Sunday, October 29, 2017

Them – "Here Comes the Night" (1965)

Well, here it comes
Here comes the night

I hope you’re not getting tired of 2 or 3 lines posts about biking and beer drinking yet . . . because I’ve got several more of them in the queue.

When it comes to biking and beer drinking, balance is very important.  Too much biking combined with too little beer drinking is no fun.  But too much beer drinking isn’t good either.

Crossing over Route 7 in Leesburg, VA
As I learned on a recent bike-and-beer expedition to Leesburg, Virginia – a small city west of Washington that is home to at least eight breweries.

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Most of my bike rides involve riding the same route in both directions – I start at point A, ride to point B, then ride back to point A.

When the breweries that I want to visit are scattered along my route, it’s best to get the point–A–to–point–B part of the ride out of the way first, and then break up the return trip with stops at those breweries.

But sometimes the breweries I want to visit are concentrated in one place – in this case, downtown Leesburg.  

I could have made Leesburg my point A and hit the breweries there at the very end of the ride.  Instead, I chose to make Leesburg point B (the midpoint of my ride) because that saved me about 40 minutes of driving.  

I guess you could say it turned out not to be the smartest idea that I ever had.

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Here's a photo I took during my ride from Leesburg back to my car:

Here's a photo I took a little later:

The reason those photos are so dark is because I didn’t start riding back until well after the sun went down that night.

“Why in the hell would he wait until it was pitch black outside to get on a bike and ride the ten miles back to his car?” you’re asking yourself.

Good question!

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My plan was to make two stops in Leesburg: Black Hoof Brewing and the Delirium Café.

Black Hoof, which is located at King Street in downtown Leesburg, is a brewery that specializes in German-style beers.

The Delirium Café
The Delirium Café, which is located on King Street only a block away from Black Hoof, is not a brewery – it’s a beer-focused restaurant that’s affiliated with Belgium’s Delirium Tremens brewery.  

Almost immediately after I turned off the Washington & Old Dominion rail trail on to King Street, I saw a brewery, parked my bike, and I plopped my ass at the bar, where I ordered a flight of four beers: an Irish-style red ale, a porter, a maple-flavored brown ale, and a Belgian tripel.

At Black Walnut Brewing
Eventually I figured out that I wasn’t at Black Hoof Brewing on King Street – I was at Black Walnut Brewing, also on King Street.  “No harm done,” I thought to myself as I hopped on my bike and rode two blocks north to the Black Hoof Brewery.

Where I ordered another flight of four beers: a dunkelweizen, a Helles-style lager, a rauchbier, and a Märzen.  

At Black Hoof Brewing
Stopping at two breweries when I had only planned to stop at one put me a little behind schedule.  The beer list at the Delirium Café put me a lot behind schedule.

That list featured well over a hundred Belgian beers – saisons, wits, blonde ales, red ales, Trappist ales, dubbels, tripels, quads, lambics – not to mention beers from other European countries and a number of American craft beers. 

I limited myself to small (four-ounce) pours of three strong Belgian dark ales and chatted merrily with the couple seated next to me at the bar.  (They had come to watch the Penn State football game on TV.  I knew absolutely nothing about the Penn State team, but didn’t let that stop from having a spirited conversation with the couple.)

The symbol for the Delirium line
of Belgian beers is a pink elephant 
Pretty soon it was pretty late . . . and also pretty dark.  Sunset was at 6:24 pm that night, but I didn’t leave the Delirium Café until at least an hour after that.

The first part of the ride back wasn’t too bad.  The part of the trail that went through Leesburg was reasonably well-lit.

But when I left Leesburg’s bright lights behind and hit the more rural part of the trail, I was in deep doo-doo.  The trail wasn’t close to the main roads, and there were very few homes or other buildings anywhere near the trail’s right of way.  

I rode through the pitch-black night for a mile or so, then stopped and began to walk my bike.  Even then it wasn’t easy to discern where exactly the trail was.

Walking all the way back to my car would have taken at least two hours – perhaps three.  That wasn’t happenin’.

The bar at the Delirium Café
So I got back on the bike and started to ride.  By looking down rather than ahead, I could just barely make out the trail’s painted center lines well enough to feel reasonably safe about riding.  (There were obviously no other riders still out at that time to worry about, and I was familiar enough with the very straight W&OD trail that I didn’t need to look too far ahead to keep from colliding with a tree, or riding off the trail into a creek, or otherwise getting into trouble. 

Eventually it hit me that I could use the flashlight function of my smartphone like a headlight.  The light my phone projected was pretty weak, but I could see the road with the flashlight a lot better than I could see without it.

I finally made it back to my car at about 8:30 pm.  If you live in the suburbs or the country, go outside tonight at 8:30 and take a look around.  PRETTY GOT-DAMN DARK, ISN’T IT?

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“Here Comes the Night” was the Them’s biggest-selling single.  

Bert Berns and Van Morrison
The song was written and the record produced by Bert Berns, a Brill Building songwriter who also wrote “A Little Bit of Soap,” “Twist and Shout,” “I Want Candy,” “Hang on Sloopy,” and “Piece of My Heart.”

Berns later became a successful producer and record label owner.  He died of heart failure when he was just 38 years old.

Here’s “Here Comes the Night”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon: 

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