TWIB: Unexpected Encounters in Line for the Men’s Room

This Week in Beer (TWIB) is a feature where I’ll highlight some craft beers I had during this past week mixed with some related (and unrelated) thoughts. Yes, it’s a play on the name of the show This Week in Baseball which I grew up on and loved.

I’m ignoring the Super Bowl. My dog is named Peyton. Needless-to-say, yesterday was far from fun save the teasers for 24. Saturday on the other hand had one of the biggest, most surprising unexpected encounters of my life. Imagine the movie Crash taking place in line for a men’s room at a brewery.

Halfway to Philly

My wife and I have some friends in Philadelphia. Philly is 3-3.5 hours away from where we live so we have a hard time seeing them a lot. One of the ladies had the brilliant idea to meet halfway – Baltimore. It’s about a 2-hour drive for them and 1.5 for us. Perfect!

After making our way through some questionable downtown areas we turn up at one of our favorite spots – Woodberry Kitchen. Woodberry Kitchen is where I first heard of Union Craft Brewing last year. With a solid brunch consisting of Buttermilk Fried Pork Skirt and a Sly Fox Pale Ale in me we walked over to Union Craft Brewing which is less than a hundred yards away.

Union Craft Brewing

We get to Union Craft and it is packed. I’m able to sneak close enough to the bar to grab four beers for our group. Their Rye IPA is out-of-this-world good. Even better than their Duckpin Pale Ale.

My day would have been complete right then. I could have packed up, gone home and been content writing a post highlighting Woodberry Kitchen’s food and Union Craft’s beers. But that’s probably not why you clicked on the headline and there’s a much cooler twist fate brought to this day.

Fate

Conversations with Beer Bloggers is changing my life in ways never imaginable. I’ve only had seven published episodes and it’s already lead me to two different in-person meetups where I’ve had the time of my life (event #1, event #2).

The eighth episode of CBB has already been recorded and is waiting for me to find a free afternoon to edit. This is with Jake Scholan of Hipsterbrewfus.com. Before recording our episode I knew nothing of what Jake looked like except his Twitter icon of him drinking a beer that covers most of his face. Zero knowledge. So last week we had our interview over Google Hangouts, which I can’t wait to share with you guys, and I finally got to see and meet him. We hit it off and even talked about trying to get together for a beer at some point since he’s relatively local.

Cue fate.

I’m 30-some-odd ounces in at Union Craft and it’s time to head to the men’s room. I make my way through the crowd of people to an oddly empty hallway considering the amount of people there with two unisex restrooms. There’s a lady standing in line and she comments, “I think there’s something wrong with the person in there. They’ve been in there for forever.” “Oh,” I respond. What else do you say? Should we get someone? Did you knock? Then the other restroom door opens up and she walks in. Completely normal interaction? Sure. However if that person never had whatever issues they were having she would have been in that restroom, I would have entered the other, she would have left hers, the next person would have walked in and I would have exited mine. But that didn’t happen. I had to wait for her and during that time I turn and see a familiar face getting in line behind me. It’s Jake!

Me and Jake at Union Craft

Me and Jake at Union Craft!

We immediately know we know each other and it took only seconds for me to recall “Jake” instead of “Hipster Brewfus” and not embarrass myself. We were stunned and shocked to say the least. We met up at the bar shortly after and I met the friend he was with and he met my wife. We talked Union Craft and beer for a while and the smiles never came off our faces. Fate.

If we had waited another week to do the interview… If we both hadn’t decided it was time to head to the men’s room… If something didn’t happen to someone in one of the restrooms… Jake would have just been another guy in line behind me or I would have missed him completely before getting swallowed back up into the crowd.

I haven’t mentioned much about my tagline, “On a mission to learn the art of craft beer.” Honestly when I came up with it I thought it just sounded good. Over the past year the “art” part of that phrase has taken many forms for me – the art of homebrewing, the art of hosting, the art of learning… Right now it’s morphed into the art of interacting with others who share common interests. This is what craft beer is to me. Go out there and meet people. Rejoice in your common interests and let the differences be damned. Here’s to you, Jake. Here’s to fate. Cheers!

What’s the craziest chance encounter you’ve had? Did it involve beer? Share it below!

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