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I am one of many, especially in the art, food, and wine industries, who might be considered a Francophile. The term is often thrown around, but it usually involves a draw much more esoteric than someone enjoying a little Ravel or foie gras now and then. In this land of economic panic, media overdrive, and instant gratification, there is something very appealing in traditional French cultural philosophy. While the American idea of the French lifestyle is often a bit romanticized, the fantasy is representative of a key truth; for every sector in which France is superior, there is one common thread: the deep reverence for sensory pleasure and aesthetic beauty. For the average furiously busy, over-achieving, and over-stimulated American, connecting with a new perspective focused on the simple but powerful joy of one moving piece of art or one explosively delicious bite of food can hold a profound allure. For me, Francophilia began right as I was becoming increasingly jaded with college and the seemingly limited career paths available - I had just started to develop deeper food and wine knowledge while simultaneously delving into Modernist cinema and art and revisiting French composers I rejected in my youth - every piece of culture I found seemed to open more doors to novel intellectual and sensory experience. Current challenge: learn the language. 

THE SOUND  Jaques Brel - “Ne Me Quitte Pas”

Jacques Brel is one of the most prolific and acclaimed French musicians and songwriters of the 20th century. His large repertoire is often a bit too traditional and theatrical for many listeners, but his composition and poetic lyricism has influenced countless contemporary artists. This may be his most famous song, and for good reason - from the haunting theremin prelude to the heart-wrenching orchestral climax, this is one of the most expressive pieces of sung music I have ever heard. Nina Simone also does a superb cover, but Brel’s voice carries the weight of his own experience of loss. (Read the lyrics translation while you listen)

THE SIP   2010 Domaine Tempier Rosé (Bandol, France) 

On Friday I attended an industry bachelorette party where, needless to say, fine food and wine flowed freely throughout the evening. At dinner, Chehalem’s winemaker chose a few superb bottles for the table, and she happened to pick one of my favorite French producers from the little-known appellation of Bandol right near the Loire Valley. Their exceptional rosé, made from a primarily Mourvédre blend of Rhône varietals, exhibited many layers of flavor including citrus, flowers, peaches, and strawberries. Clean and bright, but with nice fullness on the palate.  NOTE: Rosé is one of the most undervalued categories of wine. The major culprit of this misunderstanding is the flat and syrupy table wine White Zinfandel or “Blush.” Americans often see pink wine and immediately think sweet, feminine and generally low-quality, but a good French-style rosé can be a refined and complex wine lovely in the summer and fantastic for food pairing. Good rosé is made from noble red wine grapes that are left to soak on the skins for a few short hours extracting just enough delicate pink pigment before being pressed and fermented dry. Pair with cheese and charcuterie, roast chicken or richer seafood like scallops or lobster. 

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Compared to the foodie wasteland of rural Pennsylvania, Portland is like a mecca for the culinary and vinicultural arts. However, there are upsides and downsides to such a pervasive culture: in PA I was an assistant winemaker, while here I am just a lowly tasting room associate *for now.* But then it’s all about who you know, and if you do get a wine job, you are part of the club, and the club happens to have pretty nice benefits for the gambit of it’s members. For example, a coworker recently invited me to an importer’s tasting open to all “industry professionals” that he saw on a list serv. I was reluctant, thinking I would be expected to prove I was important enough to attend. We were early, and I was increasingly intimidated by the pristine set-up of two Reidel glasses and personal spit bucket for each taster at the white-clothed tables. We approached one of the distributors to timidly mumble “Hi, um, we, uh, work at Chehalem,” and to my surprise, we were immediately given a warm welcome, asked how “Ol’ Harry” was doing, and ushered in to make ourselves at home. We were then treated to a comprehensive Burgundy tasting and lecture by reknowned D.C. importer Robert Kacher (a true wine geek, look up his portfolio if you’re in the District), followed by an open tasting of wines from every major French region. Although the Meursaults blew me away, Burgundy is beyond my budget right now, so I thought I’d go with one of the Loires that stood out as an lovely summer white at an excellent value. 

THE SOUND

 "Universal Traveler" -Air

The “Sip” below represents one of the first varietals that taught me how subtlety and delicateness are not mutually exclusive of flavor and quality. As a conceptual parallel I thought I’d feature one of my favorite bands, also from France, that taught me a similar lesson in music. Air was a huge gateway artist for me to more electronic and ambient genres. The originality in their songs is often understated, but sticks with you and opens your mind; the components of a track are often simple individually, but then they are impeccably layered on top of one another to create a surprisingly complex fabric of sound. “Universal Traveler” is the perfect example of Air’s discreet genius; it may not seem that special at first, but it infiltrates your consciousness and always makes you take a closer listen. 

THE SIP Laurent Kraft Vouvray Sec (Loire, France)

 And in a similar vein, a good Vouvray may not blow you away with the first sip, yet you find yourself compelled to continue, discovering new intricate nuances as you taste. Vouvray is always made from the grape Chenin Blanc, and grown in the Loire valley of France where you find some of the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre) as well several other highly underrated varietals. Chenin Blanc can be made either sweet or dry, but this particular one indicates “Sec” (meaning dry) and brings both steely minerality from the soil and warmer fruit flavors characteristic of this grape. It is crisp at first, but the softer apple and peach notes linger on the palate and evolve as you taste. True to Robert Kacher’s importing philosophy, this wine brings a surprising amount of uniqueness complexity for a bottle under $20. 

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Yup, the naked bike ride was exactly what it sounds like.I absolutely love this city’s warm embrace of weirdness. In my opinion, weird is one of the most essential ingredients to life, because within the bizarre and eccentric lies the possibility for conventions to be broken, passions to be discovered, and connections to be made. Every great genius, artist, or revolutionary in history was at least moderately weird; it is an unavoidable trait of those bold enough to test the boundaries of art, knowledge, and society. And I am so comforted to finally be in a place that consistently fuses weirdness into the fabric of its everyday culture. I want to meet weird people with weird stories to tell, and I want to know about all the interesting weird ways that other people live their lives so as to expand the possibilities for the way in which I choose to live my own.

THE SOUND "Wanderlust" - Björk (Ratatat Remix)

One might claim that no mainstream artist is weirder than Björk, and I mean that in the best way possible. I have long been captivated by her range of creativity, going all the way back to her little known but vocally stunning 1990 album Gling-Glo, featuring Icelandic jazz tunes backed by an impressive trio. While I can sympathize with anyone that feels much of her work to be tough to listen to, she should be taken as much more than a pop singer. She is also a performance artist and audial innovator, charting new musical territory with every new project she takes on. The original “Wanderlust” is found on her 2007 album Volta, and Ratatat has done a great job of reworking the track, following the Bjork model of creating a distinct sonic atmosphere around a unique melody, but in their own stylistic vein. Give it a chance, at least until the fuzzy overdriven synths fill it out at about 2:05. Weird at its best. 

THE SIP  - Duchesse De Bourgogne, Belgium, 6.2% abv

As sour beers become not only more accepted but increasingly sought after in the world of craft brewing, obscure gems like this phenomenal Flanders Red Ale are starting to get more notice. After picking this one out at the Specialty Goods store in “The Pearl,” I knew I was on the right track when the upscale-hipster clerk gave his enthusiastic approval. This beer is extremely complex, with flavors that resemble a perfectly concocted cherry-walnut-balsamic vinaigrette - tart, sweet, toasty, balanced, and layered. Duchesse de Bourgogne is a great introduction to a category of ale whose weirdness is finally getting rightful appreciation. 

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Really the one thing people seem to complain about here in Portland is the amount of rain. I say things like “Oh, I don’t mind it so much” but you often hear “It’s not bad now, but just wait until winter.” They clearly have no concept of what it’s like to live in a cabin in Pennsylvania with a half-mile up-hill driveway and 3 feet of snow. Portlanders in general are pretty happy, positive people, but the rain does seem to weigh them down a little bit. So far, however, I’ve honestly been enjoying it. The rain is not cold rain, but temperate drizzle that often turns to sun for at least an hour two at some point in the day. And in its own way, it’s comforting. It inspires cozy cups of tea and extended book reading, and additionally, one may argue that it completes a conducive setting for certain creative processes. 

THE SOUND

While I am a big fan of Tom Waits' entire discographical evolution, I often find myself periodically revisiting one of his earliest albums, The Heart of Saturday Night. For those of you who may be interested in his genius but have trouble getting past his trademark grizzle and gnarl, this is a great place to get acquainted with Mr. Waits’ softer side before easing your way into his later work. “New Coat of Paint” is a fantastic example of his dynamic delivery; it’s saucy and sinister, yet twistedly optimistic. The tone and production of this jazzy number is timeless, with lyrics that evoke the romance of a dark city night infused with brazen vitality. Sit back, relax, swirl your glass, and let Tom’s growling poetry paint your rainy day.

THE SIP - Warre’s Warrior Porto ($13-16)

Port is a strange animal in the world of wine and spirits, and I don’t drink it often, but it can be a nice change when you want something stronger than wine but still classy, flavorful, and drinkable. Warre’s happens to be from one of the oldest Port houses, which were often British owned and imported. The best Ports come from vintage years which only happen once in a while, but there are many non-vintage versions that prove an acceptable and much cheaper substitute. Port is fortified wine, so sweeter and more alcoholic than regular wine, but often has smooth and complex flavors that are perfect for an after dinner sipper. The Warrior is a great entry-level example if you’re not ready to spend about $50 on one of the vintage versions. 

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We are slowly but surely seeping into summer here in Portland. Although the heat has been minimal, the spirit of euphoric outdoor fun and freedom is in the air. Due to the incessant gray of rainy winter, everyone seems to be particularly ecstatic about every second of sunshine, causing a contagious sense of joy all over the city. We just had the pleasure of attending a fantastic house party, where musicians were casually jamming in the backyard while people ate veggie burgers on picnic blankets and drank homebrews out of mason jars followed by a mass migration to a bar downtown. We made some great new friends including a flautist in a Flamenco band, an aerial fabrics dancer, the director of a local marching band, and our generous host Hilary, a heavily tattooed professional opera singer — a truly lovely evening was had by all. In other news, business is picking up at the winery and I’m starting to meet all kinds of interesting people in the industry. “Queen of the Sun,” the film I’m doing publicity for, continues to gain critical acclaim including a write-up in the New York Times. We booked our first show with Lubec coming up in a couple weeks, and Eddie and I are starting a side synth-pop project yet to be named. Oh and I’m finally getting in the habit of running which feels pretty great. 

While there are a lot of things I love about Portland, my #1 and 2 favorite aspects of Portland have to be the complete lack of my #1 and 2 most hated things: humidity and mosquitoes. This is paradise. 

THE SOUND

Purity Ring - “Ungirthed”

I personally am loving this new brand of dubstep-influenced electro-pop, beautifully exemplified in this song by elusive new band Purity Ring. I know nothing about them, and don’t think they even have a full album yet, but they have me totally on board. In my opinion, there are a lot of ways one could do this genre badly, but Purity Ring gives me the perfect amounts of strobing dub-bass versus lofty vocal melody. It is both dance-y and artsy, a surprisingly tricky combination, and I am now on careful lookout for anything else they produce. I think I like the lyrics too — can’t understand most of them, but I know there’s something in there about “clock towers” and I like it. 

THE SIP

Widmer Hefeweizen

I realized I’ve been drinking almost exclusively locally-brewed beer since I got here; it’s hard to resist when there’s such extensive variety and exceptional quality right in your backyard. So I thought I’d at least do one that you can find outside of Oregon. Widmer Brothers is one of this biggest breweries in Portland, and several of their beers are distributed nationally. I picked the Hefeweizen because wheat ale always represents the coming of summer, but also because it was the first Portland beer I ever had back when I worked at the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg. It is a solid effort, and perfectly pleasant on a hot summer day with a slice of orange. Widmer is definitely a bit less respected by the beer geeks, and their brews often lack any stand-out character or remarkability, but they have a couple “reserve” releases that I’ve been impressed with. One of these is the Galaxy Hopped Barleywine, a well-balanced strong ale richly reddish in color with a nice amount bitter hops to hold up the 9.5% abv.

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The hiatus in recent writing is partially due to an epic post currently in progress on the abundance of beautiful hiking trails in the Portland area, which is taking me understandably longer than usual to perfect. Moreso, however, sudden lack of blogging is a result of sudden nonexistence of free time. Aside from what I would consider my “real job” at the winery, which I am hopeful will turn into a full-time/only job fairly soon, I am also working on a couple of “side projects.” One of the them is very short-term, a mind-numbing but lucrative software writing gig for a friend’s company, where I assemble highly advanced techy jargon such as “When you have completed the service template, click the green SAVE button at the bottom of the screen…” My much more interesting but virtually payless side job is doing publicity for a small non-profit film production company. Their current release is a beautiful documentary called Queen of the Sun surrounding the crisis of honey bee disappearance. It is currently being screened internationally, and has recently been acquiring widespread acclaim and inspired some impressive grassroots activism. I am loving the opportunity to be a part of this project, and I really believe in the work of this outlet, but the combination of activities is quickly usurping time for leisure. In addition, we are also finally gaining momentum with Lubec (the band) and hope to be playing shows by July. Yet I am somehow still finding time here and there to relax and have fun, necessary for peace of mind and quality of life. 

AND I finally got twitter. Follow me @SondryLondes.

THE SOUND

Warpaint - “Undertow”

I have only heard a couple tracks from this brand new L.A. based all-girl band, and stylistically, they have the potential to be another over-reverbed indierock borefest. However, their interesting melodies and creative use of dissonant harmony sets them apart. And in “Undertow,” the fantastic rhymthic explosion at about 2:13 is a good example of the pleasant surprises Warpaint seems to have up their sleeve. The lyrics are nothing profound, but the tone of the song fits the concept well, and the caught-in-a-riptide metaphor sure feels relevant at the moment. Warpaint is one to watch. 

THE SIP 

And on those long days when a brief stint of music-listening in solitude on a comfortable couch are highly relished, there is no better accompaniment than a smooth glass of red wine. Today I am the mood for a Rhone blend, something full and warming with big fruit and spice. Many New World “Shiraz” are too jammy for me, but thanks to a contingency of winemakers known as the "Rhone Rangers" the trend in California is shifting back towards a more tempered Old World style, with ample amounts of Grenache and/or Mourvedre blended in to add some earth, body, and balance. For a good value under $20, I’d recommend Morgan Cotes du Crow’s, a 50% Syrah / 50% Grenache blend from Monterey County. 

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I am always shocked at how quickly life surges forward. You’d think someone like me, who thrives on change, antsy to move on as soon as things get too comfortable, would be well aware of this principle. But I am still consistently bowled over at how easy it is to forget some things and remember others, to throw yourself into something totally unknown and call it yours with just a little persistence and fakery. I am simultaneously thankful for it and scared of it. Some things you want to forget, but it’s not so easy to pick and choose what to remember — things get lost accidentally. It’s too easy to cross that line of connection where all of a sudden it might be awkward to call, or an e-mail now takes on a generically cold format. I am good at change, I always have been. I keep busy, I procure new acquaintances, I interact at work and feel gratified, I cook dinners and feel accomplished, I listen to records, read books, take walks — and then sometimes I panic because it all seems like further accumulation of evidence, evidence building up against the past that may eventually be used as Proof of Disconnection. I love it here in Portland. But I am also becoming acutely aware of things I do not want to lose.

THE SOUND

Jon Brion - “Little Person” feat. Deanna Storey

This song is featured in the movie Synecdoche, NY, a fantastic Charlie Kaufman film starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and Netflix it ASAP, but make sure you have nothing important to do afterwards because it is highly cerebral and emotionally intense. Without giving too much away, Hoffman plays a theatrical director and playwright who is gradually losing the ability to distinguish between what is reality and what is just part of the production. His sense of self is skewed, and also therefore his memories and relationships. When I saw the scene where Deanna Storey plays a lounge entertainer performing this Jon Brion composition, I paused the movie and looked up the song immediately. In the context of the movie, I have never heard such a simple tune feel so tragic and poignant. Also, Jon Brion is a genius. I almost used something from Eternal Sunshine instead, but thought this might be a better introduction if you are unfamiliar with his outstanding soundtracking. 

THE SIP

Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey

Portland is well-known for being a microbrewing mecca, and while beer enthusiasts still run rampant, the hot-topic trend of the moment has been moving on towards artisan liquor. Several acclaimed distilleries now exist right inside the city limits, and anyone who’s anyone is also now a specialty cocktail buff. So why not hop on the train? Although I’m a big fan of a good G&T rocks in warm weather, my liquor of choice has usually been bourbon. My mother has never been a big drinker, but when out to dinner, her standard order has always been a Maker’s Mark and ginger ale, so perhaps it’s genetic. Regardless, I am embarking upon a mission to expand my expertise to include distilled beverages in my routine review cycle. 

Bulleit was a recommendation from the dude at Pearl Speciatly Goods as a good first venture away from the more common brands. This particular bourbon has a particularly high percentage of rye vs. corn or barley and therefore slightly less of the vanilla/caramel flavors of Maker’s a little more bitterness and bite. I have never been a fan of sweeter cocktails and liquors, so this is right up my alley. I am tempted to make this a go-to, but I am finding there is so much more to explore. 

 

 

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After a little time settling into my new surroundings, my enthusiasm for Portland has not waned, but I am still just beginning to pinpoint what colors its unique nature.

Of course there are many quirky characters and haunts that add to its character. There’s the guy who, casual rides his unicycle daily through the bike lanes to work downtown. There’s the guy with dreads breakdancing at the bus stop, drag queens on the hiking trails, performance artists in front of the bookstore, and I just found out that the guy at Stumptown Coffee also teaches private death metal screaming lessons on the side. Another example: in the bohemian southeast district, there is a fantastically weird coffee joint (appropriately advertised as “casually threatening”), with a classical pianist playing Ravel nonchalantly in the corner, decor resembling an early 20th century Russian parlor, and one table in a different spot every night that slowly rises during the evening so gradually that you don’t notice until all a sudden you are reaching for your tea cup at shoulder height. So awesomely bizarre. Aside from these tangible examples of its fantastic weirdness, there is also an overriding approach to recreation that is new to me. While at a hip dance club the other night watching DJs trading off spin cycles and scenesters contentedly shifting their weight to techno beats, Eddie hit the nail on the head. “People just aren’t in a rush to have fun here.” And that’s exactly what it is. This city is so chock full of starving artists and mulitple-part-time-job-ers that people aren’t living for the weekend, and the casual partying atmosphere is just a constant current of life. The only downside is there’s so much going on at once, choosing what to do when can get pretty overwhelming. Not that I’m complaining. 

THE SOUND - Yelle - “Safari Disco Club”

I discovered this Robyn-esque French pop star last year with her debut album Pop-Up, which was fun, bouncy, and sassy, but lacked the better songwriting and sophisticated production found on the follow up, Safari Disco Club. Ok, Yelle doesn’t exactly exude mind-blowing originality, but each track has just enough 80’s-inspired synth and catchy vocal lines to get her songs hopelessly embedded in my head. Also, the language barrier prevents potential disappointment in vapid lyrics. And in true Robyn fashion, there are zero downer tracks; in other words,Yelle is determined to keep the party going and I like the party she’s throwing. 

THE SIP - Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic Ale

Many of you are already familiar with Rogue brewery primarily known for its widely available Dead Guy Ale, a solid nutty Maierbock. Rogue brews a huge range of beers in every style you can imagine, but are not often known for the creativity and innovation that many other Oregon microbreweries are pioneering. However, Rogue just recently came out with a new series of beers under the name Chatoe Rogue (play on the French use of Chateau), distinct in its use of ingredients grown solely on their own hop and barley farm in Oregon. Maybe it’s my imagination, but this balanced amber ale tasted somehow more pure and pleasantly rugged than anything I’d had by them before. Can’t wait to check out some more Chatoe, including the wares of the new Chatoe Rogue Distillery

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       Needless to say, the reality of having finally arrived didn’t sink in for a while after landing in the Rose City.  And as I was began to grasp the concept that this wasn’t just a vacation, Life had already begun to barrel forward. It wasn’t until day three or four, when the shipping container was unpacked and some minimal furniture purchased from vintage shops around town that we began to recognize it as a home, and then we still had job interviews, account transfers, grocery shopping, and a mountain of laundry to think about. 
          Despite distractions, I’ve wasted no time embarking upon the quest to explore the art, culture, food, nature, and characters of this city. Although I have a couple part-time jobs getting started, it’ll be a while before I get my first paycheck, so I am currently broke, which limits the kinds of adventuring available. However, there are plenty of opportunities for fun regardless of lack of funds. The 50’s-era Laurelhurst Theatre offers second showings of great indie films that you can enjoy with a PBR and a slice of mushroom spinach pizza for about $7 total. And Saturday was Record Store Day which we managed to escape without too much damage with some strict self-restraint. Then there’s Powell’s, where I could spend endless browsing time, and which will actually GIVE me money for books I don’t want! Amazing! But then of course I just use the credit on more books. Oh, and of all the awesome divey happy hour spots, my favorite so far has got to be Slabtown, a dingy diner bar full of pinball machines whose kitchen is literally a food cart in the backyard cranking out dishes that I can only describe as “a pile of meat on top of cheese on top of french fries” for only about $4.  Awesome. 

THE SOUND

Chilly Gonzales “You Can Dance”

This was the best accidental Record Store Day discovery ever. I had never heard of this guy in my life, but something drew me to the cover of his album, Ivory Tower; and I always let myself buy one used unknown based solely on my affinity for the artwork. However, I am often disappointed in this venture, maybe misinterpreting a fuzzed out sepia photo to represent some low-fi indie rock and getting emo-screamo metal in its place. I was getting hopeful, though, when I researched Chilly Gonzales a bit online to find descriptions suggesting what I later found to be true: that he has pioneered a unique brand of funk-infused electro-pop based around his classical piano background. Have you ever heard of any genre description more precisely up my alley? With “You Can Dance” in particular, my expectations did not let me down. Yes it’s repetitive, but I just can’t get over the upbeat catchiness of the funky bass under the piano power chords and chanty choral riff. This went directly to the top of my dance jams playlist, and that’s saying something.

 THE SIP

McMenamins Working Man’s Red

I am still figuring out the system behind the McMenamins craft brewpub empire here in Portland. What I know so far is this: there are several locations throughout the city that not only serve and promote McMenamins keg-only ales (as well as a pretty decent modern gastropub meny), but many also brew the beers themselves at the inidivudal locationa, assumedly using a streamlined recipe. The McMenamins name is affiliated with some of the most popular joints in town, including the Baghdad Theatre and Crystal Ballroom, one of the best music venues. Lucky for us, one of the smaller billiard-focused McMenamin’s is just a few blocks away, allowing us ample opportunity to sample their rotating draught list. My favorite so far is this seasonal spring-brewed red ale. Light and refreshing enough do down easy after a rough day on the assembly line, but enough flavor and hop-character to betray it as a well-crafted artisan product.

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Fifth Stop: Bozeman, Montana - Day Five was the first point at which I began to feel exceedingly Far Away. The panorama as we passed from northern Wyoming into Montana became a new kind of desolate. Here, there were no farms, no kitschy rest stops, no billboards advertising “World’s Only Petrified Rock Garden - 5.3 miles from Covered Wagon Musuem.” There was nothing except the endless Montana Moors and the gray peaks of the Rockies behind them fading into a sunless sky. Most exit ramps we passed had only one sign:  “NO SERVICES” — saving us from the mistake of thinking there could possibly be any sign of civilization down those dirt roads. Gradually the clouds grew darker and we started driving into light snow showers that continued to thicken as we approached our destination. I was just beginning to question the Camry’s weather prowess when we finally hit the town of Bozeman.

     We quickly discovered it to be a fantastic little haven of active young skiers, climbers, and fishermen. The main drag is lined with gear shops and brewpubs, and beyond that, tree-lined suburbs looked quaint and sleepy under layers of snow. We were ecstatic to open the door of our host’s house to find three energetic puppies, a quilt-covered bed, and a growler of local IPA waiting for us. After a wonderful home-cooked pasta dinner and a very nice visit, we crashed early. The strangeness of feeling so far from home and yet so close to a new life was starting to get a little emotionally exhausting. Sleep never felt better, and after exploring the town a bit the next morning (I definitely want to go back for a longer stint sometime), we headed West for one last night at my cousin’s house in Washington before we reached Portland.

THE SOUND

Antje Duvekot “Long Way”

I’d been saving up this quintessential road trip song until now because, while the lyrics illustrate several different American landscapes, the verse about Montana was always my favorite and most hauntingly poignant. I have been listening to Antje Duvekot for years, but never could quite pinpoint what draws me to her specific brand of folk. To be honest, her songs aren’t mindblowingly original and her voice is less than impressive, but I have this strong gut feeling that she is a really cool, laidback, honest musician just trying to express her thoughts, have fun, and get by, and I can’t help but love her. Her recordings are raw and imperfect and her songwriting is undeniably human, a good companion to the vastness of Big Sky country. 

 THE SIP

Bozeman Brewing Co. Mystery Beer ??

At our friend’s house, they had two different selections from this local Monatana brewery, one classic American IPA and the other a specially brewed dark IPA, possibly a kegged feature at the pub. The former was decent, but a little overhopped and unbalanced. The latter, however, was absolutely delicious, with the bitter kick and thinner body of regular IPA but the smooth finish and silky caramel notes of a rich porter. This beer may not exist beyond that one growler for all I know, but it was definitely a singular pleasure.