my favorite stout in the world, and I almost decided to just stick with it, but in the end I figured that The Coaster would want me to sample some other beers. So that's what I did.
(draft) Had a very strong roasted malt aroma. The flavor was quite nice with roasted malt and a mild chocolate. A dry finish that made me want to take another drink right away.
Upland Valley Weizen (12)
(draft) Very fizzy but sweet. A mild banana aroma and flavor. Mouthfeel was fizzy wheat. There was a slight tartness to the finish. I liked this, but I've had better dunkels.
I'd actually drank, and rated, the Porter before, but I went ahead and updated my old rating because I like to think that my palate is a little more sophisticated now than it was back then.
During the time I was drinking my beers I found myself looking around, trying to figure out just what I was doing up there. The place was completely packed, but everyone was with their own little group. The only person I really talked to was the bartender.
By the time I'd had my three beers it was only about 6:45. This is something I've noticed each time I've gone into a non-smoking bar. I drink a lot faster. Now some people might consider this to be a good thing but I'm such a lightweight that all it means to me is that my nights end early.
I ended up having a final Chocolate Stout (28) and starting back towards home a little after 7:00.
By the time I got back to New Albany it was only 10:30 so I (of course) went to Rich O's. I ordered a Smithwick's (460) and was just settling down on the sofa when something cool happened.
My friend Eric and his wife Terri came in!
So what had been slight disappointment from not having anything exciting happen in Bloomington turned into a pretty good mood by the end of the night.
Man, I've written this long rambling entry and I'm going to stop now. Nobody reads this far anyway.