ON & OFF THE BEATEN PATH :: Special Edition The Road to Orlando Pt 1

by David Daugherty on March 21, 2011

3/14/11
Daytona Beach, FL.

Leaving cold, rainy, snowy Ohio last week was something I had been looking forward to. I had been planning this for some time now considering this was not, by any means, solely a YourBeerNetwork trip, but also the 25th anniversary of my wedding to Judy, the best girl I could have ever hoped to spend the rest of my life with. We loaded up the Silverado and began that thousand mile drive to Florida! We couldn’t wait to get moving as it had been a long while since we last felt consistent warmth and sunshine. As we crossed into North Carolina, we began to feel the cold disappear.

For this trip, there were a few YBN related things I wanted to accomplish. One was to have a beer and a cigar on the beach, another to meet up with friend Pam, who promised to take me to one of her favorite places in Orlando.

For the first goal, I needed cigars, but as opposed to picking some up in Ohio beforehand, I wanted to take the chance that JR Cigars in North Carolina would be open on my drive down. I have driven past it on the way to Myrtle Beach on a few occasions but never stopped in.

Thirty miles or so before getting to cigar nirvana, the billboards for JR started popping up, advising of the closing distance between us and the “World’s Largest Cigar Store.”

I was like a kid at Christmas, and as we got closer I could barely contain myself.  Judy was playfully making fun of me as I pulled into the parking lot. She said, “Well, go ahead. I’ll find you.” Like that little kid, I literally jumped from the car and headed to the door knowing that the decisions would be endless and I would want to buy everything…and I was right. It felt like–with the sad exception of Cubans–JR carried just about every cigar from every country in the world. Nirvana!!! I gathered myself, focused as best as I could manage, purchased the smokes I wanted, and got back on the road.

Following a short rest in S. Carolina, we arrived in Daytona Beach Sunday March 13 only to find that not only were the hotels desolate but the main drag, Atlantic Ave., as well.  This was the last day for Bike Week in Daytona and the weary store owners along the street explained that not only had it been the expected hectic week with all of the bikers but that this was just “the calm before the storm.” Spring Break starts tomorrow! Yay! Things should get really interesting then.

After walking the drag a bit, we found ourselves still a little tired, so we decided to stop in at Bruno’s Pizzeria, 3218 S. Atlantic Ave., and bring food back to the room.  On the way back, I picked up a Magic Hat Spring Fever Mix, a new variety 12-pack. I dug into my sausage calzone made with a very light dough, popping a Magic Hat Demo IPA. The Spring Fever Mix is part of Magic Hat’s IPAs On Tour campaign and this Demo was delicious. With roasted malts including Chocolate, CaraVienna, Pale and Carafa (Type 2) and Columbus and Goldings hops, this Black IPA did the job. Light in alcohol at 6.0%  ABV, this is a nice addition to Magic Hat’s seasonal line. For those who want to keep track of the “tour,” Blind Faith releases this summer, HI.P.A. in the Fall, Encore following this winter.

The calzone was amazing, filled with ricotta cheese, garlic butter (which just oozed out after the first bite), minimal sauce and tasty herbs. Sorry, I didn’t get a photo because the presentation just didn’t do the calzone justice. I mean, I just ate it right out of the small pizza box. Regardless, the Demo IPA was just fine with it after a long journey.

 

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