Monday, 21 October 2019

Back to Amsterdam

I lounge in my trollies after dragging my saggy behind out of bed. And watching another glorious crimson sunrise.

Do they do breakfast here? Doesn’t matter. I’ve 2 kilos of doggy bag Vietnamese. I realise how ridiculous the portion size is when I lifted the container. Enough food for a dozen starving teenagers.

I dollop out the best bits onto a plate and give it a spin in the microwave. Still dead yummy.

Handyman very chatty at checkout. Ponytail very like Matt’s, but coloured red.

Matt suggests a spot of lunch on the way to the airport. “What sort of food would you like?”

“Typical American, maybe. Not had any of that yet.”

“That probably means fast food. Burgers, tacos, pizzas. Not necessarily great food.”

“I’m not massively hungry. I finished off that Vietnamese earlier. It’s beer I’m after, really.”

Matt suggests Arbor Brewing’s location in Plymouth, which is on the way. It’s in a modern building on what looks like the town’s main square.

We park behind the brewery. When we walk around the front we realise it isn’t open.

“Thank you, Mr. Google. According to him it opens at noon. Let’s go next door instead.” Which is an Italian restaurant. “it’s owned by the same people and sells Arbor beers.

We sit at the bar, where have a good view of the 20-odd draught beer taps. I opt for an Arbor Buzzsaw IPA. It’s rather pleasant in a straight ahead old-school sort of way.

Matt gets a pizza. I just get a small plate of prosciutto and cheese. It’s light and rather good.

I go for a Bell’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout from 2016. Sticking with my Michigan-brewed theme.

“Expedition Stout isn’t usually barrel aged.” Matt tells me.

“At least it doesn’t taste like it’s had cheap bourbon thrown into. I’m sure that’s what some breweries do.”

“It is.”

We visit the bog before leaving. It’s shared by the brewpub. Giving me a chance to look at the brewing kit. It’s very much like brewing kit the world over: shiny.

On the way to Detroit airport we chat about the Vikings and their influence, the failure of Viking Greenland, the spread of pastoralism, comparative linguistics and lots of other fun stuff. Matt is extremely knowledgeable about history, but knows a stack of other stuff.

After I’ve said goodbye to Matt, I spot there’s a handy kerbside check in.

“Can I check in here?”

“Where are you going, sir?” A friendly woman asks in reply.


“Yeah, sure you can.”

That was dead easy. Two minutes, not even in the terminal, and I’m done with a big chunk of the annoying airport shit. Just security, the most irritatingist bit, to go.

I park my arse at the bar of Gordon Biersch, close to my gate. And get myself an Oktoberfest. It’s OK. Malty and undemanding. A bit overcarbonated for my taste.

That’s a bit odd. They’re playing Off the Wall. I thought Michael Jackson was relegated to Gary Glitter status?

I’ve moved onto Jim Beam. They’re very liberal here – you can take drinks out to you gate. They don’t usually allow that in the USA.

A couple plonk down to my left. From their phone calls to the relatives babysitting their kids, I learn that they’ve missed a connecting flight and will be stuck in Detroit airport for six hours. Don’t blame them for idling them away at the bar.

The bloke is quite into beer, which gives us something to talk about. Lots to talk about. I bore at international level when it comes to beer.

The flight is pretty uneventful. Especially as I sleep through most of it.

Alexei is pottering around when I get home.

“I heard two bangs last night and thought it was some kids letting off fireworks. Mum told me it was the cash machine around the corner being blown up.”

Arbor Brewing Plymouth Taproom
777 W Ann Arbor Trail,
MI 48170.
Tel: +1 734-233-6201

Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina
777 W Ann Arbor Trail,
MI 48170.
Tel: +1 734-233-6200

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