Monday, September 29, 2008

Beer Trippin; Urbana to Milwaukee and Back

Thursday evening Frank showed up. When I got out to Kriddy's he was already having a beer, so I had one as well. My choice was Mendocino Oktoberfest. We then headed out to downtown Champaign for dinner and some beer.

We ate at Guidos, I had the prime rib sammich, kriddy had the grilled cheese, I'm not sure what Frank had. I'm a HUGE fan of their prime rib sammich, dunno if I've mentioned it before; but when our pool team was at Guidos, it was there solely because of the prime rib sammich. Kriddy thinks it's one of the best grilled cheese sammiches in town too.

After eating, we headed around the corner to Radio Maria for a beer or two.

There, we tried the Eugene City 200m ale, which was ok. We then headed across the street to Blind Pig, and I had the Coney Island Freaktoberfest (top picture). It was good, not quite as malty sweet at the Mendocino Octoberfest, but still really good.

We then headed back to Kriddy's for the night. Frank had brought with him a bottle of Olde Hickory Bardstown Brand Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels. This was a pretty good brew as well. It's a Barleywine style. (Review to follow; second picture)

Went to bed, woke up and we headed to Milwaukee. Stopped at the hotel then headed out to grab some food and hit some breweries. Had hoped to get to 3, but only had time for 2. First brewery (and lunch) was Water Street Brewery. This place was a brewerania collectors wet dream, except that it's someone elses collection. There were walls covered in cans, bottles, shirts... if it had to do with beer, or had a label from a brewery/bar, they might have had it.

They had 10 house beers on tap. All were pretty good, none were mouth cringinly bad. (third picture). For lunch, I had the Pollack which was awesome, Frank had the perch, Kriddy had ... um... what did she have? It came with some really good vegetables. Oh yeah, it was some parmesean chicken strips, I think. It also came with some stuffed potatoes that were really good.

Next stop was Lakefront Brewery.

Lakefront is not on the lake. It's on a river. It's in a massive Cream City Brick building. We showed up around 2:30, and the guy behind the bar asked if we were there for the tour, and we were like "sure" so he sent us out back. We waited there for a while, then went inside. Saw there was a line forming at the gift shop so we asked/listend to what was going on.

Lakefront's tour is worth the trip. Although we didn't take the tour itself (we've been to breweries before), we did pay the $6. For $6, you get a plastic cup, four wooden nickels, and a coupon. The wooden nickels are good for a cup of the beer, or for 2 you can get a bottle. With the coupon, you can go to any number of other bars in town and have a full pint, on the brewery (before 6 p.m.). At the end of the tour, you can trade in the plastic cup, for a glass pint glass. For $6 you get 4 samples of beer, a pint glass and a beer at another bar.

We left there, headed back to the hotel, and got ready for the game. We were meeting some friends for tailgating. So we pulled out the GPS and looked for a liquor store so we could get some beer. The closest one on the route only had 2 good beers available, so we got a six pack of New Glarus Fat Squirrel, and a sixer of New Glarus Spotted Cow. Drank the beer, ate a burger, a guy at a nearby car was drinking Michelob Dunkel Weisse and he gave us 2 bottles, so that was nice. Then went in and watch the Cubs lose :( Worse still there was a fight behind us, and I got splashed with beer. I said to the people around me "great, now i smell like shitty beer".

As I looked around the beautiful stadium, (Miller Park is really nice). I noticed some luxury boxes. This really pissed me off. That MILLER park, (Miller, of the commercials where the delivery guy is pissed off about the luxury boxes) would have luxury boxes. Hypocrasy from macrobrewers? I find that hard to believe... Oh wait. nevermind.

Kriddy and I were tired, so we went back to the hotel after the game (about 1030) around 130 or so, Frank showed up and scared the bejesus outta me. I let him in, went back to sleep, and woke up and prepped for Saturday.

First stop on the drive back, West Lakeview Liquors. I picked up a case of Founders Breakfast Stout; and a couple bottles of stuff from 3 Floyds, most of those will be heading to California. While at the store, they mentioned that Mikel will be there and they will be having a big party on October 11. (If you've followed my links to West Lakeview before, you'll notice they changed their website. Also, they are preparing to start shipping, so that's another one that you can order from)

It was about 1215 as we were leaving WLV, so we had to skip going to Archer Liquors, we headed straight to Flossmoor for the Collaborative Evil release. We got there just in time (should probably join the mug club there). We bought a case of beer, 10 bottles of Collaborative Evil and a couple of bottles of something else that they were selling, but I didn't get the name. A bottle will be heading to California; one will be going to Andy at 7S; one will be going to the next CU Beer club; skot wanted one; I'll probably be giving one to the bartenders at CA as well. A 10 pack of beer goes pretty quick. After buying the beer, went inside and ate. I had the "burrito that ate flossmoor"; Kriddy had the fish and chips. While there, they had Collaborative Evil on tap (review to follow) (fifth picture) and it was good.

After that we headed back to Urbana for the Urbana Beer and Chili Cookoff. It was pretty good, lots of good beers there, highlighted by the Dogfish Head booth. I had 12 samples, I'm not sure what all Kriddy tried. Big Brad got drunk. We met Josh, Audra, Dirty Steve and Ann there. I felt kind of like I was Emily at the Great Taste of the Midwest. We had a good time, then headed over to CA to eat. At CA, we all shared a bottle of Nørrebro Bryghus Old Odense, which was a slightly tart beer. I had the calamari to eat and it went pretty good with that.

We finished up, I headed home to pack up some beers, then headed out to Kriddys, where the Gilmore's, Eck's and hippy +1 showed up.

We had 8 more beers there. The highlight was definitely Baladin Xyauyù. This one was almost like Avery the Beast Grand Cru. It also reminded me of a slightly weaker version of Sam Adams Utopias.

I tried to finish off some bottles after everyone left and Kriddy went to bed, but I wound up sleeping on the couch for an hour and a full still glass. Woke up Sunday, and cleaned up a little then we went to Hoots.

That's about it. The highlight beer was definitely Baladin Xyauyù, followed closely by Collaborative Evil.

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