Dark beer, a bull and Britney

Admit it. This bottle of beer is very cute. It's from Pretty Things, a gypsy brewery in Massachusetts that I heard about through Nunu Chocolates, but once I saw a bottle up close, I had to buy some. The pretty picture influenced me a little. OK, a lot. What can I say? I'm drawn to beer companies that brew small batches and slap on sweet labels.

A strong 9% beer, Baby Tree is brewed with dried California plums and has a delicious dark-fruit flavor. I brought some to my friend Ali's bachelorette on Friday night, knowing she would appreciate it since she and her husband-to-be love beer and recently started brewing their own. It paired perfectly with a plate of ribs and beans from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and was just the thing to kick off a fun night with friends I've known for over 20 years. With Ali's three sisters leading the way, we bar hopped from the Upper East Side to the East Village, made Ali ride a mechanical bull, had an impromptu dance session to Britney Spears that involved both the running man and the Roger rabbit, and I laughed so hard I cried. I love when that happens. It's funny how nights like these, which once seemed so normal, almost routine, are now only justifiable for very special occasions.

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