Ale trail

Spring break has come and gone. We are teetering on the edge of summer and the end of a semester. It is pretty much downhill from here.

I took a brief spring break journey, went with a friend to Northwest Arkansas. Although warm and springlike in Louisiana, the northern corner of Arkansas was still crisp and cool. A friend joined me, primarily for the purpose of visiting four new states (for her). And we did visit three of them in about one minute, driving from Oklahoma, into Missouri and then quickly into Kansas.

But the most fun, the Fayetteville Ale Trail. Fayetteville is a college town in Northwest Arkansas with a nice old fashioned contemporary vibe. We visited old shops, new shops, old shops made to look new and new shops made to look old. In the visitor center we picked up a passport for the Ale Trail. Turns out the town and a couple of its surrounding environs have adopted a spirit of brewing local craft beer, and they have adapted a means of visiting each of them, including a nonbreakable pint glass. Turns out each of us was willing to accept the challenge. But the challenge had to be met in the course of a day. As it turns out you can visit seven brew pubs and tap rooms in eight hours, enjoying a little taste at each.

The secret is pacing yourself. As much as you might like to try a pint of the finest at each location, you can’t. You have to move on to the next location. So we adapted to small 3 oz. tasters and shared flights. We also chose appetizers where available. And you have to be careful not to get caught up. The last place we had to go didn’t serve food and it was growing late and we were past really hungry. The things you will do to prove that you can.

It was its own type of thin place. We were respectful of others, the law and ourselves. As in life when you take things in the order you find them and pace yourself accordingly, you generally can make things work out. There was a sense of pride in gaining all our stamps from the craft centers. There was a sense of comrade from the people we met along the way. There was a sense of ownership gaining quality products from people who took pride in their work.

And God was there all along.


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