The Approach

Car (+ ferry) – bus – “T” – bus – plane – plane – train – tube – train – bus… how to get to Campbeltown from Wisconsin.

While MBTA let me down as far as getting to Logan Airport is concerned (poor signage for the commuter rail, and not particularly helpful train personnel…) I nonetheless made it to London yesterday and am now on the train to Glasgow. Four and a half hours from London Euston, followed by another four-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Campbeltown (at least there won’t be any turbulence). Tours of the two distilleries there – as well as the Glengoyne distillery outside of Glasgow – are still the focus of this excursion, but I am also looking forward to the return trip where I will enjoy an overnight stay in Reykjanesbær, Iceland. Yesterday I saw the odd birch “whisk(e)y” and “liqueur” for sale at a store next to my departing gate at the Keflavik airport, and I am quite curious to find out if these distilled products are any good; if they are, perhaps I can sneak one of these little bottles into my suitcase.

Icelandic whisky

Yes, an impressive and tempting amount of Icelandic (craft) beer was also for sale in this store… but temptation was easy to resist in this case since it was 7:30 A.M. Iceland time/3:30 A.M. Eastern time!

Icelandic beer

No trip to London is complete without a stop in my favorite pub, the Blackfriar. Built on a site formerly housing a Dominican friary, the cozy dining room in the back is beautifully decorated with mosaics and reliefs of former reverend abbots (one of them looks a lot like Yoda…?); just below the ceiling are quaint sayings such as “Industry is all” and “A good thing is soon snatched up.”

Blackfriar ceiling

Of course I had to have a couple of English ales to accompany my beef pie (the Blackfriar really does have “the best pies in London”)… a Mosaic pale ale followed by Turner’s Runner, a typical ESB. Unfortunately I was unable to determine the brewery of the former, but both of these beers were quite delicious – I love the slightly dank, resinous and citrus character of Mosaic hops (my favorite variety), and the ESB had a nice balance between roasted malt and appropriate bitterness while leaving a beautiful amount of lacing on the glass (perhaps due to a lower level of carbonation?).

All in all a nice way to prepare myself for today’s long trip and set the taste buds in order.

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