The sign said that the brewery tasting room was open. It did not matter that we did not know what or where the brewery was. We knew that it was a truly magnificent June Friday evening, and that's as good a reason as any to have a beer. So we followed the signs. The first one on the highway was a propped-up sandwich board (is it a sandwich board if no one is wearing it?). It pointed to a road we'd never been down. There were more signs, but they were sporadic. Every time I'd start to lose hope that we'd find any beer at the end of this road, there'd be another sign. All the signs had a symbol that I recognized as a picture of the hops plant. It also looked a little like an artichoke, but I was going with the most likely guess.
I think now that not everyone follows signs down unfamiliar roads. Me, I follow signs down unfamiliar roads every week, just because someone promised me a yard sale. It's true that sometimes these signs lead to nowhere, a sale that existed last week or the week before, the lazy throwers not bothering to remove their advertisement. I rain curses down upon those who do not take down their signs! And then sometimes, the sale is going on, but the neighborhood gets a little sketchy. Like, you're not sure if there's really a yard sale or if it's just some trick by some crazy person that likes to kidnap only thrifty people. That seems like a bad plan, because there's a possibility that their relatives will be too cheap to pay the ransom, but maybe they just want to keep us in a deep hole they've dug until we're fat enough to eat.
That's never happened, obviously, but sometimes my imagination gets the best of me. Besides, this unfamiliar road was not the right type. It was the sort of road you only go down if you have business there. There was some kind of place where you could rent cranes, that was the kind of road it was. A road that you might pass by on your way to somewhere else all the time and never notice, because you go one kind of somewhere and this road was the location of different kinds of somewheres.
The signs were plywood, spray-painted with a fancy hops/artichoke stencil. Aside from being sign-following kind of people, we are also the type who hold special places in our hearts for spray paint and stencils.
At the end, the very end, of this road, there was a warehouse kind of building. It could have been anything, and it reminded me a little bit of those trailers they add to schools when they need more space but can't afford a proper structure, but the sign said it was a brewery. There were traces of other signs that had been similiarly spray-painted and then scrubbed. We parked, and throwing all caution to the wind, we went inside.
Luckily, it actually was a brewery.
Larry's Beans. Josh had a red ale. There was not a clear boundary between the tasting room and the brewery, and so on one side of the room there was a big couch, and then across the way, there were giant tanks. There was also a giant, ornate, gilded mirror in the corner, but I'm not sure what it had to do with anything. Although, if I had come across such a mirror, I would've found a place, any place, for it, too.
Since it was such a magnificent Friday evening, we took our beers back outside to sit at one of the picnic tables in the parking lot. From here, we examined our surroundings: a streetlamp, other industrial buildings, an overgrown yard filled with junk and surrounded by a locked chain link fence. The beer was okay. It got extra points for being locally brewed.
There was another couple enjoying the out of doors, and with them was a puppy. From my extensive experience of looking at puppies on the internet, I can confidently say that this particular puppy had a great deal of pitbull in him. He was beautiful - that shade of gray that is almost blue - and very sweet. He allowed us to scratch his ears while he sniffed us, then wandered off to sniff other things. At some point, he disappeared, but his owner called out and he appeared immediately from behind some sniffable thing. Good boy.
We finished our beers and returned our glasses to the bar, stealing a pair of the free stickers advertising the brewery. And then we drove down the unfamiliar road back to the familiar road to continue our magnificent Friday evening.