New Jersey, A Beer Review, and that Back-to-School Feeling

I just got back from a summer road-trip to New Jersey. One of my brother’s best friends, Ranger B, has been working at Sandy Hook Gateway National Park all summer. I drove down with Brother and Brackett to camp at Sandy Hook and visit Ranger B for a few days. Brother, Brackett, and Ranger B have all been best friends since elementary school, and Brother and Brackett were college roommates. The three of them still get together often, and even exchange gifts at the holidays (it’s sort of adorable). I’m three years younger than the guys; for a sense of scale, they were the cool high school seniors when I was a freshman.  In the early years, as the tag-along baby sister, my goal in life was to bother them as much as possible. Later, I idolized them, and hung out with them at every opportunity (despite being all pre-teenishly self-conscious about whether they even wanted me around). Now that we’re all grown up, we’re all good friends. I’m fairly sure I’m legitimately part of the gang, and besides, we couldn’t have gone camping if I hadn’t brought the tents. 🙂

View from the Lighthouse on Sandy Hook. You can see one of the beaches, and the New York skyline across the water.

We had a real good time. Sandy Hook is beautiful place. The beaches were wide and sandy, the water was warm, and NYC looked perfect (and perfectly distant) across the water. The moon was so round and bright after dark that we didn’t need flashlights. We toured lighthouses, we swam, we drank beer on the beach, we played card games in the campsite, we chased phosphorescent jellyfish, and we had some local beer at the Chubby Pickle and didn’t even lose at trivia night.

Hang tight: I’m going to review some beer real quick. Check out Ales to Lagers for more beer reviews by my best friend (Lady Higg: call me sometime this week? I miss you!). While at the Chubby Pickle, we had the New Jersey Beer Co. Hudson Pale Ale. I found this beer pretty interesting, because at the first taste I didn’t much care for it. It was hoppy and bitter, and also markedly thin and sharp tasting. I feel comfortable using the word shearing. Some folks prefer bitter beers, but I’d much rather have something smooth. I thought this was going to be one of those beers that sticks in my mouth, getting more intolerable with every sip (and between Ranger B, Brackett, and I, we were faced with an entire pitcher!). Here’s the interesting thing: this is the most drinkable bitter beer I have ever had. Maybe it was that shearing quality that sent it straight to the back of the mouth, or maybe it was that light and airy aftertaste, but this beer went down nice, was very refreshing, and actually grew tastier with every sip. Good job, New Jersey.

It’s Labor Day weekend. Soon, everyone will be back at school. For the first time since kindergarten, I don’t have any school to go back to. What a weird feeling! Still, all that back-to-work energy is in the air, and there for the taking. I’m soaking it up, and using it to tackle my own projects. I actually came back from New Jersey feeling really energized, and the best thing about my back-to-school substitue projects is that no one is going to grade them. I’ll tell you more about what I’m up to later this week.

Readers: how about you? Are you going back to school? Do you still feel weird about not going back to school? Have you had all the adventures you wanted to have this summer? Is there anything you still have to do before the summer months are completely gone?


6 thoughts on “New Jersey, A Beer Review, and that Back-to-School Feeling

  1. I’ll do my best to call this week! Sorry I never called you back that one day, but I figured you were in New Jersey (I was right!). I’ve also been settling into my new job at Dart. I could call on Monday… or will you be busy?

    Nice beer review. I like the name of the pub! I’m glad you had fun and I look forward to hearing more about it (if there’s more to tell, which I’m sure there is).

    –Lady Higg 🙂

    • I didn’t call you back that other day, so I think we’re even :). I’ll be out this afternoon, so maybe this evening? (For you, there is always more to tell, and I want to hear about your new job!)

  2. GREAT term for beer taste: shearing! I’m not much for Pale Ales, because of the thin and bitter taste. I love a range of IPAs, though I’m getting weary of the psycho hop brews of late- everyone out to out-IBU the next guy. But the right hops, yes. I’m intrigued by NJBC- I’ll have to see if a bottle shop carries it.

    Though I no longer work in academe nor my husband in secondary education, September has always felt like the start of the year. I am filled with renewed energy, a sense that change is possible, imminent, yet also a sense of settling in, drawing close, nesting.

    We’re off to Ireland to hike while the summer still lingers. Then it’s home to embrace autumn. I wish you the best in all projects and look forward to reading more!

    • I’m so excited that you’re hiking in Ireland! I hope you have a wonderful time, which I’m sure you will. One of my chief regrets of my five-week study-abroad in Ireland (besides the fact that it was before I really understood about beer) was that I didn’t spend more hiking. In particular, there was a trail that started on Bray that I wanted so badly to follow, but it was late and I had to turn around to catch the train home, and then I never went back before I had to leave. I hope you blog about your adventures when you get back! I’d love to know where you go and what your favorite hikes are, because someday I will make it back to Ireland and have more time for hiking.

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