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The High Price of Beer in Berkeley

June 29, 2016

It hurts. Everything hurts. My toes hurt. My feet hurt. My legs hurt. My body hurts. My skin is hot. My eyes are burning. Oh, and I’m covered in dust.

Yesterday, I made a deal with the devil.

She agreed to accompany me on another beer outing, if I agreed to go on a hike through the Berkeley hills. Tilden Park is full of gorgeous trees, so I imagined a nice shady stroll through some glorious bug-free nature. Maybe we’d go up hill a bit, maybe there would be some exertion. But I’ve been eating badly, and a little exertion might be good for the waistline.

What I wasn’t expecting was long stretches of treacherously steep declines on loose, gravely soil, in the blazing hot sun. Did I brush up against any poison oak? I sure as hell hope not. But I have no idea. The last time I found myself afflicted by the itchy rash from these infernal plants, it took my completely by surprise.

All of this for some beer. Was it worth it? Totally.

For starters, going on this hike actually made Mrs. Fussy very, very happy. Fortunately, she wasn’t delighting in my pain. Rather, doing these hikes in the Berkeley hills is one of those things she has missed about leaving the area.

I do regret not bringing a growler for the hike. Some good beer would have made the excursion more pleasant.

And it was good beer. We got to stop into Berkeley’s Fieldwork Brewing Company. I had stumbled upon one of its farmhouse beers at brunch in Oakland. And it really piqued my interest.

At the brewery itself, I was able to dry a bunch more of its offerings, including a stunning salted cucumber farmhouse ale, a churro cart inspired cream ale, a delightfully hoppy pale ale, a bright and sour lime gose, and an IPA that was unabashedly about bitter grapefruit rinds.

I missed out on the Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Simcoe Weisse, and that’s going to haunt me for at least a few weeks. But I just can’t drink all the beers.

The hike was brutal, but at the end, there was a hot tub waiting for me back in Alameda. And in the hot tub I got to enjoy the STS pilsner from the Russian River Brewing Company. So life wasn’t all that bad.

Then raf and I got tacos. And Stanford Steph came by to help us eat them all. The tripe and al pastor were phenomenal. Of course, I chased it all with as much day-old Pliny the Elder that I could stand.

Today, I’m heading back to Pittsburgh. Fortunately, by the time I get in, the restaurants that put french fries and cole slaw on your sandwich should be closed. That’s a relief. I’m going to have to start eating healthy again real soon. It’s always hard to get back on a diet, once you’ve fallen off.

But if the other option is exercise, I’m not sure my body can take it.

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