The two could not be more different, aside from the fact that both of the crafts possess the ability of flight. The first leg of our Beer Run required us to travel from Grand Rapids, MI to Chicago in the most cramped accommodations as possible. Small, and I feared rickety, our first tiny plane got the job done. Sporting only three seats across and a surprisingly spacious 13 inch wide seat, our first plane was quite half pint (BEER PUN!!!). As we taxied along to the runway, I couldn't help but wish that our recent snowfall weren't so present. Full disclosure, I am not afraid of flying, but taking off and landing do tap into a very primal level of anxiety for me. Sweaty palms aside, leg one of our journey went off without a hitch.
O'Hare was ok, biggest ding against them was that they do not offer free wifi, but they are swell enough folk to let you purchase it at an hourly rate. I would have loved to be tweeting my little buns off during our time there but this post will have to carry the load. Before picking up a bite to eat, we surveyed our wing of the airport and found that Goose Island brewery had a tap room there.
They make great beers, and had an offering especially well suited to our occasion, a Belgian inspired ale called Matilda. I am a big fan of this beer with it's soft bready malt presentation backed up by pleasant pear and pineapple-esque esters of moderate intensity, accented by gentle peppery phenols. There is a dash of herbal hop flavor and balancing bitterness that really makes this beer refreshing. We all enjoyed it, and can not wait to see how it compares to the beers that inspired it.
Plane number two is much bigger. Not being part of the 1% (too soon?) my traveling partners and I passed First Class with lust in our hearts. It was ever so plush and inviting. Crazy recliner-type Freedom Sofas (is that a thing?), an assortment of beverages I dared not touch, and leg room that I would later learn to covet like my neighbors wife. Not to be out done, my Coach seating offers narrow seats, butt numbing flotation devices for seats, and come with a complimentary four foot tall woman seated behind me who uses the back of my seat as a speed-bag while yelling loudly in french every time I prepare to greet sleep. I will admit that the little 'asian' chicken meal that I had was rather tasty, as was the miniature brownie that was all served with love. Well played United.
We left Chicago at 6 pm on Thursday. Our eight hour flight should get us there, allowing for time change at around 9am the following morning, which is really 2 am for us. I have only dozed occasionally as previously mentioned, thanks pint-sized lady! I am not too worried about it though. Nothing can mess this trip up. It is going to be amazing. I am going to get to delve into one of the richest beer cultures on earth with two of my closest friends. Friday's plan of action is landing, finding the hotel, the hitting Brewery Cantillon. We will roll with the punches from there.
Anyhow, as I type this there is only another hour and three quarters until we touch down in Brussels. The little map on the seat in front of me says we are almost over the UK I will try to update when I can. If you have questions or want more of the hot beer by beer action as it happens, follow me on Twitter @adammmills. Until then...
Drink good beer with good people!
I know I will be :)
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