Thursday 11 July 2019

Sunday in Boston

I awake feeling quite knacked. The last few days have taken their toll. Way too much standing around.

There’s still no wifi. This is starting to get really annoying.

I drag my bags up to Providence Station. A group of young Russian men overtakes me. I really am becoming a feeble old twat. Especially if hills are involved. Really can’t cope with inclines no more. I genuinely have no inclination to climb. I blame the Dutch for being too cheap to build any hills.

The station surprisingly crowded. I try to buy a ticket.

"A one way to South Station, please."

"Is that on the MBTA?"


"Then you need to get the ticket on the train."

When the train comes in, it's half a dozen double-decker cars. Which seems a bit overkill, given how few people were on the train out. And that was a weekday.

How wrong I was. The train is mobbed. I'm lucky to get a seat. Who are all these people? I can spot some who had obviously been at the conference, based on their T-shirts or Briess bags. But there are also lots who look like students.

I’m an early boarder and can grab myself a seat and space for my bags. Others aren’t so lucky. There’s a constant back and forth of seat seekers.

Why are passengers only allowed to board via a couple of doors on US trains? Seems a crazy way to operate. Especially on a crowded train like this one. Makes it much more difficult to distribute everyone evenly. And longer to board. Much about American train travel seems weird to European eyes. Not just the skeletal service and ancient rolling stock.

The ticket costs me $10, while on the way out it was $11.50. I’m going slightly further, too.

There's a reason I'm headed to South Station: there's a direct connection on the T to Kendall station. Which is right next to my hotel. I don't want to take a taxi here if I can avoid it. Boston taxi drivers angry me up something crazy.

I check in and rest up a little in my room. And drink some of the beer I've accumulated. My plan for later? Mead Hall and maybe CBC. They're the reason I chose this hotel. No point making your life more complicated than necessary.

I wander along to Mead Hall. There’s some Jaque D’Or artwork on the wall still. Cool – Pretty Things aren’t forgotten.

I’ve started with a session beer:

Captain Lawrence Cookie O’Puss Imperial Stout
It’s black as fuck, but just 8% ABV. Just barely a Double Stout, really.

So glad to be here again. One of my favourite US beer bars. Sorry. I should be telling you about the beer. Thick and roasty, as black as Trump’s stubbed toenail. Not bad at all. If that appears faint praise, it isn’t.

This is a decompressing day. Calming down on my own after a hectic conference. Which was fun, but involved way too much standing.

Since passing 60, I’ve noticed my body can’t take as much craziness as even when I was a spritely 50-something. Listening to my body’s complaints and slowing down are important if I want to hit 70 in good nick, let alone 80.

Not sure I want to do so many US trips in such a short space of time again. Knackering and I’m not sure that I appreciated them all. Though I still probably wouldn’t change anything.

I’ve not eaten anything today so far and it’s 5 PM.  Unless you count beer as food. I really should have something solid. The wild boar meatballs are tempting. So I order them.

They aren’t joking when they write “small plates”. I’m fine with it, mind. Don’t want to occupy too much valuable beer space with useless ballast.

I was fascinated to learn that the wild boar in the USA were originally domesticated European pigs that escaped and reverted to feral form.  How does that work?

I had been thinking that bringing my coat was a waste of time. But it’s been raining here today and the temperature has fallen quite a lot. It’s actually quite pleasant at the moment. Though it hasn’t been that bad anywhere so far. Not like the hell that was North Carolina.

The bloke next to me chomping on a burger just dropped some of his cutlery on the floor. And didn’t bother picking it up. He wasn’t using it, but I would never have let it lie like that. Been raised better than that.

The wild boar meatballs were very nice, but a bit skimpy for $15. I’m tempted to order more food.

Schilling Fall of Babylon 9% ABV
Stronger, but in a smaller measure. Wings and throundabouts. More burnt and less rich than the last one. Odd, as it’s stronger.

I get another one. Probably my last here. I’m starting to fade, though it isn’t late. The disadvantage of being an old twat.

The list is very heavy on IPA and sour beers. I’ve seen much worse, though. How dangerous must it be to update that draught beer blackboard? It’s up pretty high. And it doesn’t look as if it’s detachable.

I don't stay out that late. I have just the three beers. Though they are all Imperial Stouts.

I start feeling a bit peckish. Rather than get room service, I run down to the hotel's restaurant and get a carry out pulled pork sandwich. It comes with a big pile of chips. That's OK. I've eaten fuck all while I've been over here. I've only had a handful of proper meals.

Enough of a whisky sledgehammer remains to pat me into deep sleep.

4 Cambridge Center,
90 Broadway,
MA 02142.
Tel: +1 617-714-4372


ccb said...

Hey. welcome to us former colonies. I am disappointed you did not try Yuengling Porter. The oldest American Brewery still under same family ownership. They have a golden lager, that is a most popular brand along our east coast, on draft in most Taverns. I prefer their Porter.
Also, Sam Adams, an upstart family brewery trying to lay claim to a distant relation to one of our heros. They do have a few fine suds. Also Boston Brewery, of which I do not know enough history, but like their ales.
We have many "crafts breweries", most I can tolerate, but they seem to think the higher the alcohol the better. Not a good way to cool off on a sultry, hot, South Jersey summer.
Enjoyed your blog.

A Brew Rat said...

I think AK and X are better beer names than "Captain Lawrence Cookie O’Puss".

Unknown said...

Some US railways only want to allow boarding at doors where there's a conductor or other employee present to supervise the passengers. This goes back a long ways, back to when railway coaches typically carried step-stools to help people board trains off low-level platforms.

On the other hand, the British trains, especially the old slam-door variety, freak the h**l out of Americans (I know it did me). I get to open my own door? I gotta stick my hand out to open the door? There's no conductor telling me to stay out of the vestibule til the train stops?

If I were in New England, I'd be straight on the seafood (although it's not cheap). Wild boar is really a Southern thing, they're major pests down there.

You should visit Wisconsin. We have a lot of good session level ABV beer and you can see if our Friday fish fry is as good as fish & chips. ;-)

Ron Pattinson said...


it's an extremely inefficient way of boarding passengers. Just back from Japan and actually saw staff pushing passengers into the train.