We arrived at the former West Roxbury School late that night.
It was pitch black and I parked on the street. John eventually had me move the car to a spot where we wouldn’t be hassled by parking officers, but when we finally settled into his couch, he offered us a beer.
Peggy was not yet 21, but that hardly factored into us saying no. He was giving us a place to stay pro bono. It was our first Couchsurfing expedition and we didn’t want to push his hospitality.
Still, he wanted to debrief us on our journey, so he sat down with us and brandished his beer before us. He had been drinking it before we got there, and I noticed first the floral decorations and color scheme of the bottle he was holding. I asked what he was drinking, and he simply said, “a Harpoon.”
He mentioned it was brewed in Boston, and I didn’t press him on the matter. Really we just wanted to get to bed.
We went to Fenway Park the next day and just circled the great cathedral. We went around and around, visiting Ted Williams, marveling at the street signs…for two purist baseball fans it was the greatest walk ever.
That was when we found the Bleacher Bar.
A bar set in center field with a view of the action from the comfort of a barstool. They even have a window through the wall in front of the urinals so you can watch the action while taking a piss. It was amazing.
And there it was on the beer list: Harpoon.
It was on draft. It was local. It was what John had been drinking. It was a slam dunk easy decision.
I had several more Harpoons in Cambridge at Middle East with Adam and others (playing red light, green light with Peggy) but I had no idea that Harpoon was available at home. I discovered it at Harris Teeter, and then learned it was available at certain Food Lions.
The beer became a ritual of mine and Peggy’s. We purchased every seasonal six pack. I collected the caps. I put the box labels up on my wall. We visited the brewery a year later and my love for it continued even after we broke up.
Following the breakup, I made a point to drink the beer with my friends so that it could evolve into being my favorite beer, not just “our” favorite beer.
I would say it worked, but in that floral aroma, beyond the bitterness of the hops and the refreshing aftertaste of that beer, I am, once more, in Boston, infatuated with a girl I had chased there, and one week into my job as Editor in Chief of Technician.
When you find a beer like that, one that takes you back to the beginning every time, that’s the beer you want to end on, too.