In the middle of March, I got an unexpected chance to visit with my brother for about six hours while we were both in New Jersey for an abbreviated version of one of our brother get together’s—our BroGo. The occasion was I was up in order to teach my Analytical Method Validation course. But it was a visit that almost didn’t happen for either of us.
The first portent of trouble was a third Nor’easter predicted to bring heavy snow falls throughout the Eastern seaboard. Two days before my flight, I got an e-mail from my airline that my flight might be disrupted by the upcoming storm. For the next 48 hours, I kept wondering if my flight was going to be delayed or worse, cancelled as many had been with the two previous Nor’easters in as many weeks. It was a bit reminiscent of the time I got stranded in New Jersey for another snowstorm.
Without receiving any notification of flight status change, I made my way to the airport that Tuesday morning with a bit of trepidation. As I pulled into the airport parking garage, I came across a second potential issue when I glanced up at the digital display board indicating the number of parking spaces available by floor. Normally in this seven-story structure the upper floors would have several hundred empty spots on each floor. Not today. Some of the lower and middle floors were showing zero or only one or two vacancies and even the top floor, the one I had never even parked on was showing only four empty spots. As I pulled into the garage with other cars at the same time, I feared it was going to be a race to grab an empty spot or finding a parking establishment off-property. Quickly, I sped up to the top floor where fortunately I was able to find a spot before the other cars. As I walked to the terminal, it dawned on me that I was travelling the week of spring break. I had never seen the garage so full.
When I got to my gate, there was a line of people waiting to see the gate agent. I asked what they were in line for and was told they were trying to rebook for their canceled flight. Turns out it was the Denver flight leaving from the same gate, not mine. For our flight to Newark, we actually boarded and left early.
My brother was driving over from Philadelphia for a meeting that day and we had been texting back and forth whether or not he would be able to drive given the looming snowstorm. As it turned out, the worst of the storm went further east and so didn’t impact his drive at all. It did however impact travel for the person I teach with delaying his arrival from the Boston area by more than 24 hours.
In some of my previous posts about our “BroGo” trips, I have shared our common love for beer and in particular, India Pale Ales or as they are more commonly known: IPAs. With only a few hours together, we headed out to a bar close by that had over 50 beers on tap. After getting several small tastes, we picked out a really good one to have as our first beer.
We had not been together just the two of us in quite some time so we had a lot of catching up to do. I learned about his oldest son’s impending college decision and I shared about how my retirement had been going. We talked about his work and future retirement.
After we had finished our beer, we decided to head to another bar further down the street to try out what they might have on draft. It was at this point that we realized we were on a pre-St. Patrick’s Day pub-crawl down George Street as we had a third stop already in mind.
At the second bar, we also found a rather tasty IPA and got to talk about our really big BroGo this summer when the two of us would be traveling to Portland, OR for a five-day beer tasting BroGo. We also got to discuss our upcoming SIBSAB, our annual sibling sabbatical when all four siblings get together for a weekend. And when the conversation turned to his need to replace his almost 20 year-old Honda, we got to explore one of my favorite topics, cars!
The last stop on our mini-pub-crawl was to a brewpub I always like to go to whenever I am in town teaching.
It might look like we are having a glass of orange juice but this was actually a New England style (meaning unfiltered) IPA loaded with excellent Citra hop flavors. It was delicious.
Besides just great beer, this brewpub also has excellent food. Our drink selection paired very nicely with our dinner, a pretzel encrusted salmon elegantly presented with appetizing sides. Every time I have come to this brewpub, I have always had an absolutely delicious salmon entrée, never the same but always delectable.
When our meal was over, it was sad to recognize that our evening had to come to a close. My brother still had an hour’s drive back to Philadelphia and I had to get some sleep to be able to teach early the next morning. But as my brother left to walk back to his car, I told him it was the most fun I think I had ever had the night before teaching in all the 20 years I have been teaching this course. Made all the more pleasant knowing that in just a few months, we would be having a full five days together talking and getting to enjoy beer together. Until then, cheers!