Monday, June 29, 2009

Andy's tales of BT II

Hi! This is Andy...aka Caddy depending on which version of trips you are reading. I would of loved to say I've been apart of this endeavour from BT I, but sadly enough I wasn't able to get the time off to go with Timmy and Dan, so i start out on BT II.

Day 1
We head out in the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle, and I have to say, I wasn't sure what was going to happen on this trip. I just knew that good beer was involved and that I wanted to be apart of it. I knew who Jerry (Cruiser) was and had talked to him before but in short micro bursts of time. I didn't know Jerry, and I have to admit wasn't sure how all this was going to pan out. I'll just say this up front. I came away from this trip much closer friends to the other 3 guys on this trip than I thought i ever would and that is very cool!We get on the highway, Jerry and I look at each other and I could tell we were thinking the same thing, "we're on Beer Trip it's time to start drinking BEER!". We cruise through the middle of Kansas and the whole time I'm thinking to myself, what the hell is Dan doing. He's got us all over the road, swerving back and forth. (later i find out that these winds were causing bigger RV's an rigs to flip over on the same stretch of I-70.) We finally get to Gella's Diner and Liquid Bread Brewing Co.. Here we are in Hays, Ks and I walk into this place and my jaw drops. This place was amazing. Killer set up. Wood and brushed aluminum decor and then the most important part the brewery. Not sure what was spent on the brewery portion of this place but I'm sure there are much bigger breweries who have to be massively jealous of this set up. Best part was that the beers didn't disappoint. We talked to the waitress told her what we were up to, that they had the distinction of being our first stop, then we told her, the all important, we're homebrewers, and asked if the brewer would happen to come out to talk to us. Once again they didn't disappoint and he shows up carrying a bucket of hops out, there is no way he knew how cool we though he was at that point in time. We finished up a wonderful lunch, fantastic sampler and headed on our journey to Denver. We go to a baseball game on all the trips that don't end in .5 and we were able to go see Dan and Timmy's team the Brewers play the Rockies at Coors field. Awesome ballpark and Coors actually put in a micro brewery in the stadium. The beers were what they were but, I'm going to tell you, they had one of the best bartenders EVER! I was stupid, bought 3 beers and my total was $18, I thought I threw out a $20 and walked away. Later, and by later I mean like during the 6th inning I realize I threw out a hundy and not a twenty. I go back fully expecting for that bartender to have taken the rest of the night off after getting a $80 tip. I see her walk around the corner and she looks at me and says "missing a few bucks?" I smile and she lifts up a glass and hands me my $82. I told her that I loved her and promptly gave her $22 and told her that if she didn't stick all of that in her pocket I'd be pissed. She refused to do that and said I wasn't the first and won't be the last. Needless to say she made my night. After the game, we walked across the street to Breckenridge Brewing and had a fun time. We again told the waitress we were on a Beer Trip and she was super cool and gave us some glasses and stickers to put on the EM-50. Most of their beers are ok except for the Vanilla Porter, good God that's a rough beer. We headed back to the LaQuinta where we saw Jerry scale down from floor two to ground level to do some swimming, even though the pool was closed. That was just a rocks star move on his part. Sorry sir the pools not if you're Jerry...that pool is always open!!! The next year I ended up staying at the same LaQuinta and made sure I pointed out to my wife and kid that is where Jerry scaled down the wall to swim. The more impressive part was the climb up now that I think about it. Jerry, that was one hell of a way to end day one!
Day 2
We woke up in good spirits and that’s easy to do when you’re on Beer Trip! I was particularly excited because I was going to see my pal Mel and we were hitting a couple breweries that made some of my favorite beer. First stop was Great Divide. Makers of Yeti, Fresh Hop, Old Ruffian, and Hercules to name my favs, so yes, I was extremely excited. We walk into what was going to be their new tap room, but when we were there it nothing but a bunch of electricians and remodelers working on an old concrete block room. There were a couple of grain sales reps who walked in before us and so the guy talking to the grain guys kind of looks at us confused as to why there are 4 dorks standing in his brewery and says in what I took as a not so pleasant way “Can I help you guys?” We tell him were here for a tour and he gets the bottling guy to show us around. When he comes out the first question he asks is “You guys want a beer?” Well DUH! It’s already 10 am and I haven’t had one yet, so hells yeah, I’m ready! He pours us what ever we asked for and they had everything on tap except the Fresh Hop I believe. It was very informal but the dude couldn’t have been more cool about all our questions and about showing us everything there was to see. We come back out to where we started and the dude who seemed put off at first asks me what going on. I proceed to tell him that we’re on Beer Trip and what it’s all about. I also work in, once again, the all important statement, we’re also home brewers. Well dudes eyes kind of light up a little bit and then he tells me he’s the brewer for Great Divide. Well then I get a little giddy because standing in front of me is a dude who makes some of my favorite brews and I’m shooting the shit with him. Well he was brewing a beer when we showed up and he takes me up to the mash tun and the kettle and lets me check out all his stuff and how it’s done. We continue to talk for a bit and suddenly he says “Hold up….I have something for your journey” I’m thinking he’s going to go grab us a bottle or two, oh no, I was way off. He comes back with a case of bombers for us. He has all our favorites too! He tells us he wishes he could join us which I thought was very cool. He wanted to be us…..that is just cool! We left there four very happy dudes, we proudly slapped a Great Divide sticker on the EM-50 and off to Wynkoop Brewing we go. We meet Dan’s friend who I’ll refer to as Buttons for lunch and more, yeah you guessed it, beer! The beers and food were decent, but the best part to me was just how much fun we all had just cutting up each other and ourselves…not sure how the button convo got started but the image of seeing 4 dudes sporting buttons while on a beer trip just makes me laugh. I’m still waiting for my button by the way!!!
We arrive at Boulder Brewing, makers of my beloved Mojo IPA. We were there a bit before the tour was to start as this was more formal than GD had been. They offer us up and beer while we wait and who are we to turn down a beer. The chic giving the tour was super cool and there were only 5 people on the tour. It was us 4 and a dude from Germany whose wife was in Boulder at a conference. So he was there to tour breweries while his wife worked, well done my man. We got a nice tour and we even got to talk to the brewer who came up with Hazed and Infused, which was really cool. Our tour ended in their tap room and since they were out of a bunch of taster glasses they decided to just start filling us ¾ pitchers of each of their beers they had on tap. We are a bit responsible on these trips and do designate a driver for each day, so Jerry was just taking baby tastes of each beer. So, four guys drinking what seemed to be endless pitchers of their beer, and quickly pushing us over the edge into beer drunk bliss. It was a nice easy going tour with lots of beer treats at the end that I’m sure the dude from Germany and us won’t soon forget! On to Pumphouse Brewing where we me up with my gal pal Mel. Nothing make a old, fat, married guy feel cooler than having a cool, good looking chic run up and give you a big ole bear hug, so for that Mel, Thanks! Well I’d love to tell you how much I loved the food and brews at Pumphouse, but I was at best foggy at this point. I didn’t dislike anything and I do remember the atmosphere being really cool since we sat outside enjoying our meals and more beers. We all climbed in to the EM-50 and headed to Left Hand Brewing. Well we get there and are greeted by a bitchy bartender. I’m not sure why she was so unhappy, because we were far from unhappy. I remember we all shared a few samplers and one of the funny parts to me was when I went up to get a pint there was this older couple sitting at the bar. They looked at me and asked “Do you like French fries?” which might have possibly been the last question I expected out of dudes mouth. I looked at him and said, “Look at my stomach, what do you think?” with the obvious answer being yes since the furthest thing away from me is skinny. This dude kept going on and on about fries and since I was feeling really good I just let him yap about it, as my passion is beer, his must be fries. We got ourselves nice a lathered up at Left Hand and our intentions were to go back to the Radisson and sleep off our 5 brewery day, but that wouldn’t be very Beer trippy of us. Luckily or unluckily depending on how sick you were the next day there was an Old Chicago in the same parking lot as us. Well we decided that we needed to grace this place with our presence. We go in and well do what we do best, order a beer. We sat at the crowded bar area and proceeded to get even more hammered at this point. There were some great pics taken during this point of the evening. Dan was probably smart and went off to bed, while the rest of us thought our intake of beer wasn’t enough, so we kept drinking. Well we finally hit our limit and somebody suggested we go swimming. Of course any idea after this much drinking sounds like the greatest idea in the history of the world. Timmy and Jerry make it to the pool and legend has it that they swam so much they felt a burning desire to go out to the EM-50 and polish off a growler. Needless to say we all felt beyond rough the next day.

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