One of life’s great pleasures is to go somewhere new, somewhere I’ve never been before. For me, if that place is small and country-like, so much the better. I’ve lived in a city most of my life, except for a few forays into small towns but I love rural environments; or at least the romantic notion of them.
My dream is to escape. All my dreams revolve around escape, especially when I am most unable to do so, or so I tell myself. Inevitably the escape is to somewhere isolated, an island all mine, a cabin all mine, me against the elements. How Canadian of me. The escape is always about me in nature, me getting closer to the heart of who I am. It’s never about getting closer to another person and that disturbs me. I wonder about that. I wonder where those dreams that we all hold, that define us, where do those come from? Especially, when they are different from the lives we are living.
And of course, having lived in just two small places, I know that romanticizing the rural experience is both completely appropriate and a ridiculous delusion.
I believe that the older one gets, if we are actually growing and changing and pushing ourselves, improving with age, the more comfortable we become in our own skins, and the easier it is to sequester away, to just take off to somewhere small and be perfectly okay, to turn inward and go deeper, to be content. But I digress.
Yesterday, I was invited by Karen and Gwen to join them on an afternoon outing in search of a brewery they’d heard about earlier in the month. Being the passionate beer connoisseurs that they are, they’d heard about this brewery after downing a few pints at Bitter Tasting Room on E. Hastings.
But first we had to lunch. We headed out to a pub called Big River which had really good food and a good craft beer selection. If they’d just get rid of the TVs, it would be perfect. After lunch, we were in search of Four Winds Brewing. It’s just a tiny place in one of those nondescript malls off a highway in Delta. We parked the car. It didn’t look like much from the outside. As soon as we opened the door, it was shocking. There was practically a party going on in there at 2 pm. The place was packed. The young guys that were running the taps couldn’t keep up between the bottling and the taking of money. They had these 2 litre jugs called Growlers. The names of the beer were Dunkelweizen, Saison, Oatmeal Pumpkin and a bunch of others that I’d recall if I too was as enthusiastic about beer as my friends. After that, we headed off to Ladner (or were we still in Delta?) It all looks the same to me. Karen introduced Gwen and I to a Winery called Wellbrook Winery which makes fruit wines.
Now, fruit wines aren’t high on my list of the kind of wine I like to drink. In the past I’ve found them sickeningly sweet and I pretty much swore off them about 20 years ago after visiting a winery that will remain nameless but exists out in the Fraser Valley, or used to.
The fun thing about the Wellbrook Winery is that there’s a renovated heritage barn that they’ve turned into their tasting room and store which is full of gourmet oils and chocolate and other specialty foods from around BC. This beautiful heritage structure has the original floor and doors and has been given a lot of attention. Just being in the space makes it feel like Thanksgiving. Who’s cooking a big turkey asked the woman behind the bar? I replied. “None of us.” It’s always fun to have a little fun with other people’s expectations and see the puzzled look on their faces. This fabulous clock was in the Wellbrook Winery store. The woman behind the tasting bar didn’t know its origins. She said that the owner just picks up these things and drops them off and they have to find a place for them. I really love this clock. Look at it!
Maybe you’ll be eating turkey or Tofurkey, enjoying a meal with friends or family, or the love of your life. Maybe you’ll just be sitting by yourself chewing on a piece of salami but in a beautiful natural place with golden leaves and sun rays all around. Regardless of what you’re doing, you have to know that as a North American, it’s impossible not to be thankful.
Be thankful. Be thankful. I say it to myself. I say it to you.
Oh, and got any good tips on craft breweries in BC or, for that matter, in the whole wide world?