This past weekend I did something I haven’t done in a long time and something probably few people do: I spent the entire weekend with my brother. My siblings and I have a unique relationship with each other, we actually like each other and like to spend time together. And so Friday afternoon, I picked up my brother at the airport shortly after he arrived from Philadelphia.
It was actually an unusual turn of events that ended up this way since it was supposed to be a weekend with my brother and two sisters. Ever since our parents died, we have been getting together just the four of us at least once a year (with just a few missed years early on)—a challenge since we live in three different parts of the country. We call this weekend for the four of us, “Sib Sab” an abbreviation for “sibling sabbatical”, a name our creative sister coined. This was to be our second Sib Sab of 2013 since we had previously gotten together in May 2013.
A bitter cold winter storm even before winter officially kicked off prevented our two sisters from driving over from Northwest Arkansas. Fortunately the storm in Memphis was much less than expected so my brother was able to fly in although it was a bit of touch and go flying through snowy Cincinnati.
The reason we had gotten together was a desire to talk, listen to music and drink beer (a passion he and I both share). My brother’s birthday falls early in December and each year, I send him money to take himself out for lunch and a beer or two at one of his favorite restaurants. We always talk about how nice it would be to get to enjoy those beers together so this year, we decided to do just that. And both of us being scientists that make a lot of lists, we made a list of all the things we wanted to talk about so we wouldn’t forget and leave an important topic out.
On Friday night I actually took this list with us to dinner so we could get started on our discussions (We later figured out I could take a picture of it on my phone so we wouldn’t have to carry the entire pad with us).
We both have a love for India Pale Ale (IPA) beer, a love I credit my brother with introducing me to and one in which I have written about before (IPA). Since trying craft beers was to be a big part of our weekend, many of our meals were taken at brewpubs and the first night was no exception.
The next morning over coffee, we started checking topics off our list by telling each other the latest news of each of our own family members.
As we talked our sisters began texting us pictures of the accumulating snow outside their windows. We soon realized our two sisters wouldn’t be able to drive over later that afternoon as originally planned. So I suggested we Facetime them so we could at least digitally connect. Since they were snow bound at their own homes, I Facetimed one sister while my brother Facetimed our other sister.
With all four of us together, we discussed getting together for Sib Sab 2014 in warmer weather.
With those plans made, my brother and I switched our attention to beer (I considered using “All about beer” or “Brotherly Love” as the title for this blog until my brother came up with “Bro Go” for when just the two brothers get together).
Our first stop was a new establishment that just opened up—in fact it was their opening day. We got there about 1:00 PM, less than 2 hours after their first opening. They boasted of 24 beers on tap and we knew we were in a beer heaven.
Our next stop was for lunch at another establishment known for its large selection of beers.
Fortified with food, we were ready to make our third stop at another new microbrewery, Wiseacre Brewing.
For a couple of guys in their 50s (me being the oldest), we quickly realized we were probably the oldest patrons in the building. But in spite of the noise level that younger adults must not mind, we enjoyed our beer.
Our final stop of the evening was dinner at another fairly new establishment.
With our list of topics on my phone, we were able to carry on our discussion after having enjoyed a day of trying great beers at four different locations.
The next day we started out with breakfast at a great local place.
Since it seemed too early to start drinking beer right after breakfast, we headed back to the condo to check a few more topics off our list. In no time, we were ready to head back to Growler to try more of their selections. With beer in hand, we sat down and watched the Philadelphia Eagles play in the snow, the city my brother would be flying back to in the morning. The snow was so heavy on the field; they had to go for two-point conversations after a touchdown, as the ball would be buried in the snow if they tried to kick a field goal.
They were only open until 3:00 PM that day so we walked across the street to another restaurant with a large beer selection on draft.
What scientist wouldn’t want to have a beer at a restaurant named this? Since they didn’t serve dinner on Sunday night, they were closing at 4:00 PM, but it was just enough time for us to have another great beer. We left there satisfied not just from the beer but the knowledge that we had closed down two separate bars in one day—admittedly it was in the afternoon but we probably had not closed down a bar (in the wee hours of the night) since college.
That night was the eve of my brother’s birthday and so I took him out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, one of his favorite types of food, and of course, another beer. Driving back to the condo, we got one last chance to see the beautiful Christmas lights near the condo.
Back at the condo, we checked off the final topics on our discussion list
and then as any proper scientist would do, additionally documented the libations we had also enjoyed there.
While the weekend didn’t work out for the four of us siblings to get together, it was a most enjoyable time for the two “Bros” to “Go” for beer and brotherly conversations. We had successfully turned the idea of celebrating that birthday lunch and beer together into an entire weekend event. And we tapped off the weekend by making plans for the two of us to repeat for Bro Go 2014, in a much warmer climate.