I rise reasonably early. Lots to do today.
Did I ever mention that I love having breakfast in old-fashioned American diners? They remind me of London cafes. The good ones. In both countries. So when Chris asks where I’d like to eat, the choice is easily made.
We sit at the counter and chat while waiting for our food. I really like Chris. Despite how odd his biscuit and gravy breakfast looks. “I expect gravy to be brown.” I mention. “It’s sausage gravy.” He replies. No, still not getting that one. He offers me some and it tastes pleasant enough. I’m taking my usual greasy route to breakfast satisfaction.
Chris drops me at the building where I spoke yesterday. He has to give a lecture. My shuttle to Detroit airport is due in 45 minutes. I go inside and read one of the newspapers they’ve kindly provided. I skip the really depressing bits and stick to the “quite” and “just a bit” depressing. Nothing in the least cheery, obviously.
The “shuttle” is me and a driver. He’s a former navy man and retired trucker. With quite a few stories. Just as well, given the 90 minutes we’ll be sharing this vehicle. He’s a good antidote to the general dismalness of the newspaper. His stories mostly have a positive ending.
Detroit airport isn’t huge. Which is fine by me. The smaller the better. And with as few effing people as possible in it. Especially the latter, after my Schiphol nightmare. I have been here before, when I as in Detroit for work. But that was so long ago, I can’t recall a single thing about the airport.
There’s no queue at all for security. I’m through in a couple of minutes.
Which leaves me plenty of time for a drink or two at the bar. I follow my usual plan: head for the bar closest to my gate.
I order a beer and a double bourbon.
“I can’t give you a beer and a double. I can pour you single then give you another one when you’ve drunk that.” The barmaid informs me. You what? They have some crazy alcohol rules here in the US.
I’m flying with Delta. Mostly because they partner with KLM, my principal frequent flyer account. It’s an uneventful flight. Which is how I like it.
While I’m waiting for my bags I hear someone say “Hey, Ron!” behind me. It’s Kristen.
This is an odd moment. We’ve corresponded for nigh on a decade, but never met until now. The words tumble from both out mouths. Just like resuming a half-finished conversation. There’s no interruption in our chatter all the way to my hotel.
I leave Kristen in the lobby while I rush upstairs to dump my stuff. When I open the bag I checked in there’s a pungent smell. Beer. Half my clothes are soaked, but thankfully none has reached the books. That would have been really annoying. It’s easy enough to wash clothes.
I soon find the culprits: a bottle of Butcher’s Tears Spiral Scratch and one of their Isaac’s Rose. The crown corks are still in place, but the bottles are 90% empty. I don’t understand. They made it over the Atlantic OK. Never had a bottle leak on me before.
This is going to leave me short of clothes. I quickly rinse out the affected shirts socks and undercrackers in the bathroom. Not out of any real hopes of being able to wear then when dry. Just to stop my luggage smelling like a pub just after throwing out time.
Luckily my package of books arrived safely. The books I hope to sell tonight and tomorrow. They’re in Kristen’s car.
Before going to Bent Brewstillery for the event, Kristen takes me for a beer and a bite at a pub nearby. I can do with some fodder. I’ve eaten nothing since breakfast.
At Bent Brewstillery I first busy myself with getting the equipment ready. This time it’s a big TV rather than a projector and screen.
It’s starting to fill up. They don’t usually open on a Monday. Meaning they must be here to see me. I hope they’re in a book-buying sort of mood. The taproom is soon pleasingly full.
As I’m feeling a bit knacked, Kristen gives me a big mug of cold-pressed coffee. It seems to do the trick. Soon I’m rocking through my talk at pace. I have to keep things rolling along or it’ll take hours. Best keep it to 60 minutes, at most.
Once all the questions are answered, I set about the real business of the evening: flogging my books. Not just the new Scotland one. I’ve brought along a few copies of the Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer as well. Both sell pretty well. I’ll be filling my bathtub with 100 dollar bills later. (I wish.)
I also get stuck into the beers Kristen has brewed for the event:
Stout - 1949 Younger DBS stout
IPA - Ushers 1885 IP
Keeping/Scotch - 1913 Younger No. 1
Export - 1865 William Younger Ext
Table - 1868 William Younger Teeble beer
They’re very nice. The Table Beer is a surprise. Very pale and very drinkable, with the Saaz hops lending it a Pilsner quality.
We don’t stay up too late. Another early start tomorrow. And a very full programme.
Next time: I regret not bothering to take my coat.
Coffee Cup Diner
73 N Broad St,
Tel: +1 517-439-0140
1744 Terrace Dr,
Tel: +1 844-879-2368
Buy my new Scottish book. It's why I was in the USA.
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