New World Order, take 2.

It seems that people in the US continue to show more and more epic levels of stupidity. (Thanks, Jordan Keppler. Or not, it is horrifying to watch.)
Meanwhile, here in Portugal, we have just celebrated the feasts of the popular saints. St. Anthony in Lisbon and St. John here in Porto.

Lights for São João 2019. Notice the do not enter sign below the letters. The sign of things that were to come.

When we first arrived, I had heard many stories about São João and the attendant epic party that overtook the city to celebrate it.
I couldn´t wait to experience it, grilled sardines, fireworks, and just an epic good time to be had by all.
Back in 2019, we had to be in another city on that day, so we missed it.
And then the party was canceled due to the pandemic.

Enter 2022, and the party is on!
And here is where the New World Order comes in. (Besides even more stupidity in the US with rampant idiocracy). Since Covid, I don´t want anything to do with people. Much less hordes of people in a packed environment. Can you say super spreader?

Sardine salad and a Douro red wine. All you need for São João.
Meio Escudo 17º red wine from the Douro. 17º because it is 17 percent alcohol! Almost port, but drinks like an unfortified red wine. Dangerously delicious!

So, we stayed home, ate sardine salad, and had an excellent Douro wine to celebrate instead. We watched local fireworks from our balconies and saw our neighbors launch Chinese lantern balloons. It was quiet and enjoyable. And we avoided all the potential diseases we would have been exposed to due to proximity to huge numbers of people.
Sad but true, my days of attending any event with lots of people are over.

And in 2019, had we been in Porto, I would not have thought twice about joining the throngs to celebrate the day of São João.
A lot has changed since then. Sadly.
I guess I am lucky to be older because I would rather stay at home now anyway.

Because you know what? It is not worth the risk.

Festival Season.

Portugal has officially entered festival season!  P-A-R-T-Y, because we gotta!  The Porto International Craft Beer Festival kicked it off for us.  Craft beer in Portugal is just starting to take off , which is a bonus for veteran beer geeks like ourselves.  As much as wine is usually my first drink of choice, it is great to have a good beer occasionally. And when I say a good beer, I don’t mean some fruit flavored concoction the likes of which are so popular in the states.

The Porto beer fest is the biggest artisanal beer festival in Europe, with 47 breweries and 368 beers to try and, they do it right here.  It runs over four days and there are lots of food trucks to choose from for having a nosh to pair with the beers.  You pay 4 Euros for a glass and purchase tokens for beer samples.  You can come and go as you please over the four days. 

This eliminates the insanity that is seen at the GABF.  Huge mobs of drunken hooligans in Denver for three days trying to sample 3,000 beers in one day because the tickets are so expensive ($70-85) with no real food.  The Great American Beer Festival was fun 15-20 years ago before it became such a behemoth scene.  It is so American; take everything to the extreme and charge as much as possible.

We tried some excellent brews from Portugal, Spain, Estonia, and the Netherlands, to name a few.  There was even a couple from the US, Sierra Nevada, and Kona Brewing.  There was also a nice Spanish whiskey and coffee liquor to sample from Yria out of Madrid, Spain.  Their beers were great as well, and they had a delicious mead made with cherries.   

Yria Whiskey and Coffee Liquor

For food there were delicious empanadas, prosciutto-like ham and Serra de Estrela Portuguese cheese sandwiches. All were outstanding. Also, several different kinds of burger trucks, crepes, sweet and savory, and a tasty doughnut-like cake from the Algarve. They were dangerously delicious.  There were even several vegetarian offerings.  Yes, all in all, the event was a taste-treat sensation. We will certainly plan to attend the Porto beer fest again next year.