Zig-zagging through streets around the university district, gaining elevation – "this should be HILLsinki, am I right?" – and we're approacing the Sori taproom, which happens to be next to the place I drank craft beer on my last visit. Groundhog++.
Thinking we're pretty incorrigible for hanging around outside a few minutes before opening, we're queue jumped at the last moment by a lady who strides up to the door and tries to open it seconds before the staff are ready. How are we not first here?
Anyway. It's the Sori taproom. Sori, not sorry. Sori seems to be the hardest word. You'll be Sori. Etc. They have a load of beers on both from their own brewery and guests from around the world plus big fridges full of bottles. We grab a table and stare at the menu and ... wait, what? This is from an Estonian brewery, not Finnish? Damn it! But hey, we're here now.
Andrei gets an IPA; I'm going for a tasting flight, and the barmaid arranges them in the order she would recommend drinking them.
There are loads of ships here. I mean holy crap, Helsinki has hundreds of the bastards and they're all huge. Our one is not yet visible to us, hidden by the terminal. After hotdogs we go in and through security, joining the queue to board as the gates are imminently about to open.
With impeccable timing, Stoy disappears from view to the loo the exact moment the doors open and the crowd rushes forwards. When he reappears he and I walk through to the ship, taking care to note the WARNING: DO NOT IMPORT WILD BOAR MEAT signs. Well, OK then.
We have a single cabin on board, essentially our own private left luggage. It's cramped with 7 people and 14+ bags so fuck it, time to go explore. At the back of the boat is a bar selling a range of craft beers so, hang on a minute, I've got an idea.
It's still way too hot outside, whereas indoors it's lovely and airconditioned. I grab a table in "Seaport Pub" and start typing.
And double obviously I had braised elk main. Some people don't actually have elk; those that do are not disappointed. I mean, I don't think anyone was disappointed with the taste of their food, because it was all bloody lovely. No-one has any space for dessert so we file out, after much faffing around with Splitwise with which we determine that Stoy should be the man to pay this bill.
That's a shop at the front, with a bar at the back through the arch, tiny and manned by a moderately surly girl who is really frustrated with the guy ahead of us who just wants "a beer" or something. She's all, like, listen if you can't even tell me what style of beer you like then I don't know how to help you. And no, trying a little taste is not possible.
She's much friendlier when I order because I know what I'm doing. I want two Kwak, a fruity local IPA – actually make it two of those – a local chocolate porter or stout and, for me, I'll have a chilli porter if you have one. She says yeah, they do have one, but being Estonian they're not very good with chillis but they try. That was short-selling it, because it tasted great. Terviseks, again!