Among those of us who value the exploration of new terrains above such modern conceits as penthouse condos and SUVs, there exist two distinct types: the Adventurer and the Urban Explorer. Into the first class fall people like my dear cousin Karen, whose idea of an ideal summer vacation is to begin in a near-Arctic backwater like Churchill, Manitoba, and canoe north! In the second class may be counted travelers like myself, for whom “roughing it” means hotel rated only two stars and a local pub that’s further than a short stroll away.
With your first sip a wisp of campfire smoke wafts up your nose and quickly back down your throat. Amazed, you sip again with the same result.
As disparate as they are, however, I do believe that there are some traits these two clubs share. For instance, whether camped in a densely wooded riverside or seated at a sidewalk café, I think that Karen would agree that our goal of travel is to experience new and, to us, at least, unfamiliar places. Further, I think we would concur on a pivotal element of this experience being what you might call ‘local flavor.’
For Karen, or any Adventurer, local flavor could be anything from unusual flora and fauna to a chance encounter with indigenous wildlife, providing, of course, that said wildlife isn’t intent on making a meal of said Adventurer. For Urban Explorers like myself, it’s more likely to be a custom or cuisine that speaks quite specifically to the locale.
Or it might be a beer.
Now, before I continue, let me just state for the record that I feel privileged to live in a space and time when much of the best of the world’s food and drink is brought virtually to my door. It’s only been this way for a blip of modern history and I’m more than happy to avail myself of its attendant glories.
But still, there are some things that just aren’t the same when they’re pulled out of context. Take, for example, Spezial Rauchbier.