April was a month full of travel, starting with a conference in Miami Beach, FL and ending with a road trip up the coast of California. Well actually, the month started with the craziness of preparing for said conference, then Miami Beach, then California. All in all, despite the exhaustion and creeping guilt of taking time off work, I love traveling. I feel alive, and like the world... it's turning inside out, yeah... (Sorry, I've had this song in my head for days. Just about to say how fun it is to bike to this song, and now found out it was voted best driving song ever by Top Gear fans!)
We stayed at The New Hotel in North Beach, which is about a 20 minute cab ride from the popular and much more bustling South Beach. The hotel itself was perfect--small and cozy, yet with modern furnishings and very friendly and attentive service. And another major perk--Lou's Beer Garden, a bar next to the pool with great beers on tap:
The beer selection during our stay:
First I had the Longhammer IPA from Washington's Redhook Brewery, which was not bad but a little dull for my taste. I prefer more bitter IPAs, the most bitter of which I've had in recent memory was this past holiday season's Celebration Ale. It literally knocked my head back with the first sip... but in a very enjoyable way. Bitterness of beer is measured by the International Bitterness Units scale (IBU), whose estimation takes into account the amount of hops used in brewing as well as how hoppy those hops are (otherwise known as "alpha acid percentage"). As expected, IPAs are on the higher end of the IBU scale than, say, a blonde ale or porter. However, the bitterness of hops are balanced by the sweetness of malt, and apparently the IBU scale does not take into account the amount the bitterness is affected by more or less malt flavor: "For example, an Imperial Stout may have an IBU of 50, but will taste less bitter than an English Bitter with an IBU of 30, because the latter beer uses much less malt than the former."
Then I tried Dogfish Head's Midas Touch: "This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! It is an ancient Turkish recipe using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas." In other words, worth drinking for the backstory alone. Also, a coworker mentioned that it is quite unusual to be found on tap, so I went for it. I didn't know what to expect, so I was shocked at the sweetness of it. It wasn't sugary-sweet, more like a rich golden honey-sweet, but an interesting beer experience nevertheless.
No photos of them, but the mojitos everywhere were amazing. Huge sprigs of fresh mint, sugarcane stirrers, and limes a-plenty. More about Miami to come (the food next time, I promise)...