Beer West magazine had a writing contest last month. And a contest is like catnip to me. So I wrote a little piece and sent it in. Since I don’t know if it will get published either in print or online, I decided to put it up here too. Please enjoy.
When I hear the words “beer travel”, I do not immediately envision hopping the next flight to the beer halls of Munich, a dark pub in Ireland or even the Lucky Labrador taps at the Portland airport.
No, the phrase “beer travel” takes my mind in a different direction completely: shipping beer from my travel destination to my home sweet home (or vice versa). Or in the blood pressure spiking tale that follows, how to get some Southern California beer to a beer blogging conference in Colorado.
I am not a great air traveler even if all that is being transported is myself and the clothes on my back. When you add in turbulent winds, my palms sweat as if I was running on a treadmill for hours. Then sprinkle in fear that the special bottle purchased at The Bruery is going to break and malt-ily moisten the box it was in, or, god forbid, more than one bottle bursts and the entire cargo hold gets spritzed. Combine all of those factors together and I am one frayed nerve waiting to pop.
Once the plane lands, all I have to do is grab my box of beer and find two fellow bloggers at the shuttle desk to whisk us to Boulder. Everything is falling into place. I look ahead to what my first beer will be when we reach Boulder. I stand with my fellow passengers who did not seem nearly as agitated by the ride as I was but that is normally the case. I start to emulate their relaxed state. The carousel spins. And keeps spinning. Luggage of all shapes and colors are whisked off the conveyor belt. Soon, I am the only one there. Without my box of beer. I feel the sweat return.
My mind immediately thinks that one of the TSA agents is a certified cicerone who x-rayed the box, saw the bounty within, and took off. Perhaps worse – that security has impounded my box thinking that I am some shady craft beer smuggler.
I tell myself to – calmly – check the nearby baggage spinners in case my box came out the wrong chute. No luck. I try to call my waiting blogger companions but my signal keeps getting cut off. With diminishing hope, I trudge to my airline’s lost luggage counter. Lo and behold, sitting off to the right, completely unattended, is my box. How it ended up stranded in a no man’s land between the counter and the carousel is a mystery to me to this very day.
I kneel down and check for any telltale wetness at the bottom of the box. It comes up dry. There are no special stickers or note on the box that would give me a clue as to what happened when the box was taken off the plane.
Time is now of the essence. I look left and right and grab the box and head off. I am sure a very amused security guard was watching the camera feed wondering what in the hell I was doing with that box and why. Weirder activities must take place because I was not escorted to a windowless room. I locate the shuttle and met up with my fellow bloggers (late but not LATE) and had a fine time in Boulder.
Three days later, I fill my trusty box with Colorado beer and cart it back to Los Angeles without incident.
I still have that box and I will continue to travel with it until it is more tape than cardboard.