Two of my Favorite Things.

This Sunday was far more exciting than most Sundays for two reasons:

  1. Beer class
  2. My greatest travel win to date

We took the Intro to Brewing class at Northern Brewer, and it was great. (Also free.) In three hours, they demonstrate the entire beer-making process, and explain everything you need to get started.

From there, you go into the store and buy all of the things (they don’t twist your arm or anything, we were just rarin’ to go). We’d set aside a bunch of cash from our tax refund to get started brewing, and it ended up being a lot cheaper than we expected, plus you get a discount for having taken the class. We picked out a beer kit, and brewed it up last night. It only took a little over 2 hours, plus cleaning/sanitizing time.

I went downstairs to look at our new beer at least three times last night and once this morning. It’s fermenting away right now, and hopefully hasn’t exploded all over the bar. I also read the first half of How to Brew, since it came with our starter kit, and learned that while incredible attention to detail and perfection is a very good thing in homebrewing, there are a lot of varying opinions about how things should be done. I’m looking forward to knowing a lot more about it (it helps knowing a guy who runs a brewery), and I’m looking forward to having people over to try our beer.

After class, I achieved travel-booking greatness. As you know, I pride myself on being a pretty good bargain traveler, because that means you can go more often.

I’ve been waiting anxiously for the flight dates to open up for our trip to Puerto Rico in February. It includes a cruise that we’ve had booked for a while, which I recently called to rebook because they came out with a free drinks offer and we saved $350. But that’s not even my biggest win! The plan was to redeem Delta miles for one ticket and buy the other, because San Juan usually runs about $450-500 and that’s totally worth it.

When I started checking airfare the week before, though, I noticed that while tickets on American and United were in the usual price range, Delta was $850. Yes, I know that’s 330 days in advance and most likely they’ll normalize before long, but being able to book free international (yes, that’s Delta’s terminology for our 51st state) tickets at the lowest rate is a very tricky game; the first half of February is already going for 60,000 minimum. So then I had to wonder if we should book the one free ticket and risk waiting on the other – knowing that almost always ends badly – or just pay $450/ticket on another airline and save the miles?

Exploring option #2, I noticed one unique flight out of about 40 listed: $277 on United. It was so unlikely I thought I had searched incorrectly or that Kayak was lying to me. The only downside is the 6am departure, but for $277, who cares? We ended up getting two tickets for the usual price of one, and still have a couple free roundtrips on Delta to burn. WIN.

The next step is getting flights to Vieques. Here are photos of Vieques, in case you’re wondering why I want to go there (apart from the bioluminescent bay, that is). It’s the kind of place where you can rent a little cottage or apartment on the beach and have to drive a Jeep to get anywhere. I can’t wait!

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