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Hard road ahead... - July 2012 Archives

travels with ender

Two new, two old and a show... michigan, july 2012 first trip.
Posted Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 by ender

I left later than i normally would cause pike 51 didn't open till 3 and i wanted to get there right around opening, normally it's off to the races at 5 or 6 am to get up there specially being central time and losing the hour, but accounting for that, stopped at pike 51 first in hudsonville...

Hudsonville is between holland and grand rapids. Unfortunately i went on a monday. Meaning both breweries which are in 200 yards of each other weren't open (white flame had it's doors open so i went in and chatted and tried the beer anyway... but it wasn't offically open so for means of travel purposes...) try and hit this on a tue - sat kinda situation.


Now pike 51 is part of a winery... so you're not looking for pike 51, you're looking for the winery, which contains pike 51.


Hudsonville is like any town you'll find NSEW of any major metropolis in michigan... very simple and local and easy going, more stop signs than stoplights if you know what i mean.


Nice AC, nice long bar, nice chatty young waitress. Had the ipa, imperial brown, wheat and "beer city" pale. All the beers were clean sans the pale. Pale was a bit buttery... really nice character on the wheat, very highly hopped so it had a fluffy but bitter finish... very nice. Nice clean little system... chatted with the brewer a bit and went back to look over his setup... saw the plastic kegs... told him to have his staff read the keg explosion article... he looked at me funny and all i could itterate was forwarned is forarmed.

That being that...moved on to grand rapids and martha's vineyard. Now to the locals, martha's is the spensive spot in town, but it's also the place where the bottles'll last the longest. And it's got a nice deli/cheese/specialty store wrapped around it's mostly cold selection of beer with a sidecar of a bakery attached next door, so you can get a fresh loaf of bread with the cheese or meat you just bought... or like me... big ass delicious cookies. From there...

Had to meet up with oc at harmony brewing...(really crappy pic of harmony)


Wanted to chat him up with some stuff i wanted to discuss and actually catch up with the human that is mike. That being said... i played the "dealers choice" card with the bartender and got their dubbel (*which was infected) and mike got the black ipa which was thin, but tasted fine... I ordered another beercity beer as it was on and that tasted fine, but the keg kicked after we got our pints, and they put on another beer city beer which tasted like creamed corn (a pale ale isn't supposed to taste like creamed corn)... So buyer beware at harmony... get samples of all the beers you're thinking about... the glassware is soapy too so, you may hafta ask them to re-rinse their glassware. Got breadsticks with cheese on them and they garnised it with soy sauce... didn't unnerstand that. Harmony is a mixed bag... i'll revisit it after another visit or two to grand rapids... see if they've upped their game. From there, grabbed a burger and garnish for the show...

Fiona appled at the fred meijer gardens... (awesome venue, bring your own food and bottled non alcohol drinks... craft element with arcadia draft and bottles, and stone bottles) After that... pooled... then founders nightcapped with their beer city beer and a porter. Dark rich and sexy NEVER lets me down.


Got up late... fucked around a bit. Breakfasted at Marie Catrib's...

Caramelized Bananas, Cream Cheese & Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast...on raisin bread...

as sexy as it sounds. Wanted to save the Black forest ham & swiss cheese for the next time. So after that... and my back acting funny... it was either shorts and a long ride home, odd side and a less of a long ride home... or bells and a shorter ride... went with bells.

Bells had on a 15th anniversary brewers guild dryhopped pale... went with that and a porter... grabbed the horseradish cheddar and porter mustard with the pretzel sticks as something to chew on while i drank... and i forget how large the apps are there. They are 4 man for sure. Tried samples of the smoked vienna lager, bourbon barrel amber (2nd use barrels) and dagger stout (dry hopped stout, similar to nightstalker, but sharper on the hop bite) So really solid choices to have there... shoulda drank outside... but it's hard not to be in an inside mood when you're at the eccentric cafe... and for those that don't know what i mean... the walls are covered with various masks and art and stuff... and the newly rehabed cafe side and stage side and overall rehab is just awesome to take in. So i went over to the store and no bottles of interest besides the average, tho the cooler was quite sparse... not a lot of beer in there...


They did have some new glassware... gots me a new coffee mug. Couldn't pass it up.

After that it was the road home until about mile 22 to the border in indiana, when i got a text from my brother in law about some fancy new 100% brett hoo ha they had at floyds... so...

I went to three floyds. Sitting down and knowing the bartenders is awesome. So i bottled up. They have a new cash register area for swag and bottles away from the bar... it's near the left side of the bar thru a new arch way that has it's own door and stuff... you'll see it when you go there noting it's a new addon. so i bought the battle priest and a apocolypse cow for good measure and drank a few at the floyds. the bartenders wouldn't let me pay for my beer so i passed off some cans of vivant to them for good karma. (and not beer advocate karma...)

and then home and napping with muscle relaxers cause my back was funny. till the next time which is in two days with that sexy beast, thewimperpoo as we take the STL by storm.

so till the next time.



iowa, a suprisingly good 4 letter word.
Posted Friday, June 29th, 2012 by ender

So this trip was a work trip, but got a few spots in here and there. Epic fail on my part, left my camera on kitchen table.

So am wednesday... head for iowa city via i88 to 80... there's a bunch of roadside americana, my original stop was going to be a small 10 foot replica of the berlin wall, but the lack of camera hindered such things... so i went with the classic... the wall drug of iowa, the largest truck stop known as the i-80... it's the truck stop that they kept adding onto and boasts 800 parking spots for semi's... it's super cheese, but it's required.

My breakfast spot in iowa city was already known, but for those of you that haven't been to the bluebird in iowa city... she's a classy old girl with generations under her belt... tasty breakfast had and convienently right across the street from john's grocery...

John's grocery is the spot in town to get stuff... dating myself, it used to be the spot back in the 90's and 80's to get rare botted crap that you'd hafta dig for... if you've been there in the last decade, the spot where they had the beer is now wine and the beer is farther back in the store where prolly was a store room, but is now the beer spot, with a really nice walk in cooler with a good single selection. It's fallen off from my early memories of it, but it still holds it own as a good beer store, some gems found in there, but it's a freakin 100 outside so i didn't wanna travel with beer till i had to...

From there i spaced that a few other spots didn't open till later in the evening, so onto millstream in amana. Tho i saw a best buy and had the impulse to buy a camera, i didn't cause it wouldn't be charged... so salty dave in full effect.

Went over to amana, and it's very bizarre... the town itself is nothing but excess cut from the same architecture firm with a few discrepencies... wine shops, and antique shops and fudge shops and the like with the brewery at the end of the two blocks and around the corner. it's really a great looking place from the outside and the inside captures a nice german looking, tho slightly elementary school look, brewery with a 25 barrel system... what looks to be two big fermenters and a buncha brites downstairs. Another bizarre thing is they send the beer downstairs then send it back upstairs for bottling... it's just against the laws of brewing imo, but that's just me being me. They had their standards and seasonal... raspberry tripel, which is what i had... boozy and lollipop sweet. I've had millstreams other beers before, i like the john's generation white. But again for me, the contrast of the awesome exterior and the old ass interior... is balanced by the windowed brewing area and windowed cellar area. So it's not a must stop less you're in iowa city going to cedar rapids.

I really liked benz beverage depot... and not just for the ac and walk in cooler.

Wasn't expecting to see pretty things, beer valley or a small handful of others. No loons. But seeing that kind of improvement in a place people considered a beer wasteland less than 2 years ago is impressive. It also helped they had just got love child in from boulevard.

The store itself is like a mom and pop binny's with the ikea steel frame shelving for beer along the back wall. As said cooler section that seems to be half and half craft to macro. it's 25 percent beer, 25 percent spirits, and 40 percent wine with a nice specialty foods section and a small cheese counter/deli. It almost wants to have a tasting room, but iowa prolly prohibits said stuffs. All that said... it had the mom and pop feel to it... I liked it and recommend it.

After that, hotel, hooked up with the sales contacts, and rolled to parlor city.

Again, wasn't expecting a craft beer bar with 50+ taps... 5 dominated by bells, 4 by boulevard, 5 by goose, 4 by founders, three by toppling goliath.. and a handful of other small places with a few choices for a less eclectic palate. It was a good takeover by goose... bought lotsa folks beers. BCS, big johnand vanilla and coffee were in attendance, along with juliet, sofie, lolita, marisol... But what blew my mind was the beers... all the beers were available by the pint. a pint of bcs coffee... yeah... that's usually the beginning of the end for me. It was a good takeover to say the least... stayed from 4-11 or so... night ended with a guy i ran into a whiskeyfest, who started buying shots of templeton. Sipping the templeton for 3ish fingers was quite enjoyable... Sparked me to buy some templeton rye...

But sleep then pool then continental breakfast at the hampton later, I was ready to roll... hit benz for more love child and other bottles as i'd rather travel with them shortly... So off i go... and it's a 100 again so... hit the hyvee in davenport and for the reviews it gets... meh. it's got a single selection... but nothing to write home about... moved on to the davenport breweries which were homebrew plus... to be concluded.. wanna save and have people hovering.


Day 3 and trip home
Posted Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 by ender


got up late again... 9:30 or so... pooled, cause i could. and got going... i turnt off the gps on the ride home and guessed my way toward my hotel, giving me a good time to wander... i really do recommend taking a couple hours to wander whether on foot or not... passed a lot of interesting photo stuff and a large abandoned structure which i ducked into for a half hour or so and then got back on the road to beer and caves and brewery stuff.

got some hot chocolate and then got going and shot up some local graf. found my way over by the farmers market which if you're there on a saturday or sunday, is rival to the STL's farmers market or cleveland oh's market... no alligator like in the stl... but still whatcha gonna do... really roundabouting and finding stuff along the way. i ran across some more graf which led me to this house...


yeah that's a crate of animal bones... normally at this point in the story, the stupid teenagers would try to confront the houseowners or some such... i got the hell up on out of there. it had "never heard from again" written all over it.

needing some mental relief i went to electric fetus... a renowned record store from my past... first trip to minneapolis was the basement cleaning sale at the 12 year mark of this stores 25 years open. Back in the old days when life was simple and girls got past the looks when you could spin vinyl.. got some solesides best of cd's for 5.99 and new premier... with a public enemy best of cause i was in the mood to roll to pe.

From there i went to intermedia arts and the egg and i for a quick breakfast... rolling around and doing nothing is time consuming and i had an hour and change before the tour... so the egg and i worked quite well... i'll hit al's for sure next time as i need to... it's been the breakfast that's gotten away the last two trips.

now for the warning of the trip... avoid the herkimer... it's beers are infected, they are not good. They do have a nice mural on the side of the place. and it's worth looking at... instead... walk across the street to muddy waters.

muddy waters had a lot of things going on, but a decent summer taplist (very common in this town) and a comfy bar with simple to eclectic food choices made it the bar of my trip... i only had one beer but came back after the summit tour. I really like the place and will return. It's partly the neighborhood as well... the artsy neighborhood along with the thrown together trying for a white collar look with a blue collar feel makes it kinda balanced as that's kinda the way i am... except for the white collar look.

And it was one of those times where i took my time and had to race across town to summit cause i was relaxing too much in the bar. :)

Summit's tucked back in an industrial section. The property story that they tell in the beginning is interesting... Gas company owned the land... the earth had to be taken for treatment meaning burned to get all the gas out, the land was brought back and was sold to summit for a dollar... summit is privately held and 22 percent owned by employees, there's a feeling of pride.

When you work in a place like i do and then you go to a place that was built for the purpose of brewing, you always fall into a lapizdaisical funk and awe of, i wish we had, and that's so smart, and it's so great, and what the hell. One thing that caught my eye was a parts washing station that was like a dishwasher, but stainless, and could handle caustic. insta boner. A what the hell was their filtered heat exchanger... not the most efficient use of that... but drains and the like and well placed co2 and oxygen tanks and stuff... and you kinda get jealous of other things... anyway... similar to goose, yet not.

The brass they use and the yeasts they use... that's summit. it's their way.

The oldschool control off the brewhouse was strange, lots of manual knobs and switches. For a place that size... they had comp control... it was a bit odd.

The new brewers series was tasty... the dunkelweiss was good. wasn't crazy bout the saga, everyone's trying to be new zealandy lately. even goose.

It's nice to see a comparitive place to goose... small places are fun, but i do like to see that... they didn't have a wort receiver, but that's prolly not far away as they expand.

after the tour, more random, and back to muddy waters for more beers and food. I liked being there... it's a good spot.

Pints drain and wandering happens and i make my way back for the caves tour...This is the first time in a long time i haven't treated a vacation like a list to check off and just started relaxing...

The caves tour isn't what i'm expecting, it's more beer related than i knew, man made caves that got turnt into a prohibition speakeasy... murders and the like in the caves. It's pretty entertaining... i expected hokey or accidental caves, but manmade caves are pretty cool.

After that i'm meandering back... getting pallet fatigue me thinks. But i head toward stub and herbs as my last spot for the day and drink and eat during the last hour of happy hour. Beers are good and the place is nice, stub and herbs is the old man's college bar... It's got a broken in feel with that great box bar they have... Don't much care for that gameroom they have... could be much better used, but hey, different strokes.

After that i go hit the comic store and then head over to the area near the downtown with the exploded mill building and the bridge thing... there are better names for that and i could reference them, but i wanna get this down... may add the detail later.

So i shoot around there for a while and then head back toward france 44... to do my evening bottleshopping for the ride back... after bunsfest and jeff's trunk o surly, most folks were like meh on the beer and surprisingly heavy hitters matt and don had made recent trips to the area so... really... most people were good.

Got some brynhildr's gift, going to drink one this week... so if you're up for drinkin and chicago local and have some time hit me with a mail... minnesota farmhouse juniper ale... kinda looking forward. I also picked up a bottle of elder brett from epic. Looking forward to that.

So the night ended early and I pooled again, and again, cause i could... and settled in for a good sleep. crashed about 10 woke around 5 am... time to bounce.

The ride home ain't bad and i was making good time... so around 20 miles from baraboo, i was like, wonder what dr. evermore's up to... (atlas obscura is world wide and roadsideamerica is better but)

Stopped for about 2 hours and shot my camera dry...

then it was the easy ride home... with a stop in madison for lunch at the old fashioned, again cause i was on vacation.

and that's all folks... till the next trip which looks to be the stl with wingman wimperpoo.

that's going to be brewery intensive because it's a slingshot trip...leave on saturday morning, drive home sunday evening.
















Posted Thursday, June 7th, 2012 by ender

photos requested and i had a lot i liked... so... large post, day 3 coming soon and ride home , which was uneventful... dr evermore stop tho...


mn 1





Posted Thursday, June 7th, 2012 by ender

photos requested and i had a lot i liked... so... large post, day 3 coming soon and ride home , which was uneventful... dr evermore stop tho...


mn 1