“Does anyone want to hit up a brewery before dinner?” I asked. We’d arrived in Mechanicsburg to discuss a project with a new client. It had been a long day, and I was antsy to get out of the air travel rut. “I’d go with you,” Chris replied. “We have some things to discuss. We’ll meet up with you at dinner,” the other two said. Chris and I were running a workshop the following day. With that looming we needed something to occupy our minds and take the edge off. We headed to Mellow Mink Brewing.
“It’s in here somewhere,” I said, craning my neck around the head rest. We had pulled into a strip mall. These places are eroding around the country while others appear to thrive. I can never figure out the secret for the ones that resist becoming a ghost town of commerce. They can be cheap rent though, and if places like Mellow Mink can take advantage I say bring on strip mall breweries. “There it is,” I said while pointing across the parking lot.
The most surprising thing about a strip mall brewery is what they do with the space. Most transform it and you forget about their previous life. Mellow Mink is one such brewery. They’ve got the vibe of a private club, long leather banquettes, a large rectangular bar, bright tin ceilings, and curated decor throughout. We took a seat at the bar, golden light at our back.
We each ordered a flight. I don’t have detailed tasting notes from our visit—we were too busy talking shop and fretting about the following day. I remember that I had a mixture of sours and IPAs, I enjoyed them, and little else. My mind was a haze and my body had begun to betray me. Later that evening, I would fall ill and spend a sleepless fever filled night in my hotel room. I still don’t know what it was. Most likely it was food poisoning from the airport because the next day I was mostly better. Either way, I left Mellow Mink feeling off. I’d love to return with a clearer mind and body.