Monday, July 13, 2009

"Bill Clinton" and Tasing

In my opinion, one of the best days of any of the Beer Trips was Day Two of Beer Trip 3.5. Day One was a good day, as Andy, Ed, Jerry, Kelly, Tim, and I went to a couple of places in Springfield, MO. We had lunch at Springfield Brewing Company, who were kind enough to let us in early and label our tab as “Drunk Early Guys” on the bill. After lunch, we headed over to the now-defunct Hickok’s Steakhouse for a sampler of their beers, which were nice enough. After that, we left Springfield and headed to Bootlegger’s in Aurora for another round of samplers. The day ended with us in Little Rock, having dinner at Bosco’s before walking over to end the night at the Flying Saucer for some quality brews.

But really, Day Two is what made the trip. We started out going over to Vino’s for some of their pizza and beers. Really, really good pizza, and even better beers. The place itself is a grungy building with the pizza joint and brewpub up front, and a rock stage in back. I keep telling my brother-in-law that his band needs to play there, because I imagine they have some pretty good crowds there. After that, I had scheduled a tour with Diamond Bear, not only for Beer Trip, but because I was writing an article and would be discussing them. Whenever I schedule private tours, I am usually a little weary about how they will turn out. I don’t know why, but I am.

Well, Diamond Bear ended up being one of my favorite brewery stops in my life. Our tour guide was Russ Melton, the president and owner of Diamond Bear. When we arrived, he gave each of us a pint glass to keep, and he filled them up with some of their tasty brews while he just chatted with us. Russ was one of the friendliest and entertaining people I have ever met. He treated us so well, and even did his Bill Clinton impression (the best I had ever heard, including Phil Hartman). He took the six of us all around the brewery, chatting away and really just acting like one of the crew. I am really glad that Ed was driving, because the beers kept coming, and I wasn’t refusing them. Eventually, we had to leave because we had another stop before heading home. I got some nice quotes for my article, but more importantly, we all got to hang out with Russ, have some awesome beers, and have a tour that we’d never forget.

Normally, the Diamond Bear tour would have been the most memorable part of a Beer Trip, yet it ended up not even being the most memorably part of the day. Our next and final stop would be in Fayetteville, where we were meeting our good pals, Brett and Hannah, at Hog Haus for dinner and beers. We got to town, and it was a Saturday with a home University of Arkansas basketball game, so the town seemed to be jumping a little. We had to park in a lot pretty far away, and then we made the way towards the brewpub. Tim and I both have small bladders (although mine not as bad as his), so we were leading the pack. The other four were all behind us. As we walked around a building, some dude (known here on out as “Dude”) ran past us like he was being chased. Sure enough, he was, as two cops were running after him. We turned and laughed, and I jokingly said to Tim, “Don’t tase me bro!” Within two seconds, dude had two red dots on his back as one of the cops yells, “Freeze!” like in a 1970s cop show. Dude should have stopped. POW! He got tased, and dropped like a rock. Fittingly, he fell face first into a rock and was out cold. The ambulance came to take him away, but Jerry made sure to go around the area and take some good pics.

After that, we met Brett and Hannah, and I remember having a good time and some tasty beers with them. I love Brett and Hannah, two of the best people I’ve met. I only wish I would have remembered more, but the combination of Vino’s and Diamond Bear before we met them made the rest of the night a little foggy. But I’m sure it was fun for all. We left Fayetteville, and I promptly fell asleep in the back of Ed’s van while Ed drove. That pretty much sums up why Ed is the most popular guy among the Beer Trip crew.

Your pal,

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