Bikes, Bhuna and Breweries
Trip Start Oct 15, 2007
97Trip End Aug 24, 2008
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On Sunday morning, we went for a little walk in the town centre before meeting with Melissa, her flat mate Sophia and several others including another couch-surfer (Tim) who had also offered us a couch for a few nights, for an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet, which left us all with distended stomachs for most of the rest of the day. Melissa and Sophia took us out for a walk along the river at Winooski, where we enjoyed the faboulous sunshine and scenery. Then, importantly, a visit to a liquor store, where, as is the way in the US, we all got asked for ID. Why would you ID Jacob? We were going to pick up something with which to spike cider. Good God, we both thought, they're pretty damn hardcore, these yanks. Far from it. Cider, to an american, is apple juice. "Oh no, apple juice is totally different, this is just apples that have been crushed and then filtered to get the big lumps out." Yes, apple juice. "Oh, no no no, apple juice is clear, it"s..." No. If you crush fruit, the liquid you collect is called juice. Tropicana Pure Premium with pulp isn't Orange Cider, now is it. Suddenly that episode of The Simpsons where they visit the cider mill and Homer's incredibly bored makes sense!
We hung out with Melissa and Sophia in the evening and had a lovely meal of salad and bread, followed with hot apple juice...sorry, spiked cider. We added some rum and spices and heated it - definitely an experience to be repeated! Spent the evening chatting and putting the world to rights. All very pleasant.
The following morning, we went to one of the two diners in the town centre and had a very American breakfast of pancakes, maple syrup and bacon with coffee. It's very tasty, and however weird and off-putting the idea of pouring maple syrup over bacon may sound, the presence of sweet and savoury on the same plate really isn't a problem.
We then cycled to the bus station and got tickets for our journey to Montréal, before braving the traffic and cycling out of town to the Magic Hat brewery. We went round the self guided tour, which mostly involved memorobilia and then looking out over the factory as some lowly workers supervised a bunch of machines which turned empty beer bottles into full ones. Then we went to the free bar and sampled all of the freebies they had to offer. This is unfortunately a brewery which only currently supplies beer to the Eastern States - unfortunate as it was all really good. We got talking to a couple at the bar - Chris and Leslee - who invited us on their day of brewery tours and took us to Middlebury where we went to the Otter Creek brewery for a tour by the most spaced out man in New England ("Whoah, dude, hold up there a second...I totally have to go add some more hops to this brew...cool").
We had tried to go for food first (we'd spent the past few hours at a free bar), but a train carrying tankers of gasoline had derailed and, as such, the town was cordoned off. We rather got the impression that the local cops were secretly very pleased to have something to do. When they redirected us, there was slightly too much enthusiasm mixed in with their earnest gravity. So, in mitigation Your Honour, we never intended to go from breakfast to late evening subsisting entirely on free beer and pretzels...but the Police TOLD us we had to turn away from the restaurant and leave town! What were we to do?
Having returned to Burlington, and Chris having retrieved our bikes with his truck (how lucky is that - not only did we get invited on a brewery crawl, but our host had a Jeep fitted with a bike rack!), we finally went for food at American Flatbread. It's pizza. Very tasty pizza, but definitely pizza. They may pretend otherwise, but (apparently) that's the joke. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of our last night in Burlington.