Whew. It's been a long busy week of singing and work. I had a rehearsal with my church choir Tuesday night that went exceptionally well, we sang Holy Thursday, I sang late prayer with the choir director Thursday night at 11 (all a capella, almost entirely dark in the church, and I volunteered to do it again next year), sang an all a capella Good Friday service with our small chamber choir, Easter Vigil last night (big service, and I carried the five-foot Paschal candle into the church), then 10:30 mass this morning... I'm bushed, but spiritually charged.
Workwise, I did my next Portfolio column (beer festivals) and the final edits on the one that's up now on Düsseldorf and Köln and three short pieces for a new project you'll hear about soon. Then Wednesday I had to run upstate to take back the kegs from the Upstate Beer event at the Grey Lodge two weeks ago. A weird day, weatherwise, with rain, and a bit of snow, fog, cold and wind, but things went like clockwork -- "One" Guy Hagner was nice enough to meet me right off an exit on I-80 and saved me the climb over the ridge in Berwick, I got a quick "hey, I'm here" call from Mike "Bavarian Barbarian" Hiller at the last minute before leaving the Bullfrog, where Terry had graciously agreed to hold Mike's keg for him (and we'd sampled Terry's delicious "Unique", a singel that was excellent, and a 'kegs gone wild' sour apricot that rocked) -- and I was an hour ahead of schedule when I came zipping over the ridge into Millheim to return the last keg to Elk Creek.
Tim Bowser wasn't in, but he'd told me to get a sample of the Trout Stout they'd debuted on St. Pat's. I walked in, and saw two guys I'd met when I picked up the keg -- the assistant brewer and a friend of Tim's (and I obviously missed both their names, and I do apologize!) -- having lunch: a couple chunks of cheese, a loaf of fresh bread, a rough-looking ring bologna, and two pints of stout. What a great-looking lunch. I was handed a pint of stout -- excellent: bitter, refreshing, and tasty, hope it joins the lineup -- and we talked about how things had been pretty damned busy on St. Pat's. I finally had to ask: is that a local ring bologna? Yes, it was, from the meat market down the street, they made their own bologna, jerky (got some of that, too!), hams...yum. I got a ring, jerky, fresh-roasted peanuts, and a drink, and headed on down the road.
I was going to stop at Russell's in Bloomsburg for lunch, but when I called to make sure they were open, I was told that they were closed till 4:00...the place was being sold, and they were in closing; they would re-open at 4 with new owners. Yow! Hope it stays largely the same. I wound up stopping in Lewisburg at the Towne Tavern for a chili cheeseburger and a Sam Adams Lager. There were Landshark Lager signs everywhere. Kinda odd; we don't see any of that down here around Philly. Interesting. Good burger, but far from phenomenal; the onion rings were pretty great, though.
Anyway, Friday dawned and Cathy finally gave in and realized that ham was the way to go for Easter. Bang! I got right on the phone and reserved one at Rieker's Meats (thanks again, George and Nancy). I donated platelets (and actually did; I've been having a bad string of failed donations, bad sticks, etc., glad we snapped that), and whipped over to Rieker's: what a beautiful ham! Went home, got a really interesting interview with Jon Myerow of Tria, did the Good Friday service, and then had a great fast-breaking dinner with the family at Florentino's in Newtown (eggplant parm that was more like an eggplant Napoleon: no breading on the eggplant, and it was sliced thin and piled high); split an excellent $15 bottle of red Zin with Cathy. I even finally got on my regular Friday night chat with some old beer buddies for our annual "Good Friday Catlick Beer Night" and drank a 750 of Church Brew Works Triple 2000 and a Rochefort 10.
Yesterday was spent shopping, getting haircuts, doing interview prep for my upcoming work week, and cleaning. Today after mass I made up a glaze for the ham with brown sugar, apple cider, dry mustard, ground Valencia orange peel, and ground cloves. Cathy made scalloped potatoes and roasted cauliflower, and family came for lunch. The ham was magnificent. The Rieker's ham cost about twice as much as the plastic-wrapped, perfectly edible hams from the supermarket, and it was fully worth it. Wow, what a good ham. I can't remember the last time I saw my dad eat so much meat. I'm really looking forward to ham sandwiches. I had my last bottle of Tröegs Scratch #6 (the 'Dortmunder'), a Reading with my mom, and a Sea Hag IPA. Now I'm getting ready to have...something. Not sure what. Might go with whiskey, I've got the bottle of Weller Antique out, and it seems a shame to put it away without having some...
Happy Easter, folks. Sorry I've been away so long.